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Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to recover, Trump wants to buy Greenland, and GE shares bounce

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were sharply higher ahead of Friday trading, following an extremely volatile Thursday session. The projected gains, however, would not be enough to completely erase this week's losses, amounting to 2.7% for the Dow and about 2.4% for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. As we hit the halfway point of August, stocks are on track for only their second losing month of the year, with the Dow down 4.8% for August, the S&P down 4.5% and the Nasdaq down 5%. The only losing month so far this year occurred in May. (CNBC)

Treasury yields climb away from record lows (CNBC)
Fed's Bullard says only a 'sustained' bond inversion would be a bearish signal (CNBC)
* Ray Dalio puts 40% odds on a recession before the 2020 election (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the government issues July housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET. The University of Michigan's mid-August consumer sentiment index is out at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Deere & Co. (DE) is among the few companies out with quarterly earnings this morning.There are no earnings scheduled after-the bell. (CNBC)

General Electric (GE) shares saw their biggest drop in more than a decade after Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos targeted the conglomerate in a new report, accusing it of issuing fraudulent financial statements to hide the extent of its problems. GE shares were bouncing about 2% higher in the premarket. (CNBC)

* GE CEO Larry Culp bought nearly $2 million worth of stock (CNBC)

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IN THE NEWS TODAY

Mass pro-democracy protests were expected this weekend in Hong Kong, emerging as another flash point between Beijing and Washington, which are locked in a trade war. President Donald Trump urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with the demonstrators to defuse weeks of tensions. (Reuters)

Trump has reportedly discussed trying to buy Greenland, the autonomous Danish territory. Such a move is not without precedent. The U.S. has previously tried to buy the strategically located country, with President Harry S. Truman offering $100 million for it in 1946. (NBC News)

* Danish MPs ridicule idea of Trump buying Greenland, saying it's not for sale (Reuters)

House Democrats subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager and potential U.S. Senate candidate Corey Lewandowski to testify publicly about what they say are Trump's efforts to obstruct justice. The House Judiciary Committee revealed the subpoenas just a few hours before Lewandowski was set to meet with Trump. (CNBC)

Israel's interior minister said today he has received and granted a request by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds, after Tlaib asked to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. Israel had decided to ban Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar from visiting the West Bank. (AP)

North Korea today bluntly criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the U.S. and over his rosy comments on inter-Korean diplomacy, and said Pyongyang has no current plans to talk with Seoul. (AP)

An Iranian tanker whose detention exacerbated frictions between Tehran and the West could sail free from British territory Gibraltar today, though a U.S. request to halt its passage could drag the saga back into court. (Reuters)

A lawmaker is calling into question Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in front of Congress after a new report revealed the company used outside contractors to transcribe audio from its services without users' explicit consent. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan sent a letter to the CEO asking for further clarity. (CNBC)

Capital One (COF) employees raised concerns about issues in the company's cybersecurity unit ahead of a recent data breach, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the issues: high turnover among senior leaders and staff, and failure to properly install software to spot and defend against hacking.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Applied Materials (AMAT) beat expectations with adjusted quarterly profit and revenue. However, the company did warn that recovery for the memory chip market would be unlikely to occur before next year.

Nvidia (NVDA) reported strong adjusted quarterly profit and better-than-expected revenue. Nvidia said its results were helped by demand for newer high end graphics chips designed for video games.

Dillard's (DDS) reported a wider-than-expected adjusted quarterly loss. The retailer's revenue was slightly below forecasts, with comparable store sales falling 1%.

WATERCOOLER

Disney (DIS) continues to break records at the box office. The company announced that "Toy Story 4 " surpassed the $1 billion mark this week, becoming the fifth movie from the studio to do so this year. "Toy Story 4" is the fourth Pixar film to reach $1 billion, and it's eighth highest-grossing animated movie of all time. (CNBC)