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Pre-Market Primer: Vodafone to Sell Wireless Stake to Verizon; US GDP Revised Up

By earnings are still ahead today.

Equities are poised to extend yesterday's gains as the imminent intervention in Syria is seen as taking place later and US GDP was revised upward.

The US economy grew at a 2.5% annual pace in the second quarter, up from previous estimates of a 1.7% gain. Initial jobless claims fell by 6,000 last week to 331,000, just a bit higher than economists' expectations.

Fears of an immediate conflict with Syria were eased last night when President Barack Obama told PBS NewsHour that he has not yet made a decision, and that he is wary of dragging the United States into a lengthy, complex war.

US stock futures are lower this morning. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.34% to 14,857 while futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.32% to 1,637.50. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures gained 0.46% to 3,082.50. Prices of other fear-trade assets such as oil, US bonds, and gold eased.

European shares made gains this morning. Germany's unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 6.8% in August, though the number of unemployed rose by 7,000 to 2,943,000. France's Business Climate Indicator rose three points to 98 and Italian consumer confidence rose one point to 98.3 this month.

Vodafone (NYSE:VOD) is officially in discussions with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. The deal could cost Verizon as much as $130 billion.

AMR Corp (OTCMKTS:AAMRQ), the holding company of American Airlines, and US Airways (NYSE:LLC) are open to a deal with the US Department of Justice in which the government would step out of the way of a merger between the two air carriers. If the merger goes forward, it would be the biggest air carrier in the world.

Bloomberg reported that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) opened an internal investigation into its eyebrow-raising hiring of children of influential Chinese decision makers to land deals. An internal spreadsheet at the bank flagged 200 hires for scrutiny.

After the bell today, (NYSE:CRM), the top provider of cloud-based customer relationship software, is expected to post earnings of $0.07 per share, down 36% from $0.11 per share last year. Revenue is expected to rise 28% to $939.2 million.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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