September 17 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Sept. 17:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were trading mixed Wednesday with the Federal Reserve's rates announcement the main focus for investors.

Shares in Europe were higher. Asian stocks ended mixed but shares in China rose after it was reported the central bank injected about $81 billion into the country's banking system.

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2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the Consumer Price Index for August at 8:30 a.m. EDT, the NAHB Housing Market Index for September at 10 a.m., and the interest rates decision from the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday finished on solid footing, popping on the stimulus reports from China. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new intraday high on Tuesday and finished just shy of its record close of 17,138. The index gained 0.59% to settle at 17,131.97 after touching a new intraday high of 17,167.05. The S&P 500 jumped 0.75% to 1,998.98. The Nasdaq advanced 0.75% to 4,552.76.

4. -- Activist investor Trian Fund Management LP launched a campaign to force DuPont (DD)  to break itself up after the chemical giant rebuffed its repeated private calls for change, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Trian, which has a $1.6 billion DuPont stake, plans to seek support from other investors for its push to dismantle the company, according to a letter it sent DuPont's board Tuesday that was reviewed by the Journal. Trian said it plans to release the letter widely after more than a year of unsuccessful private efforts to persuade.

DuPont said it welcomes shareholder communications and has had "constructive dialogue with Trian." It added that it is committed to its plans to cut costs and to "enhance value for all DuPont shareholders," the Journal reported.

5. -- Endo International (ENDP) made an an unsolicited offer for Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) that values Auxilium at $28.10 a share, a 31% premium to Auxilium's closing price on Tuesday of $21.52.

The deal is worth $1.41 billion in cash and stock, based on Auxilium's shares outstanding. Endo values the offer at $2.2 billion, including the assumption of Auxilium's debt.

Endo, based in Dublin, said the two companies have complementary products and added that there are significant opportunities for savings.

Auxilium is struggling with reduced sales of its testosterone gel Testim and said this month that it would cut about 190 jobs, or 30% of its work force, as part of a plan to save $75 million a year.

6. -- Shipping giant FedEx (FDX) is expected by analysts on Wednesday to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.96 a share on revenue of $11.48 billion.

FedEx said on Tuesday it would raise U.S. rates for express, ground and home-delivery shipments in January by an average of 4.9%.

Read More: How FedEx Delivers Long-Term Gains Despite a Pricey Stock

7. -- Sony (SNE) said Wednesday it expects its annual loss to widen to $2 billion and has canceled dividends for the first time in more than half a century after writing down the value of its troubled smartphone business.

Citing intense competition, especially from Chinese rivals, Sony said Wednesday it anticipates a net loss of 230 billion yen ($2.15 billion) for the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2015. Its previous forecast was for a loss of 50 billion yen ($466 million).

The Japanese electronics company plans to cut staff in its mobile communications business by about 15%, or roughly 1,000 people.

8. -- Homebuilder Lennar (LEN)  posted fiscal third-quarter profit of 78 cents a share, up from 54 cents a year earlier.

Revenue rose 26% to $2.01 billion. Lennar said orders in the quarter rose 23%.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $1.96 billion.

9. -- Microsoft (MSFT) raised its quarterly dividend by 11% to 31 cents a share.

The software giant also said it would be replacing two directors when they retire this year.

The two departing directors are Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon. Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group, and Charles W. Scharf, CEO of Visa, have been appointed to the company's board.

10. -- Software maker Adobe Systems (ADBE) posted fiscal third-quarter revenue on Tuesday that was below Wall Street's expectations.

Adobe, known for Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat software, posted earnings of $44.7 million, or 9 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $83 million, or 16 cents a share.

Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 28 cents a share; analysts were expecting 26 cents.

Revenue of $1.01 billion, however, was below forecasts of $1.02 billion.

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-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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