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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Aug. 31 (updated from 6:02 a.m. EDT):
1. -- U.S. stock futures were flat to lower Wednesday following the release of the ADP jobs report for August and after two Federal Reserve officials offered differing views on the risks of low interest rates.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans, at a conference in Beijing on Wednesday, said expectations for interest rates remaining low for a long time are becoming entrenched among investors, allowing the Fed to delay raising rates without running the risk of causing financial instability, Bloomberg reported.
"Long-run expectations for policy rates provide an anchor to long-run interest rates," Evans said, Bloomberg reported. "So, lower policy rate expectations act as a restraint on how much long-term rates could rise following a surprise over the near-term policy path."
Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, speaking at the same conference, said eight years of extremely low interest rates have pushed commercial real estate prices up rapidly, and they might also decline rapidly if economic conditions change.
Because many banks hold real estate debt, they might sustain losses that force them to decrease consumer lending, sending shock waves through the consumer-driven U.S. economy.
While Rosengren, a voting member of the U.S. central bank's monetary policy committee, isn't predicting such an event, it could "make a recession worse than it would have been had policymakers normalized interest rates more rapidly," he noted.
Wall Street currently expects a more than 30% chance that the Fed will raise rates at its Sept. 20-21 meeting.
The U.S. added 177,000 private-sector jobs in August, higher than estimates of 175,000, according to the ADP National Employment Report. July's private payrolls were revised up to 194,000 from 179,000.
2. -- Shares in Commerzbank (CRZBY) and Deutsche Bank (DB) were rising Wednesday following a report of a potential merger of Germany's two leading lenders.
Weekly news publication Manager Magazin said Deutsche Bank is "moving towards until now unthinkable options with regards to its difficult situation" as CEO John Cryan overhauls the bank.
The publication said Germany's leading lender has attempted to "fathom ....whether a merger with Commerzbank could possibly make sense" and held "theoretical" and "very early stage" considerations about a transaction.
"Whether they will be taken up is unclear," the magazine wrote. "At the same time the idea internally has been given only very restricted chances of being put into action."
Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Monika Schaller declined to comment. However, in separate comments made by Cryan at a European banking summit and first reported by CNBC, the bank's top executive noted that the European banking sector was overbanked and struggling with thin margins.
"Mergers are necessary to allow European banks to compete internationally," he said. But he added that he thought a tie-up with Commerzbank was "not an option at the moment."
3. -- Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google is preparing to expand a San Francisco carpooling program in a move that could that could set up a showdown with Uber, its one-time ally, the Associated Press reported.
The plans will build upon a test service that Google's navigation app Waze launched three months ago in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The program allows anyone using the Waze app to offer a ride to a limited pool of people trying to get to work or home.
Now, only people working at six companies, including Google, Walmart and Adobe Systems, can request rides. The tests have worked well enough to encourage Waze to move into the next phase and allow anyone in the Bay Area with its app to request a ride by the end of this year, spokeswoman Julie Mossler said, the AP reported.
4. -- Theranos withdrew its request for emergency clearance of a Zika-virus blood test after federal regulators found that the company didn't include proper patient safeguards in a study of the new test, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The move is another setback for the company as it tries to recover from regulatory sanctions that followed revelations by the Journal of shortcomings in Theranos's technology and operations. Theranos has said it is appealing.
5. -- Tax preparer H&R Block (HRB) posted a fiscal first-quarter adjusted loss of 55 cents a share, wider than analysts' expectations of a loss of 53 cents.
The stock fell 5.9% in premarket trading on Wednesday.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW) posted an adjusted loss of 50 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, meeting Wall Street expectations, and said it expects profit in the current quarter of 51 cents to 53 cents a share. The stock was down 4.6% in premarket trading.
Earnings are expected Wednesday from Salesforce.com (CRM) .