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Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to jump, Target and Lowe's shares pop, and Trump talks payroll tax cut

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a strong Wall Street open following Tuesday's losses, the first in four sessions for the Dow and S&P 500 and the first in three days for the Nasdaq. However, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still holding on to double-digit percentage gains for 2019. Energy and financials have been the worst-performing sectors during a weaker August for the stock market. (CNBC)

Retailers Target (TGT) and Lowe's (LOW) are out with quarterly earnings this morning along with chip maker Analog Devices (ADI). This afternoon, L Brands (LB), Nordstrom (JWN), Pure Storage (PSTG), and Splunk (SPLK) are out with their numbers after the bell. (CNBC)

Lowe's stock surges after beating second-quarter earnings and revenue estimates (CNBC)
* Targets shares pop after earnings unexpectedly jump 17% and retailer hikes outlook (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the Fed issues minutes from its July meeting at 2 p.m. ET, at which central bankers lowered interest rates. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors releases July existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. The Energy Department is out with its usual Wednesday assessment of oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump told reporters he was "thinking about" cutting payroll taxes, less than a day after the White House denied that a payroll tax cut was under consideration. Trump added he has "been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time" — and he cautioned that "whether or not we do something now, it's not being done because of recession." (CNBC)

Trump said he's postponing a scheduled meeting with Denmark's prime minister because of her lack of interest in discussing a possible purchase of Greenland. Trump was due to visit Copenhagen in early September to meet with Mette Frederiksen and Prime Minister Kim Kielsen of Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory. (CNBC)

Israeli officials today offered a muted response to remarks by Trump who said American Jews who vote for the democratic Party were "disloyal." Jewish groups in the United States were outraged by Trump's comment, but the Israeli government, which has particularly close ties with the Trump administration, appeared to hold back. (Reuters)

Japan and the U.S. will seek to narrow gaps on trade when their top negotiators meet today, but hopes for a deal in September are fading as both sides fail to make concessions on agriculture and automobiles. The two-day talks in Washington D.C. will be their second meeting this month. (Reuters)

Walmart (WMT) is suing Elon Musk's electric vehicle and clean energy company after Tesla (TSLA) solar panels atop seven of the retailer's stores allegedly caught fire. Tesla and Walmart have been partners on clean energy initiatives for years, and more than 240 Walmart stores have Tesla solar systems installed. (CNBC)

* Walmart shines light on Musk's thorny SolarCity deal (CNBC)

Huawei is facing a "life or death crisis" amid continued pressure from the U.S. government, its founder and CEO told employees, as he laid out a strategy for the Chinese telecommunications giant going forward. In a memo to employees of Huawei's networking division, Ren Zhengfei described the company's current situation as a "battle." (CNBC)

Alibaba (BABA) is delaying a planned $15 billion Hong Kong initial public offering, Reuters reported. The decision by the China e-commerce giant comes amid the growing political unrest in Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub.

Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to help guard the world's pork supply as a deadly virus ravages Asia's pig herds, killing millions of pigs. Farmers have long contained its spread by quarantining and killing infected animals, but the disease's devastating march into East Asia is intensifying the search for another solution. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Urban Outfitters (URBN) reported better-than-expected quarterly profits. However, both revenue and comparable store sales did fall below Wall Street forecasts as digital sales growth did not offset declines at the company's Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People stores.

Toll Brothers (TOL) beat quarterly profit and revenue with its quarterly earnings. Toll Brothers did see a decline in orders, pointing at possible weaker demand for new homes, but pointed to lower mortgage rates and strong employment as positive factors going forward.

Cardinal Health (CAH) said its business could be impacted by ongoing opioid-related lawsuits. Cardinal and other wholesale pharmaceutical distributors have been named in about 2,500 lawsuits and Cardinal said it expects to be named as a defendant in additional lawsuits.

Cree (CREE) reported strong adjusted quarterly profit and revenue in its past quarter. However, it gave a weaker than expected current quarter forecast, pointing to softness in the LED market and the U.S. ban on doing business with China's Huawei.

WATERCOOLER

New York's favorite web-slinging hero is Marvel's no longer after a split between Disney (DIS) and Sony Pictures. The decision will effectively remove Tom Holland's Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though two more films with Holland and director John Watts are reportedly still planned. (CNBC)

Lana Wachowski is set to write and direct a fourth film set in the world of "The Matrix," with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively. There's no word on whether Laurence Fishburne will be Morpheus again. (Variety)