Aug. 21 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Aug. 21:

1. -- U.S. stock futures rose and European stocks gained early Thursday but Asian shares ended mixed after a weak China manufacturing survey.

U.S. investors will turn their attention to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her speech on Friday at an annual conference of central bankers and other policymakers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., following minutes from the Fed meeting in July that hinted at a more hawkish central bank.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, existing home sales for July at 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed Index for August at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for July at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday ended mostly higher despite a more hawkish tone from the Federal Reserve in the minutes of its last policy-making meeting in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.35% to close at 16,979.13. The S&P 500 rose 0.25% to 1,986.51. The Nasdaq slipped 0.02% to 4,526.48.

4. -- Bank of America's (BAC)  much-anticipated settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over fraudulent mortgage securities the bank sold to investors is less punitive than the $17 billion price tag suggests and doesn't address the wrongs it purports to remedy.

According to the Associated Press, the settlement could be announced as soon as Thursday. As was the case with a $13 billion JPMorgan Chase (JPM)  settlement in November and a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup (C)  last month, the Bank of America settlement will include a multibillion non-cash component.

While the $10 billion cash figure being reported by the AP service is higher than the $9 billion that sources described to TheStreet earlier this month, it nonetheless would give the bank $7 billion credit for modifying mortgages that may already have been in its best interest to modify.

5. -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reported a 29% decline in fiscal third-quarter earnings as the personal computer and printer maker absorbed the costs of employee layoffs and acquisitions.

HP earned $985 million, or 52 cents a share, for the quarter ended in July, down from year-earlier earnings of $1.4 billion, or 71 cents a share.

Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 89 cents a share, matching analysts' estimates.

Revenue in the quarter was $27.6 billion, up 1% from a year earlier and ahead of Wall Street estimates.

6. -- Activist investor Carl Icahn has taken a stake of more than 8% in Hertz Global Holdings  (HTZ)  and may seek representation on the rental car company's board, as it works to resolve accounting restatements, missed earnings and a delayed spinoff of its equipment rental business.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Icahn acquired more than 6.5 million Hertz shares on Wednesday.

Hertz disclosed on Tuesday that it wouldn't be able to meet the low-end of its earnings guidance and had decided to scrap future guidance outright. The company also disclosed continued delays to its accounting restatements and its planned spinoff of its equipment rental business. Two board directors resigned on Tuesday.

7. -- United Parcel Service (UPS) said some customers of The UPS Store may have had their credit and debit card information exposed by a computer virus found on systems at 51 stores in 24 states.

A spokeswoman for the shipping giant said the information includes names, card numbers and postal and email addresses from about 100,000 transactions between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11.

UPS said it was among U.S. retailers who received a Department of Homeland Security bulletin about the malware on July 31. The malware isn't identified by current anti-virus software, according to the Associated Press.

The company isn't aware of any fraud related to the attack, spokeswoman Chelsea Lee said.

8. -- Dollar Tree (DLTR) , which is in a bidding war with Dollar General (DG) for discount retailer Family Dollar (FDO) , is expected by analysts on Thursday to report quarterly earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $2.01 billion.

9. -- Russian news agencies were reporting that the country's food safety agency will conduct checks on McDonald's (MCD) restaurants in the Urals after safety complaints, a day after four branches of the chain were shuttered in Moscow.

But analysts told The Wall Street Journal that the move was more likely the latest shot by Russia in response to U.S. and European sanctions over Moscow's role in the armed conflict with its former Soviet neighbor, Ukraine.

10. -- Wall Street expects Hormel Foods HRL, which which makes SPAM lunch meat, to report on Thursday fiscal third-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share.

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Copyright 2014 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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