July 30 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, July 30:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were bounding upward on Wednesday morning, as investors set up for another big earnings day.

European stocks were steady, as Barclays (BCS) reported a profit and Bayer (BAYRY) and Airbus (EADSY) also reported. Despite looming sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, European stocks showed little movement.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday is busy, with a deluge of company earnings reports, as well as the conclusion of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Fed's announcement falls on the same day as second-quarter GDP figures are announced.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday were dragged down by concerns over sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukrainian conflict, and on uncertainty over the Fed meeting which concludes today. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) closed down 0.42% to 16,912.11, down from the 17,000 mark it touched in intraday trading. The S&P 500 (SPY) slumped 0.45% to 1,969.95. The Nasdaq (QQQ) sank 0.05% to 4,442.70. 

4. -- Twitter (TWTR) reported last night, and the bulls were delighted. The social media site has pumped up user growth and beat analysts' expectations.

Twitter earned a non-GAAP 2 cents per share on $312 million in revenue. Analysts expected the company to lose 1 cent a share on $283 million in revenue. The company also boasted of 271 million monthly active users, up 24% year-over-year.

Shares popped nearly 26% in premarket trading to $48.72 after a close Tuesday at $38.59.

5. -- The federal National Labor Relations Board said that McDonald's (MCD) is at least partially responsible for its franchise stores, dealing a setback to the hamburger-slinger. The ruling means that the company can be held liable for labor violations, even those committed by its franchisees. Some fast-food workers had complained of unfair labor practices. In the U.S., 90% of McDonald's stores are run by franchisees.

The McDonald's ruling could have larger implications, since it suggests that companies that use subcontractors may not escape liability for actions done by those contractors.

McDonald's said it would contest the ruling. Shares were up 0.15% to $95.96 in premarket trading.

6. -- Amazon (AMZN) is investing $2 billion in its India operation to push back against Flipkart. The "everything store" announced the move just after Flipkart said that it had raised $1 billion from investors. Amazon said that it was on pace to reach $1 billion in gross sales in India. Both companies want a piece of the Indian e-commerce market, which may reach $22 billion by 2018.

Amazon stock was down 0.61% in premarket trading, to $318.04.

7. -- British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) announced a deal to pay $2.1 billion for Spanish drugmaker Almirall's respiratory drug line. AstraZeneca is fresh from a takeover attempt by Pfizer (PFE) in May.

AstraZeneca sees the respiratory drug business as central to its growth. The transaction does face regulatory scrutiny and is scheduled to be completed this year. AstraZeneca plans to pay Almirall via cash and debt. 

8. -- Bio-pharmaceutical company Amgen (AMGN) is cutting 15% of its U.S. workforce and will close two manufacturing plants in Washington and Colorado. The cuts are an attempt to save $700 million a year. Between 2,400 and 2,900 employees will be fired.

The move was announced yesterday in an investor conference call by the Amgen board. The strong quarter and the layoffs pushed Amgen stock up 3.5% to $127.64 in premarket trading. 

9. -- Japanese carmaker Honda (HMC) announced that it had set an all-time monthly record for auto production in Asia. Honda's Fit was the second-best-selling car in the industry.

Honda's ADR floated up 2.4% to $36.02 in premarket trading. 

10. -- UBS (UBS) and Deutsche Bank (DB) face more scrutiny about "dark pools," proprietary trading systems that are now attracting legal scrutiny. UBS said that it is in talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York attorney general and Swiss regulators. Barclays (BCS) is already under investigation for its own "dark pools."

To submit a news tip, send an email to:tips@thestreet.com

Nora Morrison is a researcher, writer and editor on music, popular culture, and business topics. She is an associate editor at TheStreet, and is on Twitter at No Ticker.

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