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Here are five things you must know for Monday, July 31:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Monday, July 31, and European shares traded higher following a record closing high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to end last week and ahead of a busy week for earnings reports, including a report from tech giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
The Dow finished Friday at 21,830, a record for its third day in a row. But disappointing earnings from Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report and Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) - Get Report wiped out any chance of gains on Friday for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Asian stocks ended Monday's session mixed amid rising tensions in the region following the second launch of a long-range missile by North Korea within a month late on Friday.
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Global oil prices hit two-month highs on Monday as investors added the costs of potential sanctions on Venezuela after the country's violent constitutional elections over the weekend.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday includes Chicago PMI for July at 9:45 a.m. ET, and Pending Home Sales for June at 10 a.m.
The statement from Charter, the cable giant, follows a report by the Journal last week that Sprint Chairman Masatoshi Son had been in talks with both Charter and Comcast Corp. about possible business combinations but was pushing for an outright merger with Charter. Bloomberg also reported Friday that Charter was cool on the proposal but that talks were continuing.
The complex proposal called for the creation of a new publicly traded entity that would combine Sprint and Charter and be controlled by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. (SFTBY) , people familiar with the matter had told the Journal. SoftBank, whose chairman is also Son, already controls Sprint.
3. -- A quartet of well-known activist investors, including Third Point LLC and Trian Fund Management LP, has lined up to challenge the plans taking shape to break apart the $150 billion chemicals giant that will be created by merging Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) - Get Report and DuPont (DD) - Get Report , according to reports.
The merger is expected to be closed next month.
The investors' unrest could spur an unprecedented attack on Andrew Liveris, who has led Dow Chemical for 13 years and whom the activists view as a roadblock, Fox Business reported. An escalating dispute could further complicate the task of splitting up DowDuPont within the 18-month timeline set by executives.
The investors are concerned that the final plan won't deviate much from the original one outlined when the deal was announced in December 2015. Fox Business said their main complaint is that the materials company expected to emerge from the breakup, the new version of Dow Chemical, looks too much like the current Dow and needs to shrink.
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4. -- HSBC Group PLC (HSBC) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected first-half earnings and launched an additional $2 billion share buyback program as Europe's biggest bank continues to see firmer growth in Asian markets.
HSBC said pretax profit for the first six months of the year wast $10.2 billion, up 5.15% from the same period last year. Revenue for the first half was $26.2 billion, down 11% from last year "primarily due to currency translation differences, the absence of fair value movements on our own debt and revenue from the operations in Brazil that we sold," HSBC said.
The bank also said it would add a further $2 billion to its existing share buyback program, taking it to $5.5 billion since the second half of 2016.
American depositary receipts of HSBC were rising 1.1% in premarket trading on Monday.
5. -- Shares of AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) - Get Report rose 0.3% in premarket trading on Monday after a key lung cancer drug won a so-called breakthrough designation from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration just days after it failed a crucial clinical trial.
The U.K. drugmaker said its Imfinzi (durvalumab) oncology drug, which treats locally advanced, unresectable non-small cell lung cancer, won the designation after a successful phase III trial, announced in May, in which Imfinzi showed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in survival. The move means Imfinzi will now benefit from being fast-tracked through the FDA's development and review procedures.
Updated from 6:07 a.m. ET
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