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US stocks seek to keep positive momentum going

BY THE NUMBERS

In a scenario that seemed unlikely just 24 hours ago, U.S. stock futures were higher this morning as U.S.-North Korea tensions appear to ease. Stocks were coming off a session in which they wiped out early losses to finish the day higher, with the Dow on Tuesday erasing a nearly 135-point drop. (CNBC)

Gasoline futures were sharply higher this morning, up about 3 percent, on supply concerns due to Harvey-related refinery closures. Oil prices, in turn, were dipping on worries that less crude will be needed to be refined. (Reuters)

Two significant economic reports hit the tape within 15 minutes of each other this morning, starting at 8:15 a.m. ET with the August ADP report on private sector employment. At 8:30 a.m. ET, the second reading of second quarter GDP is released. (CNBC)

*Early jobs data could be a big deal for the currency market (CNBC Trading Nation)

Bank of America (BAC) now has Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) as its biggest shareholder, after Berkshire exercised warrants to buy 700 million shares for a paper profit of about $12 billion. Buffett joins CNBC for an interview at 11 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has collected $89.6 million in incentives this week, according to an SEC filing, part of the 10-year deal he signed when he took over as CEO from the late Steve Jobs in 2011. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Harvey, as a tropical storm, made its second landfall early this morning in western Louisiana. As a hurricane, Harvey hit southeast Texas late Friday and in the ensuing days dumped record rainfall and brought devastating flooding to the Houston area. Weakened levees there were in danger of failing and rivers have yet to crest. (AP)

*Second major shelter for Harvey evacuees opens (AP)

President Donald Trump, who observed the federal government's Harvey response in Texas Tuesday, is expected to lay out his vision for tax reform today in Missouri. The speech was reportedly shaped by top nationalist White House aide Stephen Miller. Trump is likely to focus on eliminating deductions that primarily favor high-income taxpayers. (Politico)

*There's little evidence that corporate tax cuts create jobs (CNBC)
*Republican tax plan poses risk to US bond market (WSJ)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis kicked Trump's proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military down the road, announcing that transgender service members will continue to be allowed to serve pending the results of a study. (NYT)

The United Nations condemned North Korea's "outrageous" firing of a ballistic missile over Japan, demanding that the isolated country halts its weapons program but held back on any threat of new sanctions. (Reuters)

*US sanctions are very bad news ... unless you're North Korea (CNBC)
*Trump wants China to fix North Korea, but it isn't going to happen (CNBC)

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain is looking at ways to replicate the trade deals that the European Union has with countries outside the bloc when it exits the EU in 2019. Businesses have repeatedly voiced concerns about how existing trade relationships will work after leaving the bloc. (Reuters)

Amazon and Microsoft are working together to extend the abilities of their voice-controlled digital assistants, Alexa and Cortana. The partnership, which the companies plan to announce early today, will allow people to summon Cortana using Alexa, and vice versa, by the end of the year. (NYT)

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will officially be Uber's new chief. Khosrowshahi will be at Uber for an all-hands meeting today and is expected to take questions from employees. He will also meet with Uber employees in smaller groups over the next few weeks. (CNBC)

*Inside Uber's choice of a new CEO (NYT)

Uber confirmed the Justice Department is probing whether managers broke U.S. laws prohibiting bribery of officials in foreign countries. An Uber spokesman said the ride hailing company is cooperating with the probe. (Washington Post)

United Technologies is nearing a deal to buy Rockwell Collins for more than $20 billion. The companies are discussing a per-share price for Rockwell of $140 or less and could come to an agreement as soon as this weekend. (WSJ)

STOCKS TO WATCH

H&R Block (HRB) had a loss of 62 cents per share for its latest quarter. That matched forecasts, with revenue above consensus. H&R Block typically reports losses in quarters outside of its seasonal tax business.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit is unveiling new augmented reality app tools today for mobile devices that use its Android operating system.

Amazon's (AMZN) Whole Foods unit still has relatively high prices despite selective price cuts following Amazon's takeover. That's according to an analysis published by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors analyst Charles Grom.

Target (TGT) is planning to scale back its use of Amazon Web Services as it tries to cut back on spending at its chief retail rival, according to sources. Those sources tell CNBC that Microsoft is among those competing to provide web services to Target.

Goldman Sachs (GS) plans to detail a turnaround strategy for its bond-trading unit next month, according to a Reuters report.

WATERCOOLER

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt launched an online relief fund for Hurricane Harvey victims Sunday with an initial goal of raising $200,000. It quickly surpassed its initial goal and the fund has raised more than $4 million and is still growing. (Sports Illustrated)