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July 10 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, July 10:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing lower Thursday after equities got a lift during the previous session from the Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

European stocks declined on weaker-than-expected French consumer price data, disappointing industrial output figures for both France and Italy, and troubles at Portugal's largest listed bank.

Stocks close mostly higher in Asia but Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6%

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and wholesale inventories for May at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks gained ground after the release of the much-watched minutes of the Federal Reserve's chief policy-making committee showed that the central bank is preparing to end its historic program of monetary easing as soon as October.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% to close at 16,985.61 while the S&P 500 similarly gained 0.5% to end the regular trading day at 1,972.83. The Nasdaq rose 0.6% to 4,419.03.

4. -- Allergan (AGN - Get Report) CEO David Pyott is looking at potential sizable acquisitions at the urging of his shareholders, he told The Wall Street Journal, as he seeks to fight off a $53 billion hostile offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) and activist investor William Ackman.

Pyott, in an interview with the Journal, said he was always looking at potential targets and pointed to an estimated $14 billion in future free-cash flow and Allergan's ability to easily raise large amounts of debt as giving him the firepower for a deal.

Pyott said Allergan was considering some U.S. companies and some that are domiciled outside the U.S., which could set the stage for a potential tax-cutting deal.

Pyott wasn't specific about potential deal partners or whether any conversations were under way. The CEO also said he has talked with shareholders about a potential sizable share repurchase or a special dividend, the Journal reported.

5. -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has formally refused to meet with Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) CEO Brian Moynihan to hammer out a multibillion-dollar deal, as talks to resolve probes into shoddy mortgage securities sold by the bank remain at a standstill, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

In a letter sent in the second half of June, Holder told Moynihan that the parties remained too far apart for a meeting to be productive, one source told Reuters. No talks between Bank of America and the Department of Justice have taken place since the second week in June, several people said.

Bank of America has discussed paying about $12 billion to settle the probes, including a portion to help struggling homeowners, while the Justice Department had suggested a $17 billion settlement, Reuters reported, citing sources.

6.-- Family Dollar (FDO) is expected by analysts on Thursday to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 89 cents a share on revenue of $2.61 billion.

Activist investor Carl Icahn has urged the discount retailer to put itself up for sale immediately, saying its performance is weakening and it faces mounting competition.

Icahn disclosed last month a 9.4% stake in the retailer. 

7. -- American Apparel (APP) reached a deal with investment firm Standard General to receive an investment of up to $25 million to boost the clothing chain's finances. The agreement also will mean a shake-up of American Apparel's board.

The deal will help pay off a $10 million loan from investment firm Lion Capital, which made a formal demand for payment Monday. Lion Capital claimed that the chain defaulted under its credit agreement because the Los Angeles-based clothing chain ousted its founder and CEO Dov Charney.

As part of the shake-up of the board, five of its seven members including Charney will voluntarily step down. The departing directors will be replaced by two new directors, chosen jointly by Standard General and the current board, and three new directors chosen by Standard General. All but one of the new directors are expected to be independent and not affiliated with the investment firm or Charney.

The board will continue to be led by its current co-chairmen David Danziger and Allan Mayer.

On June 18, the board fired Charney as chairman and suspended him as president and CEO. 

8. -- IBM (IBM) is pumping $3 billion into hardware innovation, trying to jump ahead of the pack in cloud and cognitive computing.

Serving as a testament to Big Blue's commitment to get on the leading side of cloud innovation, the company announced it will invest $3 billion over the next five years in two broad research and early stage development programs for chip technology. The research focuses on making semiconductors more efficient for cloud computing and Big Data systems. 

9. -- Boeing (BA) predicted commercial aircraft sales will rise to $5.2 trillion over the next 20 years.

The forecast from the aerospace giant is up 4.2% from the forecast it made last year.

Boeing said 36,770 planes will be sold by all companies through 2033. The driving force behind the sales jump is demand in Asia, particularly China, Boeing said.

10. -- Warehouse retailer Costco (COST) said same-store sales in June rose 6%, beating Wall Street's estimates of a 5.3% increase.

Why Apple Shares Remain a Bargain Despite Reaching New Highs

-- 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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