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Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Tuesday, Oct. 8:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were trading flat Tuesday as the U.S. government shutdown entered its eighth day, but Asian stocks rose on optimism that the stalled budget battle in Washington could be ended before Oct. 17, the day the U.S. has to raise its debt ceiling.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.3% on Tuesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9%.

European stocks were trading lower.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday is bare. Trade balance data for August has been postponed because of the U.S. shutdown.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Monday finished lower as investors feared the stalling budget talks in Washington over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, will destroy the country's international credibility and plunge the global economy into another recession.

The S&P 500 lost 0.85% to close at 1,676.12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.91% to 14,936.24. The Nasdaq fell 0.98% to 3,770.38.

4. -- The Social Security Administration is warning that it can't guarantee full benefit payments if the debt ceiling isn't increased, The Wall Street Journal reported.

When asked by the public, the agency is notifying beneficiaries that "unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk," according to a person familiar with the agency directive, the Journal reported.

The agency's warning comes after it consulted with the Treasury Department, which would play a lead role in determining how the government handles payments if the borrowing limit isn't raised soon, the Journal said.

"Our employees started receiving questions from the public, so the agency worked with Treasury to provide an answer they could use when asked about the debt ceiling by the public," a Social Security Administration spokesman said.

The current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling will be hit on Oct. 17.

5. -- Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), the French-American telecommunications equipment maker, said Tuesday it plans to cut about 10,000 jobs worldwide over the next two years.

Of the job reductions, 4,100 positions will be in its Europe, Middle East and Africa region, 3,800 are to come in the Asia-Pacific zone and 2,100 in the Americas.

Alcatel said Tuesday in a statement that its "shift plan" announced in June is aimed at achieving fixed-cost savings of €1 billion ($1.36 billion) by the end of 2015. The company acknowledged that it "must make difficult decisions" to carry out the plan.

6. -- Yum! Brands (YUM - Get Report), which operates or licenses Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants, is expected by Wall Street on Tuesday to report third-quarter earnings of 93 cents a share on revenue of $3.53 billion.

7. -- Carl Icahn, the billionaire activist investor, tweeted on Monday that he has taken a stake of 61.5 million shares in Talisman Energy (TLM), the Calgary-based oil and gas driller.

Talisman shares jumped more than 8% in after-hours trading on Monday following Icahn's disclosure.

Icahn's stake represents about 5.97% of Talisman's outstanding common stock as of as of July 26.

In his tweet, Icahn said would speak with Talisman's management about considering strategic initiatives and gaining seats on the driller's board. Talisman shares are down about 3% over the past year.
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TLM $0.00 0.00%
ALU $3.46 0.87%
YUM $79.56 0.00%
AA $11.17 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%


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