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For Wall Street, Fed Chair Yellen in the driver seat

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were searching for direction, ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's 10 a.m. ET speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were all lower Thursday in thin trading. (CNBC)

Based on action in futures markets, traders put the odds at just above 50/50 for a December interest rate increase by the Fed, with the odds of a September hike rising to about 30 percent from around 20 percent last week. (CNBC)

Ahead of Yellen, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard appears on CNBC's "Squawk Box" at 7:30 a.m. ET and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester appears at 8:30 a.m. ET.


Apple (AAPL) issued a security update to prevent attacks by rare, highly expensive spyware that exploits flaws in the mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads. Security researchers said it was used to target a Middle Eastern dissident's phone. (USA Today)

In a shift, WhatsApp said it would share its huge database of user mobile numbers with Facebook (FB). The social giant said it would buy the messaging service in 2014 for $19 billion, a deal that later grew to $22 billion as Facebook stock rose. (CNBC)

Volkswagen agrees to pay U.S. dealerships $1.2 billion over the next 18 months to cover the losses dealers claimed as a result of the emission scandal. Two months ago, VW agreed to $14.7 billion deal with federal regulators. (NBC News)

In a closely watched case with others set to come to trial, a Texas jury, agreeing with General Motors (GM), has found an ignition switch in a 2007 Saturn Sky did not cause a 2011 crash that killed one person and injured another. (Detroit Free Press)

Carl Icahn has recently discussed selling his stake in Herbalife (HFL), worth about $1 billion, to a group including the nutritional supplement firm's arch-nemesis Bill Ackman. (MarketWatch)

There needs to be more transparency in drug pricing, but when it comes to the controversy about Mylan's (MYL) pricing hikes of its EpiPen, the company still has a lot of questions to answer, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told CNBC.

In the first reported death in Japan linked to the Pokemon Go craze, a man who was playing the popular smartphone game while driving struck two pedestrians, killing one. (NY Times)

Days after losing all his major sponsors, American swimmer Ryan Lochte has landed a new endorsement deal, even as the fallout from the Rio Olympics continued. Brazilian police recommended charges against the Olympian for falsely reporting a crime. (Reuters)

A federal judgehas ordered the State Department to release by Sept. 13 any emails between Hillary Clinton and the White House from the week of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. The additional emails were among thousands uncovered by federal investigators. (Reuters)

Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of making "one of the most brazen attempt at distraction in the history of politics," and attempting to "intimidate" and "bully" voters with her charges that he's fomenting racism with his campaign. (NBC News)

BY THE NUMBERS

Crude prices were under pressure, despite Iran saying it's ready to cooperate with OPEC to stabilize the oil market. On the supply side, the Baker Hughes North American rig count is out at 1 p.m. ET.

Besides the Yellen address, the government gives more clues on the economy, with its second revision to second-quarter GDP. At 10 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan issues its final consumer sentiment index for August.

The world's largest pension fund, Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund, has blamed a $52 billion quarterly investment loss on the surprise Brexit vote, according to the Financial Times.


STOCKS TO WATCH

GameStop's (GME) second-quarter revenue missed forecasts. The video game retailer cited a lack of new titles and the push by game makers to get consumers to buy directly on their consoles instead of stores.

Ulta Salon (ULTA) reported its seventh straight quarter of double-digit sales growth. The beauty product retailer is also raising its full-year outlook, but those projections are just slightly short of expectations.

Autodesk (ADSK) is raising its full-year guidance, following better-than-expected second-quarter results. The maker of design, engineering, and entertainment software saw a surge in subscriptions.

Pure Storage issued a narrower-than-expected adjusted loss, with revenue topping forecasts. The flash storage firm said says the quarter was driven by healthy demand from cloud customers.

Shares of Splunk (SPLK) were slumping in premarket trading, despite reporting strong revenue and customer growth in the second quarter. The data analytics firm is again raising revenue guidance.

Brocade's (BRCD) third-quarter profit fell 21 percent, due to costs related to its acquisition of ruckus wireless. But adjusted results beat forecasts on a boost in sales of internet protocol networking technology.

WATERCOOLER

Amazon (AMZN) is planning a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Chicago next year. The e-commerce giant opened its first physical store in its hometown of Seattle last year. (Chicago Tribune)

It's National Dog Day. The holiday celebrates all dog breeds, while encouraging awareness that many dogs need to be rescued each year. National Dog Day was started in 2004. (National Dog Day)