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The financial world watches 'Super Mario' Draghi

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher, ahead of the European Central Bank's post-meeting policy statement and Mario Draghi news conference this morning. The Nasdaq was coming off another record, while the Dow and S&P 500 were slightly lower Wednesday. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were sharply higher this morning, after the American Petroleum Institute reported late Wednesday an unexpected plunge in crude inventories. The government issues its holiday-delayed oil stockpile data at 11 a.m. ET. (Reuters)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) plans to spin off its non-core software assets and merge them with Britain's Micro Focus International in an $8.8 billion transaction. Separately, HPE missed on revenue, but beat on earnings and issued upbeat forward guidance. (CNBC)

Intel (INTC) plans to spin off its cybersecurity unit, formerly known as McAfee, and sell a majority stake to private equity firm TPG for $3.1 billion in cash. Intel had bought McAfee in 2011 for $7.7 billion. (Reuters)

Following reports of talks this week, Liberty Media (LMCA) has agreed to buy Formula One Racing for $4.4 billion from private equity firm CVC Capital and its consortium partners. (CNBC)

Nintendo surged in Japan overnight, though gaining about half the 28 percent its U.S.-traded shares advanced Wednesday, following news that Apple (AAPL) plans to debut an iPhone version of Nintendo's Super Mario. (CNBC)

After previews largely panned Apple's new lineup, industry watchers seemed slightly relieved when the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 were revealed. Apple shares were slightly lower in premarket trading, after a modest advance on Wednesday. (CNBC)

Now that it's pronounced the end of the headphone jack, Apple is aiming to prove it can do better than the existing wireless options, unveiling $159 AirPods with their own communications chip. (CNBC)

President Barack Obama reaffirmed his view that Donald Trump would be unsuitable for the White House. At the conclusion of the Asian Summit in Laos this morning, Obama said voters should question his "contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas." (CNBC)

Trump heaped more praise to Russian President Vladimir Putin, during last night's commander-in-chief forum on NBC. The GOP presidential also said his plan to defeat ISIS is intentionally vague as not to tip of the enemy.

Preceding Trump on stage, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton found herself on the defense from the outset over her handling of classified information and the military intervention in Libya that she supported in the Obama administration. (NBC News)

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, advised his successor, Hillary Clinton, on how to circumvent federal records requirements in a newly released email exchange about how best to handle communications over digital devices. (USA Today)

BY THE NUMBERS

The Labor Department is out with its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists expecting first-time filings of 265,000 for last week, up slightly from the 263,000 the prior week.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George speaks at a conference on exploring financial resiliency and mobility at 2 p.m. ET.

Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Navistar (NAV) are out with earnings this morning. Restoration Hardware (RH) and Zumiez (ZUMZ) are among the companies set to release quarterly results this afternoon.

Wells Fargo (WFC), the biggest U.S. bank by market value, is expected to be the subject of a regulatory enforcement action related to its cross-selling of products and sales tactics, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter (TWTR) holds a board meeting today, with co-founder CEO Jack Dorsey under pressure to defend his leadership amid some rumblings about whether to sell the company.

Ireland's parliament voted to back the government's decision to appeal the EU's $14 billion back taxes assessment against Apple.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) CEO Alex Smith is leaving the company at the end of the year, after nearly a decade at the helm. Separately, the retailer issued a same-store sales drop of 4.3 percent for the second quarter, and said it expect to report next week a larger than expected loss.

Chipotle (CMG) has suffered a drop in consumer opinion over the last few weeks, according to pollster YouGov BrandIndex. The decline comes amid renewed food safety concerns. Bill Ackman's Pershing Square has taken a 9.9 percent stake in Chipotle.

Tractor Supply (TSCO) cut its full-year guidance for a second time, with the farm equipment supplier saying weakness in the agricultural and energy sectors is negatively impacting consumer spending in its target markets.

Samsung is selling half its stake in Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding (ASML). Samsung had held a 2.9 percent stake of 12.6 million shares as of August 16, according to a regulatory filing.

Sony (SNE) unveiled two new versions of the PlayStation 4 videogame console, one with higher resolution and better images, and another that is smaller, lighter, and more energy-efficient than the current model.

Netsuite's (N) $9.3 billion deal to be acquired by Oracle (ORCL) will be opposed by major shareholder T. Rowe Price (TROW), citing conflicts of interest for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

Priceline.com (PCLN) dumped its name-your-own-price feature for airline tickets as of Sept. 1, although it continues to let customers bid on hotel rooms and rental cars.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) struck an agreement with Deutsche Bank (DB) for a $300 million credit line for its vehicle leasing program.

Viacom (VIAB) hired Morgan Stanley (MS) and LionTree to review its capital structure, according to Reuters. The report said Viacom is looking to bolster its finances as advertising sales decline.

WATERCOOLER

The Denver Broncos play host to the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 rematch to kick off the NFL's regular season tonight. The Broncos are hoping for a repeat, and to again frustrate the Panthers, last year's highest-scoring offense. (USA Today)

Ryan Lochte has been banned for 10 months, through next June, and excluded from next July's world championships, after his gas-station incident and "over-exaggeration" in recounting the event at the Rio Olympics. (USA Today)

Tiger Woods plans to return to competitive golf at the Safeway Open in mid-October, after taking off for more than a year to recover from back surgery. During his hiatus, Woods said he spent time with his family and worked on designing golf courses. (CNBC)