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Investors await plethora of economic data

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures are pointing to a slightly stronger open, ahead of no fewer than eight economic reports out this morning. Recent trends are decidedly negative, with the Dow and S&P 500 down for five of six sessions, and both on pace for their biggest monthly losses since January as we reach September's halfway point. (CNBC)

Oil prices are rebounding following two straight sessions of declines that shaved nearly $3 off the cost of U.S. crude, as gloomy forecasts and a rise in petroleum products stockpiles weighed on futures. (Reuters)



Hillary Clinton's campaign released a letter from the presidential candidate's doctor, who said the Democrat was diagnosed Friday with a "mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia" and "continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as president." Donald Trump is expected to offer more medical information in an appearance on the "Dr. Oz Show" that airs Thursday. (NBC News)

Brazilian prosecutors have issued new charges accusing former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of orchestrating a massive bribery ring that looted the wealth of state oil giant Petrobras. (WAPO)

Federal prosecutors are investigating Wells Fargo (WFC), after the bank was fined for opening unauthorized accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. The Journal said U.S. attorneys have yet to decide whether they would pursue a civil or criminal case should they choose to prosecute. (CNBC)

Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos has displaced Warren Buffett as the world's third richest person following Wells Fargo's stock slide. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owned a 9.5 percent stake in the bank as of June 30. (Forbes)

Apple (AAPL) has sold out its stock of the large-format iPhone 7 Plus ahead of the product launch on Friday, and will only have limited supplies of the smaller handset model when the smartphone hits the shelves. (Reuters)

Tesla's (TSLA) autopilot driver assistance design "pushes the envelope" on safety, the chairman of collision detection systems maker Mobileye (MBLY) said Wednesday. Mobileye ended its partnership with Tesla in July following a fatal crash related to the carmaker's autopilot function. (Reuters)


BY THE NUMBERS

The 8:30 a.m. ET data rush begins with initial jobless claims from the Labor Department, seen rising to 265,000 for the week ending September 10 from 259,000 the prior week.

August retail sales are expected to post a 0.1 percent decline, after an unchanged performance in July.

The August Producer Price Index should rise 0.1 percent, according to consensus forecasts, after falling 0.4 percent in July. The ex-food and energy inflation rate is also expected to increase 0.1 percent for August after falling 0.3 percent in July.

The September Empire State Index, a measure of New York State manufacturing, is seen remaining negative at -1, but improved over August's -4.2.

The September Philadelphia Fed Index is expected to come at exactly 0.0, after registering a 2.0 reading in August.

And the second quarter current account deficit is pegged at $120.5 billion, compared to a prior estimate of $124.7 billion.

The data dump takes a breath until 9:15 a.m. ET, when the Federal Reserve issues August industrial production and capacity utilization figures. Industrial production is expected to fall 0.2 percent for August after rising 0.7 percent in July, while capacity utilization is expected to decline by 0.2 percentage points to 75.7 percent.

At 10 a.m. ET, July business inventories are expected to drop 0.1 percent after increasing 0.2 percent in June.

And finally, at 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department issues its weekly natural gas inventory report.


STOCKS TO WATCH

United Technologies (UTX) Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes has added the chairman's title, effective immediately. Edward Kangas, who had been non-executive chairman, will now serve as independent lead director.

Sony (SNE) has no plans to market a smartphone-based headset, according to the head of its gaming division, who told Reuters the company is focusing on expanding content for its dedicated virtual reality headset into non-gaming areas.

McDonald's (MCD) has received at least three final bids for its China and Hong Kong outlets, according to Reuters, with offers worth up to $3 billion.

Boeing (BA) is cutting down on paid overtime for its 80,000 salaried workers based in the United States. The jet maker is trying to cut costs to deal with increasing competition.

Och-Ziff Capital Management (OZM) saw a judge throw out the certification of a class action suit against the company, only hours after the initial action. The move comes after the judge was advised that the company had not had a chance to object to the ruling. Och-Ziff had been accused of misleading shareholders about probes into its African investments.


WATERCOOLER

The Dallas Cowboys have extended their reign as the most valuable football team in the NFL to a tenth year, according to Forbes. The team's $4.2 billion valuation is nearly double the league average. (CNBC)

The No. 7 most valuable team on the list, the New York Jets play the Buffalo Bills Thursday night in the first NFL game to be streamed live on Twitter (TWTR). The social media site will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this year. (Buffalo News)