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Jobs report holds key to whether Wall Street wins this week

MARKET & ECONOMY

U.S. stock futures were higher, ahead of this morning's 8:30 a.m. ET of the government's July employment report. As of Thursday's close, the Dow and S&P 500 were modestly lower for the week, while the Nasdaq was slightly higher. (CNBC)

Economists expect 180,000 jobs were created last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.8 percent from 4.9 percent, according to Reuters. Average hourly wages are seen rising by 0.2 percent at an annual pace of 2.5 percent. (CNBC)

Oil was lower this morning, after Thursday's nearly 2.7 percent gain, its second straight positive session. For the week, U.S. crude was on track for a narrow advance. This afternoon, Baker Hughes releases its weekly oil rig count at 1 p.m. ET. (Reuters)

DECISION 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has emerged with a wide 9 percentage point post-conventions lead over Republican Donald Trump, according to the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. Clinton keeps the same lead in a four-way race with third-party candidates.

President Barack Obama, speaking after a national security meeting, was incredulous at Trump's accusation of a "rigged" general election. "Of course the elections will not be rigged," Obama said. "What does that mean?" (AP)


IN THE NEWS TODAY

Apple (AAPL) unveiled its first-ever bug bounty program, offering computer security researchers up to $200,000 for each software glitch they find that makes Apple products less secure. (USA Today)

Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones. (Re/code)

Facebook (FB) is changing its algorithm to avoid "clickbait." The tweak is meant to identify misleading headlines on news stories and rank them lower, to keep users coming back. (NY Times)

Yahoo's messenger software service will shut down today, a development with some significance in the financial world since the standalone software been a primary tool of communication among oil traders for years. (Reuters)

Amazon (AMZN) unveiled today its first branded cargo plane, as the e-commerce giant looks to speed up and take more control of its delivery process. The Amazon One is a Boeing 767-300, operated by Amazon's air cargo provider Atlas Air. (CNBC)

Wal-Mart (WMT) has implemented a new system for scheduling workers at 650 U.S. stores, aiming to improve staffing levels during peak shopping times and offering more certainty over hours for employees. (Reuters)

Wendy's (WEN) plans to stop using chickens that were raised with human antibiotics by 2017. The fast food giant said it's currently halfway there. McDonald's (MCD) on Monday said it completed a shift to antibiotic-free chickens. (Reuters)

Aerial spraying of insecticide is underway in the one-mile-square area of Miami where mosquitoes have infected people with Zika, and officials reported some glimmers of progress in battling the virus. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

In addition to the Labor Department's July jobs report, the Commerce Department issues the July trade deficit, which is seen coming in at $43.2 billion after a June shortfall of $41.1 billion.

Among the companies out with earnings this morning are Cognizant (CTSH), EW Scripps (SSP), Liberty Media (LMCA), Virgin America (VA), and Willis Towers Watson (WLTW). There are no reports scheduled for release after the closing bell.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.a) posted a $2.7 billion net loss for the first six months of 2016.. The U.K. government remains the majority shareholder, after the Edinburgh-based bank was part-nationalized in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Cloud services firm Rackspace (RAX) shares were surging about 20 percent in premarket trading, on a Dow Jones report that it's in advanced talks to be sold to a private equity firm.

FireEye (FEYE) shares were tanking more than 15 percent in the premarket, after missing on revenue and forward guidance. The cyber security firm also plans lay off up to 400 people, or nearly 12 percent, of its workforce.

Priceline Group (PCLN) beat estimates on earnings, with revenue essentially in line. The key gross travel bookings metric was above forecasts. The stock was up about 5 percent in the premarket.

LinkedIn (LNKD) beat estimates on earnings and record revenue. This will be one of the last reports for the business social network as a public company following its agreement to be bought by Microsoft (MSFT).

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) reported earnings and revenue that beat forecasts. The video game giant increased its full-year outlook, boosted by new games and its acquisition of Candy Crush maker King Digital.

Zynga (ZNGA) matched estimates with a breakeven quarter. Revenue beat. But the Farmville creator said current quarter bookings that were short. The company plans to launch 10 new games this year.

Lions Gate (LGF) reported a surprise profit, compared to analyst forecasts for a loss. The studio's revenue also beat estimates. Lions Gate was helped by upbeat TV results and the movie "Now You See Me 2."

WATERCOOLER

U.S. intelligence has assigned more than 1,000 spies to Olympic security as part of a highly classified effort to protect the Rio 2016 Summer Games and American athletes and staff, NBC News has learned.

With the opening ceremony tonight, thousands from around the world are flocking to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 summer Olympics. But the Brazil's political and economic state of affairs is anything but festive. (CNBC)

The IOC approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes for the Rio games, meaning 70 percent of that country's original team will compete after the scandal over state-sponsored doping. (AP)