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August finishing with last-minute surge on Wall Street

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to further gains this morning and may accomplish a feat that's been rare in recent Augusts: a positive month. The Dow and Nasdaq regained positive territory for a month, and the S&P 500's longest win streak since May gives it a possible shot at doing the same on the last day of the month. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) is getting closer to the $1 trillion mark. Shares of the iPhone maker hit another all-time high Wednesday. At about $163, they are just $30 a share away from making Apple the first U.S. company to cross the $1 trillion threshold in terms of market capitalization. (CNBC)

*Tech sector surpasses bubble peaks and could still be the 'best place to be' (CNBC Trading Nation)

U.S. crude oil prices were on track to post the steepest monthly losses in more than a year as concerns spread over falling demand after storm Harvey knocked out almost a quarter of U.S. refineries. Meanwhile, gasoline futures were sharply higher again this morning. (Reuters)

A busy day for economic numbers begins at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the release of weekly initial jobless claims and personal income and spending figures for July. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is at 9:45 a.m. ET. At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors is out with July pending home sales figures. (CNBC)

*Charting Hurricane Harvey's jaw-dropping size and destruction (USAToday)
*Federal aid request to repair Harvey damage expected to top Katrina (WSJ)

Shoe Carnival (SCVL) shares were surging 16 percent in the premarket after reporting quarterly profit of 24 cents per share, 4 cents above estimates, with revenue also beating forecasts. It cites both increased sales and good management of expenses and said it is well-positioned for the back-to-school season. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

French chemicals group Arkema confirmed this morning two explosions at its plant in Crosby, Texas, compromised by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The company added there was a risk of further explosions at the site. Arkema had warned earlier this week that the plant was likely to catch fire and explode. (Reuters)

*Harvey delivers another blow to Katrina survivors (WSJ)

A Reuters analysis found at least $23 billion worth of property has been affected by flooding from Harvey just in parts of Texas' Harris and Galveston counties. The number represents market value, not storm damage, and is but a small fraction of the storm's reach. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump, in his first major tax reform speech, offered only minimal details on what his plan would specifically do to accomplish economic growth and job opportunities, beyond what was contained in a broad White House outline earlier this year. (CNBC)

*Trump's Wall Street-friendly tax plan faces roadblocks on Main Street (CNBC)
*Trump urges Congress to pull together on tax reform (Financial Times)

A Russian lobbyist who met senior Trump campaign aides at a controversial meeting last year, has given evidence before a grand jury investigation, according to the Financial Times. Rinat Akhmetshin gave testimony under oath for several hours on Aug. 11.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked most of Texas' tough new "sanctuary cities" law that would have let police officers ask people during routine stops whether they're in the U.S. legally and threatened sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. (AP)

Britain and Japan said today they would cooperate in countering the threat posed by North Korea, two days after it fired a missile over northern Japan, and will pledge closer ties in defense, cyber security and counter-terrorism. (Reuters)

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient's own cells to fight cancer, a milestone that is expected to transform treatment in the coming years. (NYT)

Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said he would start on Tuesday and aim for an initial public offering in as soon as 2019, setting the stage for what would be one of the most highly anticipated market debuts in memory. (WSJ)

With Khosrowshahi leaving Expedia (EXPE) for Uber, the travel website operator named Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom as its new president and CEO. (CNBC)

Tech company Samsung has launched two new fitness-focused smartwatches and a pair of wireless earbuds equipped with its voice assistant Bixby, in a bid to challenge the likes of Apple and Fitbit in the health space. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Walt Disney (DIS) is planning significant budget cuts, largely at its ABC Television Group, according to the Wall Street Journal. The goal is to cut 10 percent of the unit's costs and that those cuts will be specifically identified by the end of September.

Workday (WDAY) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 24 cents per share, 9 cents above estimates, and the maker of human resources software also saw revenue beat forecasts. Workday also raised its full-year outlook.

Western Digital (WDC) and its partners are still on hold about a possible purchase of Toshiba's chip unit, with Toshiba now saying it is in ongoing talks with three potential buyers. Reports earlier this week had said Toshiba was in the process of finalizing its deal with the Western Digital consortium.

Costco (COST) reported a 6.1 percent jump in U.S. same-store sales (excluding gasoline) for August, topping the 3.7 percent consensus estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

WATERCOOLER

As the human attention span shortens, so do the efforts to capture it. For NFL games on FOX this season, the network will debut six-second commercials. They'll be used along with the more traditional 15-second and 30-second spots. (NBC Sports)