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Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, July 31:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were flat to slightly higher Wednesday as the Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day meeting and ahead of a day filled with economic data.

The Fed isn't expected to announce any big changes when it issues its latest policy statement. But investors will be looking for clues as to when the central bank might begin pulling back on its monetary stimulus.

European stocks were rising Wednesday while Asian shares finished the trading session mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 index declined 1.5%.


2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the ADP Employment Change index for July at 8:15 a.m. EDT, advanced gross domestic product for the second quarter at 8:30 a.m., Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m., and the rate decision from the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m.


3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday ended mixed as the Fed presidents began their two-day meeting.

The S&P 500 rose 0.04% to 1,685.96 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.01% to 15,520.59. The Nasdaq added 0.48% to 3,616.47.


4. -- Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) is making an aggressive move to expand its antibiotic business, by acquiring Optimer Pharmaceuticals (OPTR) and Trius Therapeutics (TSRX).

The deals are valued at $801 million and $818 million, if certain milestones are reached, respectively.

Cubist already markets the antibiotic Cubicin but once the two deals close the company will control Optimer's currently approved antibiotic Dificid as well as Trius' late-stage antibiotic candidate tedizolid.


5. -- Whole Foods Market (WFM), the grocery chain, is expected by Wall Street on Wednesday to post fiscal third-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share on sales of $3.09 billion.


6. -- MasterCard (MA), the credit card company, is forecast by Wall Street to report second-quarter earnings of $6.30 a share on revenue of $2 billion.


7. -- Cable giant Comcast (CMCSA) is expected to post profit of 63 cents a share in the second quarter on revenue of $16.01 billion.

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