Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Sept. 4:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to early losses on Wall Street Wednesday as worries intensified that the U.S. could launch an attack on Syria because of its alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians.

European shares were declining, while Asian shares ended Wednesday's trading session mostly to the downside. Japan's Nikkei 225 bucked the trend, closing with a gain of 0.5%.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the MBA Mortgage Index for Aug. 31 at 7 a.m. EDT, and the U.S. trade balance for July at 8:30 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday closed higher as comments from President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Secretary of State John Kerry about a military strike on Syrian government targets created a din of mixed messages, impeding the market's advance.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to close at 1,639.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2% to 14,833.96 while the Nasdaq finished the day up 0.6% to 3,612.61.

4. -- Toyota ( TM) plans to recall 369,000 vehicles worldwide -- 200,000 vehicles for a hybrid-system problem and another 169,000 for an engine bolt defect.

A Toyota spokeswoman said Wednesday there were no accidents related to either recall.

The first recall is for an inverter in the hybrid system for the Lexus RX400 and the Highlander models overseas, and the Harrier and Kluger hybrids in Japan, according to The Associated Press. About 141,000 vehicles are being recalled in the U.S.

The defect could cause an alarm to go off, and the hybrid may stop running, Toyota said.

The second recall involves the Lexus GS350, IS350, Crown and Mark X models, including 106,000 vehicles in North America. The bolts may loosen, causing the engine to stall.

5. -- LinkedIn ( LNKD), the career-networking Web site, said Tuesday it plans a $1 billion stock offering.

LinkedIn said the funds would be used to expand the scope of its products and services as its seeks to engage users beyond landing a new job. Additionally, LinkedIn said proceeds from the offering would be earmarked for international expansion.

LinkedIn shares closed Tuesday at $246.13, up 2.5%, but fell more than 2% in after-hours trading.

6. -- A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a Bank of America ( BAC) lawsuit that alleged former Bear Stearns executives Ralph Cioffi, Matthew Tannin and Raymond McGarrigal misled the bank about the financial health of two funds that eventually collapsed and led to significant losses, The Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan dismissed all claims that were brought by two Bank of America units in 2008. The initial suit alleged Cioffi, Tannin and McGarrigal and Bear Stearns Asset Management concealed from Bank of America that the funds were receiving large withdrawal requests and were in danger of collapse in the spring of 2007. The suit alleged breach of contract and fraud.

7. -- J.C. Penney ( JCP) shares gained 1.9% to $12.72 on Tuesday after Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management revealed in a filing that his firm owns 11.4 million shares, or a 5.2% passive stake, in the troubled retailer.

Separately, Glenview Capital Management said in a filing on Tuesday after the markets closed that it more than doubled its ownership of the retailer's shares. The hedge fund now owns 20.1 million shares, or a 9.1% stake, in J.C. Penney, making Glenview the largest shareholder in J.C. Penney shares.

8. -- Dollar General ( DG) is forecast by analysts on Wednesday to post fiscal second-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share on revenue of $4.36 billion.

9. -- Carl Icahn cut his stake in Hain Celestial Group ( HAIN) by more than half, the natural foods maker said Tuesday.

Hain said certain shareholders, including entities related to Icahn, plan to sell 3.65 million common shares of the company.

Following the sale, Icahn will own about 3.59 million shares in Hain, or 7.5% of the company. The stake is less than half the 15.3% stake Icahn reported in the company as of June 30, according to Reuters.

Hain shares rose 10 cents on Tuesday to $81.88.

10. -- Tax preparer H&R Block ( HRB) posted a wider first-quarter loss on Tuesday as operating expenses rose.

H&R Block posted a loss of $115.2 million, or 42 cents a share, in the quarter, wider than a year-earlier loss of $107.4 million, or 39 cents a share.

Revenue in the quarter jumped 32% to $127.2 million.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Copyright 2013 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.