U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher this morning as some investors shifted focus from the threat of a government shutdown to the Kansas City Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Both Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi are scheduled to speak tomorrow, in an event that has often moved markets in the past.
Today's economic reports include the Labor Department's weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. The National Association of Realtors will issue July existing home sales at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Retailers are prominent in this morning's corporate earnings reports, with Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Staples (SPLS), Michaels (MIK), and Tiffany (TIF) all scheduled to report.
*Why some retail earnings could present surprises on Thursday (Trading Nation)
The White House is expected to tell the Pentagon in coming days how to implement a ban on transgender people in the military, according to a memo that says the defense secretary may decide whether to remove service members based on their ability to deploy, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters)
The energy industry is closely watching Tropical Storm Harvey that could become the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas in nine years and dump as much as two feet of rain on the heart of the U.S. refining industry. Gasoline prices jumped Wednesday, and traders expect more upward pressure on gasoline futures as the storm gets closer to Texas. (CNBC)
Charlottesville residents are getting a chance to talk with city officials about the violent white nationalist rally earlier this month. The city is hosting what it calls a "community recovery town hall" this evening, in collaboration with the Community Relations Services of the Department of Justice. (AP)
China has come out strongly against new U.S. sanctions to pressure North Korea. The country says it opposed "long-arm jurisdiction" of President Trump's administration, arguing that Beijing has always met international obligations in containing its reclusive neighbor. (CNBC)
*China says will use "all means necessary" to defend interests against U.S. trade probe (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia and China plan to establish and operate jointly a $20 billion investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Reuters. He said that in addition to the fund, he expected 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion to be signed between the two sides. (Reuters)
Amazon's $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market on Wednesday, just a few hours after Whole Foods shareholders approved the deal. The two companies expect to finalize the agreement during the second half of the year. (CNBC)
Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone on Wednesday, the successor to the ill-fated Note 7, with its biggest screen yet. The South Korean electronics giant has not disclosed the price but Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh says the company is working on it not being priced over $1,000. (CNBC)
HP Inc. (HPQ) beat estimates by a penny with adjusted quarterly profit of 43 cents. Revenue also beat forecasts, although HP's current quarter earnings outlook falls slightly below consensus. HP's most recent results were driven by improved sales of personal computers.
General Electric (GE) has resumed talks to sell its industrial solutions unit to Switzerland engineering company ABB, according to a Reuters report. Reuters said the talks resumed after GE scaled back its expectations of the unit's value in a deal.
AstraZeneca (AZN) blood thinning drug Brilinta saw positive results in a trial aimed at winning approval for extended use of the drug. The trial saw the drug reduce the risk of heart disease-related death by 29 percent in patients who had suffered heart attacks in the past.
Raytheon (RTN) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) won separate $900 million contracts from the Air Force to continue their work on next generation nuclear cruise missiles.
A $758 million fortune will go to just one lucky buyer in Massachusetts, who drew the sole winning Powerball number in the second-richest in the game's history, the lottery's organizers said early this morning. The winning numbers — 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, with a Powerball of 4 — were drawn Wednesday, said the Multi-State Lottery Association. (NBC News)
*Cramer's lucky 7 rules for the winner of the $700 million Powerball jackpot (CNBC)