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US futures drifting ahead of ECB; Dow goes for another record

MARKETS & EARNINGS

U.S. stock futures were searching for direction, ahead of this morning's European Central Bank interest rate decision followed by a news conference with ECB President Mario Draghi. Meanwhile, the Dow is coming off its ninth straight gain and its seventh consecutive record close. (CNBC)

The busy morning of corporate earnings includes the latest numbers from Dow stock Travelers (TRV) as well as General Motors (GM), Southwest Airlines (LUV), and Union Pacific (UNP). This afternoon, it's Dow stock Visa (VA) as well as AT&T (T) and Starbucks (SBUX). (CNBC)

Dow stock Intel (INTC) beat estimates by 6 cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 59 cents per share, with revenue essentially in line. The stock was under pressure in the premarket on a drop in the chipmaker's highly profitable data center business. (CNBC)

American Express (AXP), also a Dow stock, reported quarterly profit of $2.10 per share, 15 cents above estimates, although revenue was below forecast. The financial services giant noted strength in its international business, and reaffirmed its prior 2016 and 2017 earnings outlook. (CNBC)


GOP CONVENTION

Donald Trump accepts the Republican presidential nomination tonight, closing this week's rocky convention which saw Texas Sen. Ted Cruz booed off the stage last night. It's Ivanka Trump's turn at the podium tonight. Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel also speaks. (USA Today)

The Cruz speech emerged as the talking point from Day 3. The GOP presidential runner-up congratulated Trump on winning. But the chaos broke out after Cruz told Republicans to "vote your conscience" and it became clear he was not going to actually endorse Trump. (CNBC)

The night wrapped up with Trump running-mate Mike Pence introducing himself to the broader American electorate. The Indiana governor, accepting the GOP vice presidential nomination, made the case for Trump, called for party unity, and railed against Democrat Hillary Clinton. (CNBC)

In the money race, Trump got a big fundraising boost in June. But his campaign's more than $20 million on hand was less than half Clinton's $44.4 million. Meanwhile, Trump followed through and forgave about $47.5 million in personal loans to his campaign. (CNBC)

Trump said, if elected, he would not automatically come to the aid of Baltic states if they came under Russian attack or pressure Turkey about purges or crackdowns on civil liberties, in a wide-ranging interview in the New York Times.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Expanding his vision for Tesla (TSLA) in his second "Master Plan" installment, founder and CEO Elon Musk painted a picture of a renewable energy enterprise, aided by the acquisition of SolarCity (SCTY). Musk also unveiled plans for new Tesla vehicles. (CNBC)

A powerful coalition of business and investment leaders is backing a set of corporate governance principles. Warren Buffett is among them and joins CNBC's "Squawk Box" at 8 a.m. ET. The group releases the culmination of its work in an open letter today. (NY Times)

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and SABMiller won conditional approval from U.S. regulators for their $107 billion merger, leaving China as the only country that still needs to give its approval. AB InBev said it continues to expect the deal to close before the end of the year. (NY Times)

Looking to boost revenue with Apple Music bearing down, Spotify is launching programmatic ad buying in all its markets, allowing advertisers to target the streaming music company's 70 million nonpaying users by age, gender, genres, and playlists in real time. (WSJ)

A Russian appeal against the country's ban from Olympic track and field athletic events for widespread doping has been rejected. Olympic officials are still deciding on whether there should be a ban on the entire Russian team at this summer's Rio games. (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

Besides earnings, it's a jampacked day on the economic data front, with weekly jobless claims out at 8:30 a.m. ET; existing home sales for June issued at 10 a.m. ET; and the June index of leading economic indicators also released at 10 a.m. ET.

In deal news: Joy Global (JOY) will be bought by Japan's Komatsu for $2.9 billion, a more than 20 percent premium. Separately, InterOil Corporation (IOC) will be bought by Exxon Mobil (XOM) for $2.2 billion, after Australia's Oil Search dropped out of the bidding.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Qualcomm (QCOM) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.16 per share, well above estimates. Revenue also easily beat forecasts. The chipmaker saw increased demand for its mobile semiconductors and also sold more licenses in China.

EBay (EBAY) came in a penny above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 43 cents per share. Revenue was slightly above forecasts. The online retailer also raised its full-year sales forecast, and authorized an additional $2.5 billion stock repurchase program.

Mattel (MAT) lost 2 cents per share for its latest quarter, but that loss was 3 cents smaller than analysts had anticipated. The toy maker's revenue was above estimates, thanks to improved sales in its Barbie line after a revamp of that product line.

WATERCOOLER

Pop-culture enthusiasts from around the world are flocking to the San Diego Convention Center today, as the curtain officially rises on Comic-Con International. "Star Trek Beyond" premiered Wednesday at the convention's preview night. (USA Today)