Dollar stores and Urban Outfitters — five things to know today

August 18, 2014, 12:06 PM UTC
Dollar Tree To Acquire Family Dollar Stores For $8.5 Billion
HOLLYWOOD, FL - JULY 28: A Family Dollar store is seen on July 28, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. Dollar Tree announced it will buy Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion in cash and stock. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Photograph by Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Hello, friends and Fortune readers.

This week, investors will be keeping an eye out for another batch of retail earnings, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments at the Fed’s Kansas City’s conference on the economy and monetary policy in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Here’s what you need to know about in business news today.

1. More intrigue in the dollar store world

Who’d have thunk that dollar stores could provide so much drama? This morning Dollar General bid $9.7 billion to buy Family Dollar, topping the bid of $8.5 million from Dollar Tree, the third major player in the space.

2. Urban Outfitters on the earnings catwalk

Weak earnings are expected to come from the retailer. Analysts expect a 5% dip from a year ago. This is driven largely by a downturn in sales from the namesake chain, while sales at Free People and Anthropologie are actually up.

3. Housing index numbers in focus

Last month, homebuilder confidence was at a six-month high, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Today at 10 a.m. ET we will find out if that trend continued over the past month.

4. Global markets are up

U.S. stock futures are up sharply this morning, pointing to a positive start to the week. They are following gains in Europe and recovering from losses on Wall Street Friday. A significant factor in the Monday gains: receding fears about warfare in Ukraine.

5. ALS raising buckets of cash

I’m sure by now you’ve seen your favorite executives, politicians and athletes complete the ice bucket challenge, an online campaign to raise money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). But its about more than chuckles. According to the New York Times, the viral stunt has actually raised millions for the ALS foundation.

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