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Morning Brief

US markets continue to drift

Key Points


The summer doldrums are in evidence on Wall Street, with a lack of informational input continuing to show itself in very small moves for the major U.S. averages. U.S. stock futures are moving modestly higher with only a handful of economic numbers and earnings due today.

Oil prices are roughly flat after sinking 2.5 percent on Tuesday following an OPEC report that showed Saudi output hit a record high and a surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles offset the second biggest gasoline stock draw this summer. (Reuters)

The Paris-based International Energy Agency added to the bearish sentiment by cutting its outlook for 2017 crude oil demand in its monthly report. (CNBC)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will appear on CNBC's "Squawk Box" at 7 a.m. ET. The Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, joins "Squawk Box" at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Trump kept up the heated rhetoric on Wednesday, saying "ISIS is honoring President Obama" and calling the president "the founder of ISIS" and Hillary Clinton the militant group's "co-founder." (Politico)

A federal official on Wednesday denied a report the Secret Service had spoken formally with Trump about an offhand comment he made at a rally this week, which drew accusations he was suggesting gun activists could take up arms against Clinton. (Reuters)

Clinton on Wednesday said Trump's comment that "Second Amendment people" could perhaps do something to prevent her from nominating Supreme Court judges amounted to "casual inciting of violence" and shows he is unfit to be president. (CNBC)

Clinton is scheduled to deliver a speech at 1:15 p.m. ET in which she will respond to Trump's address on the economy he delivered on Monday.

The country's attention briefly turned from the campaign trail to Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday as a man equipped with suction cups managed to climb to the 21st story of the glass-covered building before being apprehended by police. (Reuters)

Court documents show a former aide to Chris Christie said the New Jersey governor "flat out lied" when he asserted his senior staff members were not involved in a plot to close lanes and snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge to punish a Democrat who refused to endorse him. (Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of plotting terror attacks on the Crimea peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014. He said two Russian servicemen were killed in clashes this week. Ukraine denied the allegations and accused Putin of provocation. (Guardian)

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) is the subject of a criminal probe, according to the Wall Street Journal. The drug maker is being investigated by federal prosecutors over whether it defrauded investors by masking its affiliation with mail-order pharmacy Philidor, according to the paper. (CNBC)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Ventures unit saw Chief Executive Officer Bill Maris resign, to be replaced by managing partner David Krane. Maris was the founder of the unit, which is the company's venture capital arm. (Recode)

Facebook (FB) is running into resistance from TV content owners like Walt Disney (DIS) and NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMSA) on deals involving Facebook's video features, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said the companies are reluctant to turn control over content to Facebook. (WSJ)

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) is selling its Barnett shale property in Texas to private equity firm Saddle Barnett Resources, and has also renegotiated a pipeline contract with Williams Partners. The two moves are estimated to save Chesapeake more than $1.9 billion in future costs. (Reuters)


Weekly initial jobless claims and July import and export prices are due at 8:30 a.m. ET and bring the only government reports of the day. Economists think jobless claims will fall to 265,000 for the week ending August 6, down from 269,000 the prior week.

The Energy Department will release its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Retailers Macy's (M) and Kohl's (KSS) highlight this morning's corporate earnings reports in an otherwise thin morning for quarterly reports, with retail rivals Nordstrom (JWN) and Dillard's (DDS) reporting after today's closing bell. Nvidia (NVDA), Planet Fitness (PLNT), and restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday (RT) will also report this afternoon.


Shake Shack (SHAK) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 14 cents per share, beating estimates by 1 cent. Revenue also beat forecasts, but same-store sales rose just 4.5 percent compared to analyst forecasts for a 5.4 percent gain. During the prior quarter, same-restaurant sales had jumped nearly 10 percent.

Boeing (BA) does not plan to increase production of its 787 Dreamliner and is also holding out the possibility of cutting 777 jet production. Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told reporters that the jet maker will respond as market demand indicates.

Newmont Mining (NEM) Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg told Reuters the gold producer will likely review its dividend policy at the end of the year. Gold producers had cut dividends as gold prices tumbled. (AMZN) is not trying to replace third party shippers like FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) in the near term with its own delivery operation, according to The New York Times. The paper said Amazon is seeking to build up its own shipping capabilities without dropping those partners.

Wal-Mart's (WMT) Mexico unit is selling its Suburbia clothing chain to Puerto De Liverpool for about $852 million.


U.S. swimmers kept their Olympics hot streak alive, bringing home yet another gold as rising star Kate Ledecky anchored the women's 4x200m freestyle team in their first place finish on Wednesday. (NBC News)

U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong made history on the eve of her 43rd birthday by winning an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the time trials on Wednesday. (NBC News)

Thursday's Olympics highlights include the women's all-around gymnastics competition, the rugby sevens semifinal, and a match-up between U.S. swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the men's 200m individual medley.