Morning Brief

Wall Street is set to drift at the open after new US and China tariffs kick in

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were relatively flat this morning after the Dow and S&P 500 on Wednesday logged their first declines in five sessions. The Nasdaq, however, closed higher for the fifth straight session. (CNBC)

Even as trade talks resumed, a new round of U.S. tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports kicked-in today, prompting Beijing to retaliate with its own levies on American goods worth the same amount. (CNBC)

* 'We don't like the trade war,' says one of China's biggest carmakers (CNBC)
* US economy is expected to slow, damaged by Trump's trade war: Poll (Reuters)
* Commerce Secretary Ross on NAFTA: Deal with Mexico in reach (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the government releases weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET and July new home sales at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Alibaba (BABA) leads this morning's earnings. (CNBC)

Alibaba shares rally 3% in premarket as revenues surge 61% (CNBC)

Central bankers and economists gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the Fed's annual economic symposium. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, criticized by President Donald Trump for raising rates, speaks tomorrow. (WSJ)

* Fed's Esther George: Trump isn't influencing her votes on rate hikes (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Trump said, in a wide-ranging Fox News interview, the stock market would crash if he were removed from office. "I think everybody would be very poor," Trump argued. (CNBC)

The president didn't rule out the possibility of pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on fraud charges on Tuesday. (CNBC)

Trump admits he provided the hush money used by his former attorney Michael Cohen to suppress the allegations of two women that they had affairs with Trump.

The president suggests it should be illegal for people facing prosecution to co-operate with the government in exchange for a reduced sentence. (AP)

Cohen, who pleaded guilty Tuesday on fraud charges, made a previously unreported $50,000 payment to a tech company in connection with the 2016 campaign. (CNBC)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren posted 10 years of her tax returns online, a day after calling for anti-corruption laws, in a possible signal the Massachusetts Democrat may be laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run. (AP)

Apple (AAPL) removed Facebook's (FB) Onavo security app from the App Store for not complying with privacy rules. Facebook acquired Onavo in 2013 and used it to offer consumers access to a virtual private network. (CNBC)

One of Facebook's earliest executives, Dan Rose, is leaving (CNBC)

J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) is expanding its Sapphire brand to checking accounts. The high-end Sapphire Reserve credit card was introduced two years ago and has attracted millennials because of its travel perks. (Reuters)

Kroger (KR) plans to eliminate plastic shopping bags from its supermarkets by 2025, beginning with removing single-use plastic bags from its 63-store QFC chain in the Pacific Northwest next year. (WSJ)

Sears (SHLD) identified another 46 stores, 13 Kmarts and 33 Sears locations, that it will shut in November. The stores are spread across the U.S. from California to Texas and North Carolina. (CNBC)

Saudi Arabia is denying reports that the kingdom has scrapped plans to list shares of state-owned energy giant Aramco. However, the IPO is now less urgent because the rebound in oil prices, sources said. (CNBC)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) cannot be sued over the suicide of an attorney who took a generic version of GSK's Paxil antidepressant medication. An appeals court overturned a verdict against the drug maker. (Reuters)

The Education Department is reportedly considering whether to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators, undermining efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. (NY Times)

Category 4 Hurricane Lane was forecast to continue its northwest turn into the Hawaiian islands today, which would make it the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki in 1992. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Nordstrom (JWN) approved a new $1.5 billion stock repurchase program, replacing a previous program that had a remaining authorization of $327 million. Last week, the department store reported strong earnings.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 77 cents per share, 9 cents above estimates. Revenue and same-store sales also beat forecasts. The housewares retailer also raised its full-year guidance.

L Brands (LB) came in 2 cents above estimates with quarterly earnings of 36 cents per share. Revenue also exceeded forecasts. However, the Victoria's Secret parent issued forward weaker.

Synopsys (SNPS) earned an adjusted 95 cents per share for its fiscal third quarter, 3 cents above estimates. Revenue also beat. The maker of chip design software also gave a better-than-expected current outlook.

WATERCOOLER

In Forbes' annual ranking of highest-paid actors, George Clooney led the way with a career high pretax paycheck of $239 million, thanks to the up to $1 billion sale of his Casamigos Tequila.

The CBS hit "The Big Bang Theory," the most-watched comedy on television, is coming to an end in May 2019 after 12 seasons and 279 episodes, leaving a big hole in the network's primetime lineup. (WSJ)