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All times EDT.

TOP STORIES:

ESCAPING EMAIL

SAN FRANCISCO — Dustin Moskovitz is plotting an escape from email. The 30-year-old entrepreneur has learned a lot about communication since he teamed up with his college roommate Mark Zuckerberg to create Facebook a decade ago, and that knowledge is fueling an audacious attempt to change the way people connect at work, where the incessant drumbeat of email has become an excruciating annoyance. Moskovitz is trying to turn that chronic headache into an afterthought with Asana, a San Francisco startup he runs with former Facebook and Google product manager, Justin Rosenstein. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 1,230 words, photos.

DEBT STUDY

WASHINGTON — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study. The study points to a disturbing trend: The share of Americans in collections has remained relatively constant, even as the country as a whole has whittled down the size of its credit card debt since the official end of the Great Recession in the middle of 2009. By Josh Boak. SENT: 820 words, photo.

AIRLINES-IMPROVING SAFETY

NEW YORK — More travelers are flying than ever before, creating a daunting challenge for airlines: keep passengers safe in an ever more crowded airspace. Each day, 8.3 million people around the globe — roughly the population of New York City — step aboard an airplane. They almost always land safely. Some flights, however, are safer than others. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 960 words, photos, video.

CHINA-MICROSOFT

BEIJING — China's anti-monopoly agency announces an investigation of Microsoft Corp., stepping up pressure on foreign technology companies. The government opened a case in June after complaints Microsoft improperly failed to publish all documentation for its Windows operating system and Office software. It said investigators visited Microsoft's China headquarters in Beijing and branches in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu in southwestern China this week. Microsoft said it will address any concerns the government may have. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 650 words.

ARGENTINA-DEBT-Q&A

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina is at risk of financial default unless it can reach an agreement with a group of holdout bondholders by Wednesday. What brought about the crisis and why does it matter? By Almudena Calatrava and Claudia Torrens. UPCOMING: 900 words by 3 p.m.

With:

— ARGENTINA-DEBT — Argentina's finance secretary arrives in New York to join talks aimed at avoiding that country's second default in 13 years. SENT: 140 words.

OKCUPID-STUDYING CONSUMERS

NEW YORK —Think you're in control? Think again. OKCupid became the latest company to admit that it has manipulated customer data to see how users of its dating service would react to one another. That follows news earlier this month that Facebook let researchers change news feeds to see how users' moods would be affected. The fact is, big companies use customers as unwitting guinea pigs all the time —online and in the real world. And OKCupid's claim, that its research was aimed at improving its services, is common. But some find that manipulating situations in order to study consumer behavior without consent raises troubling privacy concerns. By Mae Anderson. UPCOMING: 700 words by 3 p.m.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

FEDERAL RESERVE

WASHINGTON — This much is clear: The Federal Reserve will make another cut this week in its monthly bond purchases, which have been aimed at keeping long-term loan rates low. This much is not: When will the Fed start tightening its interest-rate policy to thwart any runaway inflation? How will it do so? And when will the Fed start paring its enormous $4 trillion-plus investment portfolio — a step that will put upward pressure on interest rates? By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 900 words, photo.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they have been in nearly seven years. The Conference Board's confidence index rose to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised 86.4 in June, the third straight increase in the index. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 450 words, photo.

HOME PRICES

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rise in May from a year earlier at the weakest pace in 15 months as sales remain modest in the spring buying season. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 360 words, photo.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — Major stock indexes turn mixed in midday trading as investors waited for a series of key economic reports from the U.S. and China later in the week. By Matthew Craft. SENT: 150 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

OIL DISPUTE-IRAQ

FORT WORTH, Texas — The U.S. has barred a Kurdish oil tanker from reaching the Texas coast after the Iraqi Oil Ministry claimed it was smuggled from Kurdistan without its permission. A federal judge's order prevents any of the oil from being sold on American soil until the dispute involving Iraq and its semi-autonomous Kurdish regional government is resolved. The U.S. supports a central government in Iraq and discourages companies from buying from the Kurds, though the State Department has so far declined to intervene. By Emily Schmall. UPCOMING: 500 words, photo by 2 p.m.

JIMMY DEAN-BEYOND BREAKFAST

NEW YORK — Jimmy Dean is coming to dinner — and lunch, too. The sausage brand started by the late country singer of the same name has become a breakfast staple, with products even including a pancake-and-sausage on a stick. Now the brand is hoping its new bowls and sandwiches can lure eaters at other meals. By Candice Choi. SENT: 510 words, photo.

HEPATITIS DRUG

WASHINGTON — A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans. In less than six months, prescriptions for Sovaldi have eclipsed all other hepatitis C pills combined, according to new data from IMS Health. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 950 words, photos.

— JAPAN-MCDONALD'S — McDonald's in Japan is increasing its checks on chicken from vendors in China and Thailand after allegations a Chinese supplier sold expired chicken. It says the scare will hurt its earnings. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 280 words.

— WASTE MANAGEMENT-SALE — Waste Management is selling a subsidiary to Energy Capital Partners for $1.94 billion as part of its effort to focus on its core business. SENT: 300 words.

