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The Power Brief

H&R Block Mortgage sign
Jb Reed | Bloomberg | Getty Images
H&R Block Mortgage sign

A daily morning look at the financial stories you need to know to start the day

STOCKS/ECONOMY

-Stock futures are just barely higher after two straight days of record closes. The Fed's Beige Book will be released today.

-Mortgage refinances surged 11% last week as rates dropped to a three-year low.

-A new study shows that 2/3 of Americans are financially illiterate.

OIL/ENERGY

-Crude prices are down 1% but holding most of the big gains from yesterday at the $46/barrel level.

-Gasoline prices fell another penny overnight to $2.21/gallon, national average. That's 16 cents/gallon lower than a month ago today.

ELECTION

-Donald Trump is expected to unveil his VP pick on Friday.

-A series of new Quinnipiac polls shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. His leads increase when third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are thrown in.

-Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been invited to speak on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. It's not clear what that means for her chances to get the VP nod.

-Protesters, including the New Black Panther Party, say they plan on bringing guns to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland because of Ohio's open carry laws.

BREXIT

-Theresa May will take over as Prime Minister of Great Britain today.

WAR ON COPS

-Three people have been arrested in an alleged plot to steal guns to kill police.

CHINA DISPUTE

-China is predictably blaming the US for the World Court's decision negating its claims on parts of the South China Sea.

MOVING AMERICA

-Tesla says it has no plans to remove the autopilot feature in its cars.

DEFENSE

-Senate Democrats are blocking the Defense spending bill.

-The US is sending troops to protect the American embassy in South Sudan.