Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are set to open higher bouncing back from the underwhelming response to Apple’s new product event Wednesday. More weak data from China have encouraged hopes that the Federal Reserve won’t hike interest rates in September, although many in the market are now arguing it would be better for sentiment to get the first rate hike in nine years over and done with. Crude oil futures are struggling below $45 a barrel in anticipation of more evidence of ample U.S. inventories.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Roger Parloff and it is an in-depth look at the incredible story behind billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman’s years-long quest to take down nutrition and supplements company Herbalife (HLF).
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Weekly jobless claims
In its latest report on weekly jobless claims, U.S. Labor Department is expected to reveal a decrease in the number of Americas who filed new applications for unemployment benefits last week. The number of new claims filed has remained below 300,000 — the benchmark typically associated with an improving employment landscape — for more than 20 straight weeks.
2. Russian troops join the combat in Syria
Russian troops have begun participating in military operations in Syria, in support of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to Reuters sources in Lebanon. The move adds another dimension to the bitter four year-old conflict that is the main source of the refugee crisis overwhelming Europe and Syria’s neighbors. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed reports that there are now an increased number of military advisors in Syria, while U.S. officials claim that Russia has sent two tank landing ships and additional cargo aircraft to the country this week.
3. Lululemon hopes earnings are upward-facing
Yogawear and other athletic apparel retailer Lululemon (LULU) reports its latest quarterly figures today and the Vancouver-based company is expected to report increased second-quarter revenue. The company, which is expanding in Asia and Europe, has seen the benefits of improved online sales along with a popular line of men’s clothing— both of which have helped the company in the face of the weakened Canadian dollar.
4. More Canadian retailers
Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay (HBC) also reports earnings today, as does the country’s largest discount retailer, Dollarama (DOL). Hudson’s Bay — which also owns Lord & Taylor and Saks 5th Avenue — is expected to report a bump in second-quarter sales, thanks to strong online revenue and the rapid expansion efforts of Saks’ Off 5th outlets in the U.S. Dollarama is expected to report stronger second-quarter profit as the stores saw an increase in spending per individual consumer.
5. Fallon looks to Trump Colbert
The late-night television wars start to heat up tonight, as Jimmy Fallon and NBC’s Tonight Show welcome firebrand Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for an appearance that is likely to result in huge ratings for the show. Rival talk show host Stephen Colbert hosted his first episode of The Late Show on CBS (CBS) earlier this week, easily trumping the competition in the ratings with a premiere episode featuring actor George Clooney and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. There should be plenty of jostling for big political guests in the lead-up to next year’s election, particularly with the amount of money in advertising spending on late-night talk shows on the rise recently. Next week, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will drop by The Tonight Show to chat with Fallon.
— Reuters contributed to this report.