Fed minutes, earnings and Harry Potter — what to know today

Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion
Cheering fans react to being welcomed into a confetti-filled Diagon Alley during the grand opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, at Universal Studios Florida, in Orlando, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Photograph by Orlando Sentinel MCT—Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Given how much we’ve talked about the World Cup in this column, I would be remiss not to mention the shocking result yesterday. The fact is, this is a game that will be talked about for years, and that isn’t hyperbole; Brazilians are still upset about losing to Uruguay in 1950, and this game will join that one in infamy. Even if you aren’t Brazilian or German, you’ll remember where you watched it — even if that was in your cubicle, discreetly streaming the game with a spreadsheet ready to pull over the window if necessary. Anyway, here are five things you need to know about in business today.

1. Fed minutes will be coming out.

Meeting minutes generally aren’t the stuff of legend, but when its the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes, they can be kind of important. The latest Fed minutes come out at 2 p.m. ET today, and traders will be looking for any hint of how close the Fed is to its first increase in interest rates since 2006.

2. Earnings season is officially upon us.

Alcoa posted its earnings last night, unofficially shooting off the starter pistol for second-quarter earnings season. USA Today reported that the aluminum company beat expectations by more than 50%, elating Wall Street. Could this be a harbinger of good things to come for the rest of the publicly traded firms who will publish results in the next few weeks? Possibly. As always, a few companies will be in the watched closely, including Apple, Google and General Motors.

3. Free stuff at 7-11 net week.

Everyone knows that on July 11 you can get a free Slurpee at 7-11, but this year the convenience store chain is taking things to a new level, offering customers free products, including baked goods and Big Gulps for a week starting July 12, provided they download the 7-11 app. Different free products will be available each day, so go get your free Twinkies, if that’s your thing.

4. Sun Valley continues today.

The Sun Valley conference will continue today in Idaho, meaning that the tech world is sure to be abuzz with possible deal talk over the next few days. While these things oftentimes end up being just idle chatter, Sun Valley has a track record of creating real deals. Check out Fortune’s list of some of the most famous examples here.

5. Harry Potter is back! (kind of)

Fans of the Boy Who Lived got a double dose of nostalgia yesterday. First, the long-awaited Diagon Alley park opened in Orlando, Fla. Local news reported that thousands of people rushed in as soon as the gates opened, and that lines quickly got crazy. For Potter-heads who are more into just reading about the magical world as opposed to living it, author J.K Rowling penned a short story in the form of a newspaper article about the Dumbledore’s Army crew at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. She did not mention if any Dutch players dived off their brooms.

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