Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Aug. 7:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a weaker start for Wall Street on Wednesday on increased speculation the Federal Reserve could begin reducing its monthly $85 billion in asset purchases next month.

European stocks were trading lower. Asian shares ended Wednesday's trading sessions with losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 index plunged 4% on a rise in the yen.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the MBA Mortgage Index for Aug. 3 at 7 a.m. EDT and consumer credit for June at 3 p.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday fell the most in a month.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.6% to close at 1,697.37 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also declined 0.6% to 15,518.74. The Nasdaq lost 0.7% to 3,665.77.

4. -- The Justice Department sued Bank of America ( BAC) on Tuesday, alleging the bank made "false and misleading statements" in connection with the sale of $850 million in mortgage-backed securities in February 2008.

"Bank of America's reckless and fraudulent origination and securitization practices in the lead-up to the financial crisis caused significant losses to investors," U.S. attorney Anne Tompkins said in a press release.

According to the civil complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C., where Bank of America is headquartered, Bank of America defrauded five institutional investors, including the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and Wachovia Bank, which along with its parent company was acquired by Wells Fargo ( WFC) in December 2008.

Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson expressed confidence the bank would win in court, saying in an email exchange: "These were prime mortgages sold to sophisticated investors who had ample access to the underlying data and we will demonstrate that. The loans in this pool performed better than loans with similar characteristics originated and securitized at the same time by other financial institutions. We are not responsible for the housing market collapse that caused mortgage loans to default at unprecedented rates and these securities to lose value as a result."

5. -- Walt Disney ( DIS) posted fiscal-third quarter earnings on Tuesday of $1.85 billion, or $1.01 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $1.83 billion, or $1.01 a share. Adjusted earnings in the latest quarter were $1.03 a share, which beat Wall Street's expectations.

Third-quarter revenue rose 4% to $11.6 billion as the company's parks and resorts business saw a 7% hike in revenue and cable networks revenue rose 8%, thanks to growth at ESPN and other networks.

Disney said it expects to incur a fourth-quarter loss of $160 million to $190 million on "The Lone Ranger."

6. -- IBM ( IBM) plans to furlough the majority of its U.S. employees in its hardware unit, according to several reports. The employees will be required to take a week off at one-third pay beginning either Aug. 24 or Aug. 31.

IBM said last month that revenue at its systems and technology business, which includes hardware, fell 12%. It was the seventh straight quarter of year-over-year revenue decline for the business, according to MarketWatch.

IBM shares fell 2.1% to $191.40 on Tuesday after a downgrade from Credit Suisse.

7. -- 21st Century Fox ( FOXA) posted on Tuesday an operating profit increase of 64% as the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch reported its first earnings since spinning off its publishing businesses.

The bump in profits came from Fox's cable-TV channels which helped to offset a decline at the company's film division, slowed in part by the disastrous showing of "The Internship."

8. -- Media giant Time Warner ( TWX) is expected by analysts on Wednesday to post second-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share on revenue of $7.11 billion.

9. -- AOL ( AOL), the Internet company, is forecast to report second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of almost $540 million.

10. -- Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT) is considering making a bid for ParknShop, the Hong Kong supermarket business being sold by a company controlled by Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

ParknShop is valued at as much as $4 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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