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July 9 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Stocks in this article: C AA AMZN AAPL ABBV SHPG

Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, July 9:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising slightly on Wednesday as investors awaited the minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.

European stocks declined for a fourth day while Asian stocks finished Wednesday's session lower.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes minutes of the June 18 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m. EDT.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday fell with little market-moving news to sustain the rally that swept benchmark indices to record highs last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.69% to 16,906.62. The S&P 500 retreated 0.7% to 1,963.71. The Nasdaq declined 1.4% to 4,391.46.

4. -- Citigroup (C) and the Justice Department are close to a deal for the bank to pay about $7 billion to settle allegations it sold shoddy mortgages in the run-up to the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A settlement could be announced as early as next week.

The two sides, which had been far apart just weeks ago, are ironing out details of an agreement that would avert a federal lawsuit over the mortgages, the people told the Journal.

The potential settlement marks a reversal from mid-June, when the Justice Department had warned that it planned to file a lawsuit unless Citigroup significantly raised its settlement offer. Citigroup had been offering about $4 billion, while the government was seeking close to $10 billion, according to the Journal.

5. -- Amazon.com (AMZN) offered authors caught up in its dispute with Hachette Book Group 100% of the proceeds from their digital-book sales.

Hachette rejected the proposal but said it would negotiate for a contract with Amazon that would benefit both parties, Sophie Cottrell, a spokeswoman for Hachette, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday.

"We invite Amazon to withdraw the sanctions they have unilaterally imposed," she said, adding that the publisher seeks to resolve the dispute soon "to the benefit of the writers."

Amazon and Hachette have been in tense negotiations over a new e-book contract.

6.-- Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) posted second-quarter earnings on Tuesday that topped analysts' estimates.

Alcoa said earnings excluding items in the quarter were 18 cents a share; analysts were expecting 12 cents a share. Second-quarter revenue was $5.84 billion, which beat analysts' estimates of $5.66 billion.

The company reported strong results in its engineered-products business, which makes parts for industrial customers.

Alcoa reiterated its forecast for aluminum global demand growth of 7% for 2014.

7. -- A Beijing court ruled against Apple (AAPL) by upholding the validity of a patent held by a Chinese company, clearing the way for the Chinese company to continue its own case against Apple for infringing intellectual property rights, Reuters reported.

Apple had taken Shanghai-based Zhizhen Internet Technology and China's State Intellectual Property Office to court to seek a ruling that Zhizhen's patent rights to a speech recognition technology were invalid.

But the Beijing First Intermediate Court on Tuesday decided in Zhizhen's favor, the People's Daily state newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Apple said it intended to take the case to the Beijing Higher People's Court, according to the People's Daily.

"Unfortunately, we were not aware of Zhizhen's patent before we introduced Siri (speech recognition technology) and we do not believe we are using this patent," said a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman in an emailed statement to Reuters.

8. -- AbbVie (ABBV) on Tuesday made its fourth offer for Irish drugmaker Shire  (SHPG), this time raising the bid by 11% to about 30.1 billion pounds ($51.5 billion) and hinted that it had broad backing from Shire's shareholders for the latest in a string of proposals.

But AbbVie had to backtrack from that assertion on Wednesday. The company issued a statement saying that it hasn't received written commitments of support from shareholders and, without those, U.K. takeover rules don't allow the company to claim backing from investors, Bloomberg reported.

 

9. -- America Movil, the telecom company, said it would sell off some assets to reduce its market share in Mexico in the face of the country's telecommunications reform designed to break up monopolies.

The company of magnate Carlos Slim said its board agreed to sell enough assets to put the company at less than 50% of the market, The Associated Press reported. America Movil controls about 70% of the mobile and about 80% of fixed telephone markets in Mexico.

10. -- Uber agreed to limit prices during emergencies, natural disasters or other unusual market disruptions consistent with New York's law against price gouging, the car service and state attorney general said Tuesday.

Uber, which uses a mobile application to connect riders with vehicles for hire, has its rates rise and fall with demand, but it has been criticized for "surge pricing" that's sometimes exponentially higher than base fares. Prices usually increase weekdays during rush hour in New York City, on Saturday nights, special occasions like New Year's Eve and during bad weather.

Under the agreement signed Tuesday, Uber will set a cap during "abnormal disruptions of the market," limited to the range of prices charged in the preceding 60 days and excluding the three highest prices.  

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email to:tips@thestreet.com

Follow @josephwoe58

Copyright 2014 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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