— SUZUKI-RECALL — Suzuki is recalling nearly 26,000 midsize cars in the U.S. because the daytime running light modules can overheat and could cause a fire. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— CHINA-INVESTIGATORS TRIAL — A Shanghai court says American and British investigators who worked for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will stand trial Aug. 8 on charges of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens. SENT: 150 words.

— CRAYOLA-FAMILY ATTRACTIONS — Crayon manufacturer Crayola is building a family attraction in Florida. Crayola Experience Orlando will open next summer at The Florida Mall. SENT: 280 words.

— BRITAIN-GHERKIN BUILDING — One of London's most recognizable office buildings, the Norman Foster-designed tower — nicknamed The Gherkin — has been put up for sale. SENT: 130 words, photos.

SENATE ELECTIONS-EXPORT BANK

WASHINGTON — Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? In all likelihood, most voters in Louisiana and Virginia aren't either. And yet Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is talking about the bank on the campaign trail, portraying it as a job creator that must be protected against tea party ideologues. By Charles Babington. SENT: 730 words, photo.

— MEAT LABELING LAWSUIT — A federal appeals court upholds new government rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. SENT: 600 words.

— HIGHWAY MONEY — The Senate is set to take up legislation to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments. SENT: 810 words. UPCOMING: Senate debate expected to begin after 3 p.m. EDT, with a final vote in the evening.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-TWITTER

Twitter Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 200 words after release.

— EARNS-AETNA — Aetna's second-quarter profit climbs more than 2 percent, as gains from an acquisition helped the health insurer beat analyst expectations and raise its 2014 earnings forecast again. SENT: 580 words, photo.

— EARNS-MERCK — A big one-time gain and a tax benefit helps drugmaker Merck & Co. more than double its second-quarter profit, raise the lower end of its profit forecast and easily top analysts' expectations. SENT: 510 words, photo.

— EARNS-PFIZER — Pfizer's second-quarter earnings plunge 79 percent from last year, when the world's second-largest drugmaker booked a business spinoff gain of more than $10 billion, but results in the most recent quarter still edged analyst expectations. SENT: 420 words, photo.

— EARNS-UPS — United Parcel Service Inc. reports net income that declined by 58 percent in its second quarter, and missed analysts' expectations. SENT: 390 words, photos.

— EARNS-REYNOLDS AMERICAN — Reynolds American Inc. says its profit rose by 6.7 percent in its second quarter, topping analysts' expectations. SENT: 500 words.

— JAPAN-EARNS-HONDA — Honda's quarterly profit surges nearly 20 percent on demand for remodeled cars in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The Japanese automaker also raised its full-year profit and sales forecasts. SENT: 330 words, photos.

— SWITZERLAND-EARNS-UBS — Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, reports a 15 percent rise in second-quarter profit, driven by strong results from its core wealth management business and trimmed-down investment banking franchises despite a tough market environment. SENT: 560 words, photo.

— BRITAIN-EARNS-BP — Energy company BP warns that further international sanctions on Russia could hurt its profits because of its stake in the country's oil giant, Rosneft. SENT: 330 words, photos.

— EARNS-AMERICAN EXPRESS — American Express Co. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 200 words after release.

— EARNS-AMGEN — Amgen Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 200 words after release.

— GERMANY-EARNS-DEUTSCHE BANK — Deutsche Bank AG posts a 29 percent drop in second-quarter net profit, hit by higher taxes, declining revenue and political instability affecting financial markets. Germany's largest bank said its net profit in the April-June period fell to 238 million euros ($320 million), down from 335 million euros a year earlier. SENT: 300 words, photo.

— FRANCE-EARNS-RENAULT — French carmaker Renault says its profits in the first half of the year rose, partly thanks to lower costs as its revenue dropped. SENT: 130 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

— RHAPSODY-SUBSCRIBERS — Rhapsody International says its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April. SENT: 280 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-RUSSIA

BRUSSELS — The United States and the European Union, finally in synch on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, are preparing a powerful one-two punch against Russia's economy, with EU ambassadors meeting on Tuesday to discuss a dramatic escalation in the trade bloc's sanctions. By John-Thor Dahlburg and Julie Pace. SENT: 570 words.

With:

— RUSSIA-SANCTIONS — Two European Union diplomats say the bloc is adopting tough new economic sanctions against Russia for its support of rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be led.

— POLAND-AIRLINE — The European Union's antitrust authority approves the Polish government's 200 million-euro ($270 million) bailout for its ailing national carrier, LOT airlines. SENT: 230 words.

— CHINA-INVESTIGATORS TRIAL — A Shanghai court says American and British investigators who worked for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will stand trial Aug. 8 on charges of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens. SENT: 130 words.

— NEW ZEALAND-STRANDED PASSENGERS — A group of Air New Zealand passengers were stranded for a third night after being repeatedly told their plane was delayed due to mechanical problems. The upside? They're in Hawaii. And every passenger is getting 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($850) in compensation. SENT: 320 words.

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CENTERPIECE

Earnings halftime report

Earnings season is going better than expected, and expectations were already pretty high. Reporting season for April-through-June results is roughly halfway done, and two thirds of companies have reported stronger earnings than analysts expected. Growth for the Standard & Poor's 500 index is on pace to be its strongest in nearly three years. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Ally posts 2Q profit on higher auto loan demand

Growth in bank deposits and demand for auto loans helped lift Ally Financial back to a profit in the second quarter. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


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