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Google/E.U. and Walmart’s holiday sales — 5 things to know today

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Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are lower and taking a breather after a wild ride on the back of the Chinese dragon all week. European stock markets are also lower as the euro strengthens against the dollar, while crude oil futures have stabilised over $42 after their biggest single-day rally since 2008.

Today’s must-ready story is from Fortune contributor Jason Cipriani and it looks at what you should expect from Apple’s (AAPL) newly-announced September 9 special event, including the announcement of a new mobile operating system and new iPhones.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Google rejects E.U. antitrust charges

It was always going to, but Google has dismissed the E.U.’s charges of abusing its dominant position in the search market in its first official response to what looks like being a long and bitter struggle. Google said it has improved consumer choice and boosted traffic growth for its competitors in areas like shopping. Its critics accused it of trying to shift the terms of the debate.


2. Walmart kicks off holiday layaway two weeks early

The world’s largest retailer is getting festive two weeks earlier than usual, as Walmart (WMT) announced that its holiday layaway program will begin on Friday rather than waiting until after Labor Day. The program, which allows customers to reserve purchases for the holiday season months ahead of time, gets an early start after Walmart and other big retailers have experienced a series of disappointing holiday seasons in terms of sales. The timing of Walmart’s program also coincides with Walt Disney’s (DIS) launch of its highly-anticipated new line of Star Wars toys and merchandise.

3. U.S. consumer data

The Commerce Department will release its monthly report on U.S. consumer spending, which accounts for better than two-thirds of the country’s economic activity and is expected to have risen by 0.4% in July. Also set to be released today is data on personal income, which is expected to have increased by 0.4% for the fourth straight month. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan will release its final August reading of its consumer sentiment index, which will likely read slightly higher than earlier this month at 93.0.

4. Mylan-Perrigo shareholder vote

Shareholders of pharmaceutical giant Mylan (MYL) will meet in the Netherlands today to vote on whether the company should move ahead with its unsolicited $33 billion hostile bid for rival drugmaker Perrigo. Advisory firm I.S.S. is telling the shareholders to vote against the deal and Perrigo’s CEO has said he is confident that Mylan’s investors will shun the bid, which he has said undervalues Dublin-based Perrigo. If the sides can eventually come together on a deal it would represent the latest tie-up in an industry in the middle of a period of increased consolidation.


5. Bush returns to NOLA for Katrina anniversary

Former President George W. Bush will visit the Gulf coast today to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Bush Administration was widely criticized for its response to the natural disaster and its aftermath, which left more than 1,200 people dead in 2005. Fortune wrote recently about the hurricane’s negative affect on New Orleans tourism and the city’s overall economy, which is finally on the upswing again after receiving billions of dollars in federal funds.


— Reuters contributed to this report.