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What to watch today: Dow to rally, US-China trade talks, and the NFL's 100th season

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were sharply higher and pointing to a second day of strong gains, after China said that Beijing and Washington agreed to hold trade talks in early October. Wednesday's strong gains nearly erased the Dow's 285-point decline Tuesday. (CNBC)

Top China trade negotiator Liu He spoke on the phone with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Commerce Ministry said Thursday. The USTR confirms the call but not next month's meeting. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra is set to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House today, with trade, contract talks, and fuel efficiency standards among the items said to be on the agenda. Last week, Trump criticized GM over the automaker's China operations. (Reuters)

A busy day for economic numbers begins at 8:15 a.m. ET, with the release of ADP's August report on private sector employment, closely followed for hints on what the government's monthly employment report might show on Friday. Jobless claims, productivity figures, and factory orders are also among today's data. (CNBC)

Fed will cut rates by a quarter point this month, not a half point, WSJ says

Homebuilder Hovnanian (HOV), Lands' End (LE), and Signet Jewelers (SIG) are out with quarterly earnings this morning. Lululemon (LULU), DocuSign (DOCU), Zoom Video (ZM), and Zumiez (ZUMZ) release their numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

Shares of Slack (WORK) were sinking about 13% in premarket trading after the workplace messaging service forecast a larger than expected loss for the third quarter. In its first financial report since going public in June, Slack on Wednesday afternoon reported a smaller-than-expected loss and revenue above estimates. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Dorian, back to a Category 3 hurricane, began hitting the Southeast seaboard Thursday, threatening to inundate low-lying coastal areas from Georgia to Virginia with a life-threatening storm surge. Earlier this week, the storm leveled the Bahamas. (AP)

* Latest images of Bahamas devastation from Hurricane Dorian (USA Today)

As Dorian was bearing down on the southeastern United States, top Democratic presidential hopefuls this week tried to demonstrate how they would turn the tide on global warming. They participated in a CNN climate change town hall last night. (USA Today)

* Trump doubles down on debunked Alabama comments about Dorian's path, holding up a doctored map (USA Today)

Gregory Craig, former Obama White House counsel, was found not guilty of lying to the Department of Justice in a case that stemmed from former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (CNBC)

Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan, the internet message board favored by white nationalists, warned lawmakers that the fringe website's current owner, Jim Watkins, will "lie through his teeth" at today's House Homeland Security Committee hearing. (NBC News)

As many as a dozen partners at Goldman Sachs (GS) are negotiating an exit from the bank and are likely to leave by the end of 2019, The Wall Street Journal reports. Goldman CEO David Solomon, in some cases, is culling a partnership he reportedly sees as bloated.

Twitter (TWTR) temporarily turned off the ability to send tweets by text message, following high-profile account hacks. The move came hours after actress Chloe Moretz's account appeared to be compromised by the same group. (USA Today)

Samsung's foldable smartphones will be available in South Korea tomorrow in two colors, Cosmos Black and Space Silver. The Galaxy Fold will roll out in Singapore, France, Germany and the U.K. later this month. No U.S. launch date has been set. The Fold had been set for release in April. (CNBC)

* Puma unveils its first smartwatch, working with US-based Fossil (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) announced new products with its Alexa voice assistant and Fire TV software built-in. Some, like a new version of last year's Fire TV Cube, are made by Amazon. Several third-party manufacturers unveiled their own living-room devices running Amazon's services. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) said it sees "long-term potential" for cryptocurrencies but it is not focused on them. Apple has become a big player in mobile payments since releasing Apple Pay for the iPhone in 2014 and moving deeper into the market with last month's launch of Apple Card in partnership with Goldman Sachs. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Cloudera (CLDR) lost an adjusted 2 cents per share for its second quarter, which was smaller than the 10-cent loss anticipated by analysts. The cloud software firm's revenue was well above. Cloudera also raised forward guidance.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) exceeded estimates by 5 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.47 per share. Revenue also beat. The cybersecurity firm also issued a fiscal 2020 profit warning.

A Justice Department settlement allowing CVS Health (CVS) to complete its purchase of Aetna has been approved in federal court. The judge had been looking at whether the DOJ settlement did enough to protect competition and consumers.

T-Mobile US (TMUS) was sued by New York City, which accuses the mobile carrier of engaging in "rampant sales abuse" of customers of its lower priced Metro brand.

WATERCOOLER

Kicking off the NFL's 100th season tonight is not the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but two of the league's oldest franchises engaging in an age-old rivalry: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers. (NFL Network)

No. 8 seed Serena Williams faces No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina on Thursday in the semifinals for a chance to compete in her 10th U.S. Open final. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, is the only woman remaining in the singles field to have won a major title. (CBS Sports)