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Apple Backs Down, Sacklers Back Out, New York Gets Soaked - 5 Things You Must Know Thursday

Stock futures higher as investors eye Friday's crucial jobs report; Apple backs down on app payments, Judge agrees Purdue Pharma bankruptcy terms; Google could face DoJ antitrust probe into digital advertising; New York wakes up to flood damage from Tropical Storm Ida.

Here are five things you must know for Thursday, September 2:

1. -- Global Stocks Push To Fresh Record Highs

U.S. equity futures traded higher again Thursday, with the Nasdaq set to open at a fresh all-time high, as investors continued to add risk to portfolios ahead of Friday's crucial jobs report. 

The MSCI World index printed a fresh record high Thursday, as well, as stocks in Asia and Europe booked modest gains in the opening September sessions, even as data continues to suggest factory activity is easing amid COVID-lead disruptions to global supply chains.

On Wall Street, investors will look to this week's jobless claims data for further clues as to the pace of hiring in August, which was also hit by the rise in Delta-variant infections in the south and southwest, following a weaker-than-expected reading of private payroll growth yesterday from ADP.

Wall Street futures suggest a modestly firmer open to start the trading day, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Averaging indicating a 65 point advance and those linked to the S&P 500, which is up 20.5% for the year, priced for an 8 point bump. Nasdaq Composite futures are looking at another intra-day record high with futures indicating a 35 point opening bell gain.

2. -- Apple Backs Down On App Payments

Apple agreed to a potentially significant concession with its app developers late Wednesday as its move to address a series of antitrust accusations from companies and governments around the world.

Apple resolved a long-running dispute with authorities in Japan by allowing apps that offer e-books, video and music to provide links that lead customers to non-Apple websites for payments, a move that would forego the usual 30% charge Apple collects for allowing the apps on its operating system - and its installed based of 1.4 billion users.

The changes, set to take effect next year, won't apply to gaming apps, and still faces a potentially damaging antitrust lawsuit from Fortnite creator Epic Games.

Apple shares were marked 0.45% higher in pre-market trading Thursday to indicate an opening bell price of $153.20 each.

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3. --  Purdue Bankruptcy Shields Sackler Family

A U.S. bankruptcy court approved a plan for disgraced drugmaker Purdue Pharma Wednesday that will effectively shield the bulk of the Sacker family's multi-billion dollar fortune.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain agreed to a wind-up of Purdue that includes a $4.5 billion payment for the company's role in the nation's opioid crisis, and completely exit their holdings in the group, in exchange for lifetime immunity from any civil liability claims brought against the OxyContin maker. The family's collective wealth has been estimated as high as $15 billion.

"We look forward to this resolution taking effect and providing resources to be used to the fullest extent possible to help people and communities in need," the Sacker family said in a statement. "As is widely documented, the causes of addiction are many and multi-faceted and defy easy answers. It will take a comprehensive, society-wide response to address this challenge."  

4. -- Google Facing Reported Antitrust Probe

 The U.S. Department of Justice could be ready to file a major antitrust claim against Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report before the end of the year, Bloomberg reported late Wednesday.

The case, which is linked to Google's globally-dominant digital advertising business, would following similar allegations levied in 2019 by a collection of state attorneys general that included charges Google worked with social media giant Facebook FB to manipulate online advertising auctions.

Google's advertising sales comprise the bulk of Alphabet's overall revenues, with the division generating a topline of $147 billion last year, a figure that represents a near 30% share of the global market. 

 Google shares, which hit an all-time intraday high of $2,925.08 yesterday, were marked 0.3% lower in pre-market trading Thursday and slated to open at $2,895.00 each. 

5. -- New York Ravaged By Ida, State of Emergency Declared After Flooding

The Governors of both New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency late Wednesday after Tropical Storm Ida lashed the metropolitan region with torrential rains and tornado-like winds that are linked to at least nine deaths.

New York suspended nearly all of its subway network last night, while non-emergency vehicles were banned from city streets until 5am Eastern time, amid flash floods triggered by more than 7.1 inches of rain, the biggest single-day total on record, with alerts now in place for eastern New England and the greater Boston area.

"Please stay off the streets tonight and let our first responders and emergency services get their work done. If you're thinking of going outside, don't," New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said last night on his verified Twitter account. "Stay off the subways. Stay off the roads. Don't drive into these heavy waters. Stay inside", he wrote on Twitter."