Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Sept. 25:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a flat start for Wall Street on Wednesday as global stocks declined amid political gridlock in Washington over the federal budget.

European stocks were moving lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.8% to close at 14,620.53. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5% to finish at 1,998.06.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes durable goods orders for August at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and new-home sales for August at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday fell as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average declined for a fourth consecutive day driven by uncertainties about the course of the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program.

The S&P 500 declined 0.26% to 1,697.42. The Dow shed 0.43% to 15,334.59. The Nasdaq edged up 0.08% to close at 3,768.25.

4. -- Tea party conservative Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday vowed to speak in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law until he's "no longer able to stand," even though fellow Republicans urged him to back down from his filibuster for fear of a possible government shutdown in a week.

"This grand experiment is simply not working," the Texas freshman told a largely empty chamber of the president's signature domestic issue. "It is time to make D.C. listen."

Egged on by conservative groups, the potential 2016 presidential candidate excoriated Republicans and Democrats in his criticism of the 3-year-old health care law and Congress' unwillingness to gut the law. Cruz supports the House-passed bill that would avert a government shutdown and defund Obamacare, as do many Republicans.

Cruz started talking just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday. By 5 a.m. Wednesday, he had been speaking for more than 14 hours.

5. -- JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) has offered to pay about $3 billion as it seeks to settle criminal and civil investigations by federal and state prosecutors into its mortgage-backed-securities activities, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the discussions.

The Justice Department rejected that sum as billions of dollars too low for the number of cases involved, according to the person. But the discussions have widened to include other investigations of JPMorgan, and the final tally could be larger, the person told the Journal.

JPMorgan faces at least seven Justice Department probes, on matters ranging from energy trading to its hiring practices in China.

6. -- Amazon ( AMZN) plans to unveil Wednesday two new versions of its tablets -- the Kindle Fire HDX -- with 7-inch and 8.9-inch screens.

The 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions have sharper, more colorful displays than older models, and both have more pixels per inch than the latest iPad, according to The Associated Press.

The new Kindles also come with a feature called "Mayday", which allows users to summon a live customer service representative in a tiny video window.

7. -- Tokyo Electron shares jumped more than 13% in trading in Asia Wednesday after reaching an agreement to be acquired by chipmaker Applied Materials ( AMAT) in a $9.39 billion all-stock transaction.

8. -- Bed Bath & Beyond ( BBBY) is expected by analysts on Wednesday to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.15 a share on revenue of $2.81 billion.

9. -- AutoZone ( AZO) is forecast to post fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday of $10.34 a share on revenue of $3.09 billion.

10. -- Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, has decided to pursue an initial public offering in New York after talks with Hong Kong regulators broke down over a listing there, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

The share sale may be worth more than $15 billion, according to Reuters.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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