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August 15 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Aug. 15:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were looking bullish Friday morning, riding on a rally Thursday afternoon and on a brighter outlook in European and Asian stocks.

European and Asian markets seemed intent on ignoring geopolitics this morning and focused instead on interest rates. Markets were taking the glass-half-full view after a volatile week.

Read More: J.C. Penney Shocks Wall Street Again, Shares Pop in After-Hours

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday includes the Producer Price Index for finished, intermediate and crude goods at 8:30 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday rallied into the close, as economic indicators brightened somewhat and as conflicts in Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq calmed a bit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) closed up 0.37% to 16,713.58. The S&P 500 (SPY) was up 0.43% to 1,955.18. The Nasdaq (QQQ) also rose 0.43% to 4,453.00.

4. -- The world's largest soda-maker Coca-Cola (KO) is paying $2.2 billion in cash for a 16.7% stake in energy-drink upstart Monster Beverage (MNST). Coke will add two directors to Monster's board and will move ownership of its own energy drinks, Full Throttle and Burn, to Monster. Monster will in turn hand over its non-energy drinks business to Coke. And Coke will become Monster's preferred distributor around the world.

Energy drinks are a bright spot in the beverage industry, with a $27 billion global market, even as soda sales decline in developed markets.

Coke shares were trading up 1.44% in premarket trading on the news, to $40.76. And Monster shares were up a caffeine-fuelled 21.4% to $87. 

5. -- The eurozone's slow recovery and its entanglement in Russian trade sanctions has elicited some hand-wringing. Germany said its output shrank in the second quarter, and France also shows little sign of growth.

The German GDP fell 0.2% since last quarter, worse than economists expected. Demand has decreased for German goods. Worse still, Germany is Russia's largest trade partner in Europe, and Russia is slapping sanctions on trade in retaliation for European sanctions on Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine. This is the first time the German economy has shrunk since 2013.

France is responding more angrily to European austerity policy, demanding a change in direction for the eurozone and claiming it would no longer tighten monetary targets due to the soft recovery. 

Read More: Warren Buffett's Portfolio Proves He's a Dividend Growth Investor

6. -- Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, soon to IPO in the U.S. as BABA, has been vacuuming up two companies a month so far this year. But that acquisition streak may be risky, as the company discovered when a film company it had bought said that it discovered internal accounting flaws.

CEO Jack Ma's acquisitions this year have cost $4.6 billion. This may spur the company to vet its acquisitions a bit more stringently.

Yahoo! (YHOO) is a major shareholder in Alibaba, and it shares were off 0.77% in premarket trading, to $36.08. 

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