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Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, July 15:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to gains on Wall Street Monday despite a slowdown in China's economic growth.

China's economy in the second quarter grew 7.5% from a year earlier; in the previous quarter, growth was 7.7%.

Asian stocks finished Monday's session with gains. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1% to close at 2,059.39. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday.

European stocks were rising.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes retail sales for June at 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Empire State Manufacturing Index for July at 8:30 a.m., and business inventories for May at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Friday ended with gains as strong earnings offset soft economic data.

The S&P 500 gained 0.31% to hit an all-time closing high at 1,680.19. The index gained 2.96% for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.02% to 15,464.30. The blue-chip index increased 1.07% for the week. The Nasdaq closed up 0.61% to 3,600.08. The tech-heavy index rose 3.47% last week.

4. -- Citigroup (C - Get Report) is forecast by analysts to report on Monday second-quarter earnings of $1.17 a share on revenue of $19.75 billion. That would represent year-over-year EPS growth of 17%, with revenue increasing about 6%.

Citigroup's earnings will be released at 8 a.m.

5. -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has begun a hiring spree to tackle design problems with its "iWatch" wrist computer, the Financial Times reported.

The iPod and iPhone maker has begun hiring "aggressively" for the project in recent weeks, people familiar with Apple's plans for the wearable device told the newspaper.

The move by Apple shows it has stepped up development but indicates the project involves "hard engineering problems that they've not been able to solve," one source said.

6. -- AT&T (T - Get Report) agreed to buy Leap Wireless (LEAP) for $15 a share, or $1.2 billion, in a deal that could bolster the telecom's wireless capacity and adds to a frenetic two years of consolidation in the industry.

AT&T will pick up Leap's Cricket brand and about 5 million subscribers on its CDMA network, under Friday's proposed deal.

Leap shares closed at $7.98 a share on Friday, but soared in after-hours trading to $17.31.

7. -- Hedge fund Starboard Value LP, which owns a big stake in Smithfield Foods (SFD), is hiring advisers to help press its case for a different deal for the giant pork producer than one already agreed to with China's Shuanghui International, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Smithfield agreed in May to be bought by Shuanghui for $34 a share, or $4.7 billion.

Starboard said last month it had taken a 5.7% stake in Smithfield.
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