Aug. 8 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Aug. 8: 

1. -- U.S. stock futures were lower Friday as jitters over the crises in Iraq and Ukraine escalated.

President Obama authorized emergency assistance missions and U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, warning they would be launched to defend American troops and civilians under siege from Islamic State militants. 

European stocks declined as the prospect of the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, renewed violence in Gaza and a steady increase in tension in Ukraine dented the mood.

Asian stocks finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei declined fell 3% while shares in China rose following China's surprisingly strong export growth in July.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday includes preliminary productivity data for the second quarter at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and wholesale inventories for June at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday declined as strong employment indicators were overshadowed by a Russian strike against Western sanctions.

The S&P 500 fell 0.56% to 1,909.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.46% to 16,368.27. The Nasdaq fell 0.46% to 4,334.97. 

4. -- Sen. Carl Levin is wrapping up a nearly two year-long probe that could potentially reveal abuses in energy and metals markets, according to Reuters.

Levin's investigators have met with representatives from Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in recent weeks, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Executives from those companies may appear at a hearing as early as September, during which Levin's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations would present the findings of the probe, the sources said.

Specifically, Senate investigators have explored whether Wall Street has abused its commodities holdings at the expense of clients, consumers, the environment or the health of the market, according to the people familiar with the probe, Reuters reported.

5. -- Lululemon Athletica (LULU) founder Dennis "Chip" Wilson said he was selling half of his stock to private-equity firm Advent International.

Wilson owns about 40.2 million common shares of the yoga apparel maker, which represents roughly 27.7% of the outstanding shares. He is selling 20.1 million shares, or 13.85% of the company's shares, to Advent for a total of $845 million.

Wilson had lashed out at Lululemon's board in June, raising the possibility of an attempt to oust some directors or a hostile takeover.

Advent will get two seats on the company's board, bringing back two investors who had previously been directors at the Lululemon. They are: David Mussafer, Advent's managing partner and Steven Collins, Advent's managing director.

6. -- The Food and Drug Administration eased safety restrictions on an experimental drug to treat Ebola, a move that could clear the way for its use in patients infected with the deadly virus.

Canadian drugmaker Tekmira Pharmaceuticals said the FDA modified a hold recently placed on the drug after safety issues emerged in human testing.

The company has a $140 million contract with the U.S. government to develop its drug, TKM-Ebola, which targets the genetic material of Ebola. But last month the FDA halted a small study of the injection in adults to request additional safety information.

Tekmira said Thursday the FDA "verbally confirmed" changes to the hold that may allow the company to make the drug available, although it has yet to be proven as safe and effective.

7. -- Online game maker Zynga (ZNGA) reported on Thursday a wider second-quarter loss and its revenue forecast fell short of analysts' estimates.

Zynga, the maker of "Farmville," posted a loss of $62.5 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $15.8 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were breakeven on a per-share basis, meeting forecasts. 

For the third quarter, Zynga expects adjusted earnings of break-even to 1 cent to a share on revenue of $160 million to $170 million. Analysts forecast earnings of 1 cent a share on revenue of $214.7 million.

8. -- CBS (CBS) reported second-quarter earnings of $439 million, or 76 cents a share, from $472 million, or 76 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Earnings on an adjusted basis were 78 cents a share, which topped analysts' forecasts by 6 cents.

9. -- Auction house Sotheby's (BID) is expected by analysts on Friday to report second-quarter earnings of $1.43 a share on revenue of $346 million.

10.
 -- Malaysia Airlines will be taken private and the airline will be overhauled following two air disasters that killed 537 people.

Malaysia's state investment firm, Khazanah Nasional, which owns a a controlling stake in the airline, said it is in the final stages of completing its full restructuring proposal for the airline.

Malaysia Airlines needs to cut costs to stem the red ink that amounted to 1.3 billion ringgit ($405 million) in losses last year.

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