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BlackBerry open to going private. BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO Thorsten Heins and the company's board are "increasingly coming around to the idea that taking the company private would give them breathing room to fix its problems," Reuters reports. However, BlackBerry "has not launched any kind of a sale process," while obtaining financing could be tough. Still, Michael Dell must be smiling.

China economic data adds to positive picture. A bit of a data dump from China today has added to the impression that the country's economy is stabilizing. Chinese industrial production rose 9.7% on year in July vs +8.9% in June and topped consensus of 9%, while retail sales and urban investment were decent. Meanwhile, inflation stayed tame at 2.7%, which Merrill Lynch says provides room for a mini fiscal stimulus. One concern, though, is that the manufacturing sector remains mired in deflation, with PPI falling 2.3% on month.

America Movil launches bid to buy rest of KPN. America Movil (NYSE:AMX), which owns 29.8% of KPN (OTC:KKPNF), is launching a bid to acquire the rest of the Dutch telecom carrier for €2.40 a share, or a 20% premium to yesterday's closing price. The offer values the 70.2% stake that America Movil doesn't own at €7.2B. The proposal comes after the Mexican company last month terminated an agreement to keep its stake in KPN to under 30% after the latter agreed to sell its German unit E-Plus to Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) for €8.1B.

Top Stock News
Apple board presses Cook on innovation - Fox. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) board members are pressuring Tim Cook over the company's "pace of innovation," Fox Business reports, with a shortage of groundbreaking new products "manifesting into pressure on Tim Cook to basically innovate, do something fast." However, "this doesn’t mean that Tim Cook is out of a job." The report comes amid Apple's falling market share and calls for cheaper and bigger iPhones, as well as speculation about an iWatch.

Sitt submits 2nd offer for Empire State Building. New York property magnate Joseph Sitt has submitted a second round of bids to acquire the Empire State Building (ESB), although there's no word on the price. Sitt's Thor Equities has offered to buy Empire State Building Associates, which owns the land and has the master lease on the tower, and to purchase the Helmsley Trust's 63.8% interest in the skyscraper. The building has two other suitors, while a process is underway to take it public as part of a REIT.

Apple seeks Samsung ban in court, ITC cases. Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) are due to face each other today in a federal appeals court and at the International Trade Commission, with both cases about breaches - or alleged breaches - of Apple patents. Either case could lead to orders banning the sale of Samsung's devices in the U.S. However, given that the White House last week overturned a prohibition on certain Apple products, any ban on Samsung may not be implemented.

DOJ advances inquiry into JPMorgan over Bear Stearns bonds. The Department of Justice has reportedly stepped up an investigation into the pre-crisis mortgage activities of Bear Stearns, which was bought by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) in 2008, with the DOJ taking sworn testimony from at least three people. Meanwhile, the SEC apparently wants JPMorgan to admit to wrongful conduct in the London whale trading blunder as part of any resolution of its investigation - a departure from typical settlements, which allow firms neither to admit nor deny wrongdoing.

Lawsuits against Goldman over aluminum activities piling up. A steel-railings manufacturer from Texas called Viva Railings and a scrap-metal dealer from Michigan called Regal Recycling have joined up to sue Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) in New York for allegedly artificially boosting the price of aluminum by hoarding the metal in its warehouses. The case adds to a lawsuit in Florida against Goldman, J.P. Morgan (JPM), the London Metal Exchange and Glencore Xstrata (OTCPK:GLCNF), and one against Goldman and the LME in Michigan. The CFTC and the Department of Justice are also looking into the allegations.

Top Economic & Other News
Japanese debt tops ¥1 quadrillion. Japan's national debt has passed ¥1 quadrillion for the first time, increasing 1.7% on quarter in Q2 to ¥1,008.6T ($10.46T). That's more than twice the size of Japan's GDP, and larger than the combined economies of Germany, France and the U.K. The rise in debt comes as Japan debates whether to increase sales tax to 8% in April from 5% and then to 10% in 2015 in an attempt to shore up its finances - a bit.

French industrial output in surprise fall. French industrial production dropped 1.4% on month in June vs -0.3% in May and missed consensus of +0.1%. The surprising decline contrasts with the government's recent upbeat tone about the economy, with President Francois Hollande last month saying that the "recovery is here." Still, it's worth noting that Q2 output rose 1.4% on quarter and 0.2% on year.

Alpha-Rich Stock Movers and Great Calls
1) Saidal Mohmand argued on Wednesday that Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) was a strong assets play on the verge of a turnaround. The stock is +5.9% since. Read article »
2) On June 13, Stephen Lin said that Ellie Mae's (NYSE:ELLI) dominant position could mean 45% upside. Shares are +30.7% since. Read article »

Alpha-Rich Stocks To Watch
1) LRAD Corporation (NASDAQ:LRAD) has earned a boatload of new business and a boost from a successful activist campaign. Read article »
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Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan +0.1% to 13615. Hong Kong +0.7% to 21808. China +0.4% to 2052. India +0.7% to 18,789.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.35%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude +1.1% to $104.56. Gold +0.05% to $1310.50.

Today's economic calendar:
10:00 Wholesale Trade

Notable earnings before today's open: ABFS, DRH, EBIX, EGY, EVEP, HNR, JRCC, MEA, MGA, MHR, NRG, PGNX, TPC, VTG, WWAV

Notable earnings after today's close: ZOLT

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Source: Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News