Stock futures are pointing to modest gains at Wall Street open

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, setting the stage for perhaps more positive runs for the Dow and S&P 500. The Dow has been up in six of the past seven sessions, while the S&P 500 has gained in seven of the last eight trading days. (CNBC)

* 5 market experts tell investors how to handle the US-China trade war (CNBC)

Comcast (CMCSA), 21st Century Fox (FOXA) and Walt Disney (DIS) are all on watch this morning after the U.K.'s takeover panel announced that it would begin an auction process for broadcaster Sky this weekend. The portion of Sky that Fox already owns is among the assets it is selling to Disney, and the NBCUniversal parent currently has the highest offer on the table for Sky.

Tilray (TLRY) shares were up about 5 percent in premarket. The Canadian marijuana producer, which was halted five times by the Nasdaq, gave up a 90 percent one-day surge and turned negative briefly in a wild day of trading Wednesday. (CNBC)

* As investors chase pot stocks rally, some show caution: 'This is just stupid time' (CNBC)
* Pot-focused investment fund backed by Peter Thiel gets a boost from its big stake in Tilray (CNBC)

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants (DRI) and recreational vehicle-maker Thor Industries (THO) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, while chipmaker Micron Technology (MU), office furniture maker Steelcase (SCS) and food producer United Natural Foods (UNFI) will be out with earnings after today's closing bell.

The Labor Department releases its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. At the same time, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index will be out. The National Association of Realtors releases August existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Senate GOP said they would move forward with their efforts to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. A White House spokesman said the administration was going "full steam ahead" to support. (WSJ)

* Kavanaugh issue revives Trump's own history with women (USA Today)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that denuclearization negotiations with North Korea will be completed by January 2021. The deadline reflects a commitment from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to Pompeo. (CNBC)

Riding a surge of enthusiasm in opposition to Trump, more Democrats turned out in the primaries for House elections than Republicans this year, according to data. It was the first time that has happened since 2008. (Axios)

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who once said he "vehemently" opposed Trump and returned one of his campaign donations, is set to hold his second campaign rally and fundraiser with the president today and tomorrow in Las Vegas.(AP)

Republican Rep. Chris Collins, fighting federal insider trading charges, will restart his congressional campaign. State Republicans had tried to replace the representative on the ballot after he was indicted last month. (CNBC)

Hurricane Florence's rains, which shattered rainfall records, have finally left the Carolinas this morning. But the risks there are growing with rising rivers, hazardous waste concerns and structural damage. (Axios)

* A year after Maria, Puerto Rico is pushed to precipice (WSJ)

Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Chinese retail giant Alibaba, announced the company no longer plans to create 1 million jobs in the United States in the wake of the ongoing trade conflict between the U.S. and China. (CNBC)

Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) , told CNBC-TV18 the dispute over trade and escalating tariffs between the U.S. and China are a "trade skirmish" rather than a trade war.

The CNBC Global CFO Council has released its latest quarterly survey results. The survey found that more than 45 percent of executives put consumer demand as their primary concern, replacing U.S. trade policy.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban agreed to donate $10 million to organizations that help those affected by domestic violence. An investigation found current and former Mavericks employees committed "serious workplace misconduct." (USA Today)

E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) is testing out a new shopping site for consumers who don't know specifically what they want but are willing to take some automated recommendations to help them find it. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Facebook (FB) must comply with EU consumer rules by the end of this year or face sanctions, according to a statement issued by European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.

Nestle (NSRGY) is exploring strategic options for its skin health business, including a possible sale. The food producer said it believes the unit might perform better once separated from Nestle.

Rio Tinto (RIO) announced a $3.2 billion share buyback, following the mining company's recent sale of some of its Australian coal assets.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) announced it will launch a Boots-branded flagship store on Alibaba's (BABA) Tmall platform to introduce a number of its Boots beauty brands to Chinese consumers.

Amazon.com (AMZN) is expected to move up to third in the 2018 rankings of U.S. digital ad sellers, according to research firm eMarketer.

Wells Fargo (WFC) issued a statement to CNBC denying rumors that the bank's board had reached out to potential CEO candidates, calling them "completely false." The New York Post had reported that former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn had rebuffed overtures from Wells earlier this year to be its next CEO.

WATERCOOLER

Apple (AAPL) will take on Kanye West in a retailing battle on Friday. The launch of the largest and most expensive iPhone to date is happening on the same day as the biggest "sneaker drop" yet from Kanye West. (Financial Times)