Aug. 7 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Aug. 7: 

1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Thursday ahead of a meeting of the European Central Bank while investors kept a wary eye on tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia on Thursday banned most food imports from the West in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine.

European stocks fell as investors digested weaker-than-expected German industrial production and another spate of corporate earnings.

Asian shares ended mixed.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and consumer credit for June at 3 p.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday settled near the flat line Wednesday, with the S&P 500 finishing above its 100-day moving average and fueling hopes of another near-term pop.

The broad-based index had been flirting with the widely watched 1910 support level all day after investors were faced with negative geopolitical and economic news and speculation of an earlier-than-expected interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.08% to 16,443.34. The S&P 500 finished flat at 1,920.24. The Nasdaq gained 0.05% to 4,355.05.

4. -- Bank of America (BAC) and the Justice Department are finalizing a deal in which the bank will pay $16 billion to $17 billion to resolve allegations of mortgage-related misconduct in the run-up to the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The bank has agreed to pay roughly $9 billion in cash to the federal government, states and other government entities, the people told the Journal, as part of an overall pact that could be completed this month. Additional money would be aimed at consumer relief, such as reducing mortgage balances for struggling homeowners.

If finalized, the agreement would set a record for fines and damages in a civil settlement between the U.S. government and a company, the Journal noted. It would top the $13 billion deal struck between the Justice Department and JPMorgan Chase  (JPM).

5. -- 21st Century Fox (FOXA) reported on Wednesday better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings a day after it called off its pursuit of rival media giant Time Warner (TWX).

Fox executives said the company wouldn't try to buy any other big content companies.

Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said on a conference call with analysts that "we have no plans to pursue any other third-party content company as an alternative to Time Warner."

6. -- Google (GOOG) will reward Web sites that are more secure, giving bonus points in its ranking algorithm to Web pages that are encrypted.

Google hopes the move will prod Web site developers to adopt technology that protects against hackers breaking into their Web sites and stealing users' information, the Journal reported.

"We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future," Google said in a blog post. The move is among the latest steps Google has taken to make the Web more secure, efforts it has accelerated in the wake of disclosures about Internet snooping by the National Security Agency, according to the Journal.

7. -- Mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO) said underlying profit in the first half of 2014 rose 21% as it benefited from rising production or iron ore.

Underlying profit in the latest six months rose to $5.1 billion from $4.2 billion a year earlier, Rio Tinto said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected profit of $4.5 billion.

8. -- Zynga (ZNGA), the games maker, is expected by analysts on Thursday to report second-quarter break-even earnings on sales of $191.2 million.

9. -- CBS (CBS) is forecast to report second-quarter profit of 71 cents a share on revenue of $3.24 billion.

10. -- Kellogg (K) hired an adviser to evaluate a bid for cookies and snacks maker United Biscuits, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Kellogg is in the early stages of exploring a bid for the U.K.-based company, the person told Reuters, and hasn't decided if it will move forward with an offer.

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