Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Aug. 23:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were wavering Thursday ahead of data on house sales and after most Asian shares finished with gains.

European stocks were moving slightly lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 2.2%.


2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes new-home sales at 10 a.m. EDT.


3. -- U.S. stocks closed in positive territory Thursday during a session interrupted by a three-hour halt in trading on the Nasdaq due to a technical glitch.

The Nasdaq added 1.08% to 3,638.71, after trades came back online at 3:25 p.m. The S&P 500 rose 0.86% to 1,656.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.44% to 14,963.74.


4. -- Nasdaq OMX Group ( NDAQ) halted all trading just after noon on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday for three hours, blaming technical problems that were interfering with the dissemination of stock price quotes.

The outage was one of the longest shutdowns of the Nasdaq since a stray squirrel in December 1987 triggered an 82-minute power failure of the exchange.

The problem was fixed in just 30 minutes, but after speaking with banks, brokers, investment companies and rival exchanges, Nasdaq waited another two-and-a-half hours before switching the exchange back on to ensure that the restoration of trading would be orderly, Reuters reported.

"We had to make sure all the exchanges were connected to us successfully and if the firms on the outside could get in," one Nasdaq official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.


5. -- Pandora ( P ) posted record revenue in its fiscal second quarter but on Thursday issued weak third-quarter and full-year earnings guidance.

The Internet radio giant earned 4 cents a share on record non-GAAP revenue of $162 million in thel second quarter, a 58% year-over-year increase. Analysts were looking for the company to earn 2 cents a share on revenue of $156.22 million. Pandora logged 3.88 billion hours of listening, an 18% hike from the same period last year. Its share of total U.S. radio listening grew to 7.08% from 6.02% in the prior year's quarter. Pandora said non-GAAP total mobile revenue grew 92% from last year to $116 million.

For the third quarter, Pandora expects revenue between $174 million and $179 million and earnings between 3 cents and 6 cent a share. Analysts were expecting sales of $170.45 million and earnings of 7 cents a share.


6. -- Activist investor Carl Icahn, in a tweet on Thursday, said he is planning to meet Apple ( AAPL) CEO Tim Cook over dinner next month to discuss the size of Apple's buyback program.

"Spoke to Tim. Planning dinner in September. Tim believes in buyback and is doing one. What will be discussed is magnitude," Icahn tweeted.

Icahn revealed last week he had taken a large position in Apple and was pushing for the iPhone maker to expand its repurchase of shares.


7. -- Moody's Investor Service said Thursday said it was reviewing whether it will continue to assume the U.S. government will bail out the nation's largest banks when setting its bond ratings.

As a result, the agency said it could cut bond ratings for four of the nation's largest banks, and is uncertain whether other firms will also face the prospect of downgrades.

The review comes nearly five years after the U.S. Treasury injected capital into Wall Street's largest banks, all of which was later repaid, with interest. The action by Moody's could lead to ratings downgrades for Goldman Sachs ( GS), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Morgan Stanley ( MS) and Wells Fargo ( WFC).


8. -- Gap ( GPS) said Thursday that second-quarter profit jumped 25% from a year earlier, leading the retailer to boost its annual dividend and earnings guidance for the year.

Gap said net income rose 24.7% from the year-earlier quarter, to $303 million, or 64 cents a share, meeting Wall Street's earnings estimates.

Sales rose 8% to $3.87 billion, which the company attributed to positive customer response to its merchandise assortments; sales were slightly ahead of analysts' estimates of 7% growth to $3.83 billion.

Gap boosted its annual dividend by 20 cents to 80 cents a share and raised full-year earnings guidance to a range of $2.57 to $2.65 a share.


9. -- American Airlines ( AAMRQ)and US Airways ( LCC) want a trial in the government's lawsuit against their proposed merger to start in November, three months sooner than the date picked by federal officials.

The airlines estimated that the trial would last 10 days, meaning that even if they win, the merger won't close until late this year.


10. -- Foot Locker ( FL) is expected by Wall Street on Friday to post fiscal second-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share on revenue of $1.45 billion.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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

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Copyright 2013 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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