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Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Aug. 30:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were flat to slightly lower Friday ahead of a number of economic releases and as fears of possible military action against Syria remain unsettled.

European stocks were moving to the downside while Asian shares ended mostly higher, except for Japan, where the Nikkei 225 index declined 0.5%.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes personal income and spending for July at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Chicago PMI for August at 9:45 a.m. and the final Michigan Sentiment index for August at 9:55 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday gained modestly on stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth and a drop in jobless claims.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to close at 1,638.17 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 14,840.95. The Nasdaq jumped 0.8% to 3,620.30.

4. -- President Obama is preparing for unilateral military action in Syria after Britain's Parliament on Thursday refused to go along with Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to intervene in Syria, where the government is alleged to have used chemical weapons against civilians.

Obama is prepared to act without the U.K., officials told The Wall Street Journal, noting that unlike U.S. involvement in the 2011 military operation in Libya, the options under consideration in Syria are smaller in scale and don't need a coalition to be effective.

5. -- Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and American Express (AXP - Get Report) are vying to take an equity stake in Foursquare Labs, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the discussions.

The two companies are competing to invest in Foursquare rather than cooperating on a joint bid, one of the people told Bloomberg. Foursquare also is talking with other companies about a possible investment but the talks may not lead to a deal, another person said.

Foursquare is a social networking Website which lets users check in to show they're visiting a place like a restaurant or store.

6. -- General Electric (GE - Get Report) is preparing to spin off GE Capital, its retail lending and credit-card business, in an initial public offering that could come early next year, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Preliminary work to separate the business through an IPO is under way, the people told the newspaper.

GE Capital's portfolio of loans and other assets would rank it as the country's fifth-largest commercial bank, the Journal noted. The unit also issues store credit cards for 55 million consumers.

7. -- Apache (APA - Get Report) said Friday it would sell a 33% stake in its Egypt operation to China's Sinopec for $3.1 billion.

Apache said the sale is a first step in forming a global partnership to pursue oil and gas projects.
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