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Despite political uproar, US futures point to strong open on Wall Street

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher after Tuesday's basically flat trading. A small gain for the Dow extended its winning streak to three sessions. If the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were able to post strong gains today, they could join the Dow in positive territory for August. (CNBC)

* July housing starts out at 8:30 a.m. ET (CNBC)
* Mortgage rates drop to lowest since election, but borrowers barely budget (CNBC)
* Fed releases July meeting minutes at 2 p.m. ET (CNBC)
* Dow component Cisco Systems issues earnings after the bell (CNBC)

Retail takes center stage once again on this morning's earnings calendar, with Target (TGT) reporting quarterly profit, revenue and same store sales that beat estimates. Target also issued an upbeat outlook. The stock was surging in the premarket. (CNBC)

Urban Outfitters (URBN) was surging about 20 percent in the premarket after reporting quarterly earnings and revenue that beat expectations. Same store sales fell 4.9 percent, but that was a smaller decline than the 6.9 percent analysts had anticipated. (CNBC)

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic told CNBC this morning the Great Recession was so deep that people don't trust long-term investments. Bostic was tapped to lead the Altanta Fed in March.

* Plans to unwind banking regulation 'very, very dangerous', says Fed's Fischer (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump left lawmakers in both parties stunned after Tuesday's combative news conference, in which he went back to blaming "two sides" for the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. (NBC News & CNBC)

* Trump calls CEOs who left manufacturing council 'grandstanders' (CNBC)
* Trump says Robert E. Lee statue 'very important' to marchers (NBC News)
* Trump 'went rogue' during controversial press event, White House official tells NBC
* McCain: 'No moral equivalency between racists and Americans standing up to defy hate' (CNBC)

President Trump blasted Amazon (AMZN) on social media this morning, saying the e-commerce giant is hurting retailers and causing U.S. job losses. (CNBC)

Talks that could set the tone for every other trade deal during the Trump administration start today, when Mexican and Canadian officials sit down in Washington to renegotiate NAFTA, the 23-year-old free trade agreement that the president had one time vowed to tear up. (CNBC)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a South Florida stop today, promoting work between Miami-Dade County and the federal government when it comes to turning over illegal immigrants they have arrested. (NBC News)

Luther Strange, appointed earlier this year to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Sessions and backed by Trump, meets former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in a runoff next month after Tuesday's special election primary. (NBC News)

There would be sharp increases in Obamacare premiums for the most popular types of plans and in the federal budget deficit if President Trump were to end key federal health subsidies, the Congressional Budget Office warned. (CNBC)

After a turbulent and scandal-filled year, Wells Fargo (WFC) announced the retirement of chairman Stephen Sanger at the end of 2017, earlier than his previously planned April 2018 departure. Vice chair and former Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke succeeds Sanger. (CNBC)

UnitedHealth (UNH) tapped its president, David Wichmann, to replace Stephen Hemsley as CEO, effective Sept. 1. Hemsley, 65, will remain with the company in the newly created position of executive chairman. (CNBC)

Early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar sent Benchmark Capital another letter asking the firm to step away from the ride-hailing firm's board. Pishevar claims Benchmark is trying to remove former CEO Travis Kalanick and Arianna Huffington as directors. (Recode)

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) has joined a self-driving alliance currently led by BMW, Intel (INTC), and Intel's recently acquired Mobileye unit. Fiat Chrysler plans to put autonomous car technology into production by 2021. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) sold C$2.5 billion ($1.96 billion) in seven-year bonds, setting a record for a Canadian-dollar-denominated issue. Separately, Apple has reportedly set aside a roughly $1 billion budget to buy and produce original programming. (Reuters & WSJ)

Google's diversity program discourages debate on the topic of bias and encourages employees who participate in anti-bias training to keep details of the sessions secret, according to slides for leaders and participants of one such session used by the company. (CNBC)

The Powerball jackpot is estimated to be $430 million for tonight's drawing after no one won on Saturday when the big prize was worth more than $350 million. But there was one winner in Friday's Mega Millions $393 million jackpot.

STOCKS TO WATCH

BHP Billiton (BHP) saw Elliott Management raise its stake in the mining giant to 5 percent as the hedge fund continues to push for change. Elliott did say BHP has already taken positive steps to improve its business.

AIG (AIG) is putting a $2 billion death benefits portfolio up for sale. The insurer is working with Goldman Sachs to find possible buyers. Apollo Global Management (APO) is said to be among those expressing interest.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) said a combination of its Opdivo and Yervoy drugs in a treatment for kidney cancer patients did not meet one of its primary goals in a late stage trial.

Verizon (VZ) is planning to compete with AT&T (T) for emergency response customers, saying it will build so-called "dedicated lanes" in its wireless network for firefighters, police, and others.

WATERCOOLER

Daniel Craig has confirmed he'll be returning for another movie as James Bond. The actor said an earlier statement that he did not want to play Bond anymore was "stupid," and made right after filming "Spectre" when he was exhausted. (NBC News)