Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Aug. 8:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were suggesting a flat start to Wall Street on Thursday despite improved trade figures from China.

European stocks also were mostly unchanged, while Asian shares finished Thursday's session with gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4% and China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% after China's imports rose 5.9% in July and exports increased 10.9%, topping expectations.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday fell, continuing a modest pullback amid speculation the Federal Reserve may finally begin winding down its $85 billion-a-month bond-purchasing program as early as next month.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 1,690.91 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3% to 15,470.67. The Nasdaq declined 0.3% to 3,654.01.

4. -- Tesla Motors ( TSLA) posted quarterly earnings on Wednesday that blew past Wall Street's expectations.

The electric car maker earned 5 cents a share in the second quarter on revenue of $405 million, as global deliveries of the Model S surged to 5,150 units for the quarter. Gross margin for the quarter was 22%, despite a reduction in ZEV credits, something investors had been worried about.

Analysts had expected Tesla to post a quarterly loss of 17 cents a share on revenue of $383.4 million.

For the third quarter, Tesla said it expects to deliver slightly more than 5,000 cars as the company expands into Europe, and remains on track to deliver 21,000 Model S units during the year. The company said it expects non-GAAP gross margins to be "in the low 20% range, with continuing improvements in Model S vehicle margin, offset by significantly lower ZEV credit revenue."

5. -- Groupon ( GRPN), the daily deals site, reported better-than-forecast quarterly earnings and strong mobile purchasing among its North American users.

Groupon reported adjusted earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $608.7 million, as its top-line slightly beat Wall Street consensus estimates.

The company also said its board named Eric Leftofsky as CEO and Ted Leonsis as chairman, firming up the company's leadership ranks after the firing of founder Andrew Mason earlier this year.

6. -- The Sulzberger family, which owns the New York Times ( NYT), said Wednesday in an email to its staff that the newspaper wasn't for sale.

"Will our family seek to sell The Times? The answer to that is no. The Times is not for sale, and the trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family are united in our commitment to work together with the company's board, senior management and employees to lead The New York Times forward into our global and digital future," wrote New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Vice Chairman Michael Golden in the email.

The statement follows recent announcements of the sales of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post newspapers.

7. -- T-Mobile US ( TMUS), the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, said Thursday it added 1.1 million customers, including 685,000 contract customers, in the second quarter.

The carrier, which is 74%-owned by Deutsche Telekom and merged with MetroPCS in April, lost 557,000 subscribers a year earlier.

T-Mobile was helped in the second quarter by its launch of Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone.

8. -- Costco ( COST), the warehouse retailer, said same-store sales for August rose 4%; analysts were expecting sales for the four weeks ended Aug. 4 to rise 5.1%.

9. -- Hilton Worldwide has chosen four banks as the main underwriters for its widely expected initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Hilton, taken private by Blackstone Group ( BX) in 2007, hired Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to underwrite the offering, the Journal reported.

10. -- Movie studio Lions Gate Entertainment ( LGF) is expected by analysts on Thursday to post fiscal first-quarter earnings of 9 cents a share.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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