U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a higher open this morning, amid a smattering of hopeful signs of breaking the Washington deadlock over the government shutdown and the debt limit. Nonetheless, the Nasdaq is on track for its biggest weekly drop since May of 2012, with the Dow and S&P 500 on track for their largest weekly declines in two months.
The government shutdown cancels two reports that had been scheduled for today, August import/export prices and the monthly federal budget statement. However, the Labor Department will issue its weekly report on initial jobless claims, expected to show new claims of 311,000, up slightly from last week's 308,000.
Three Fed speakers could attract market attention as well, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, San Francisco Fed President John Williams, and Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo all scheduled to make public appearances today. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also has a speaking engagement, appearing at the New York Economic Club at noon E.T.
The most notable earnings reports of the day will come after the closing bell, when chipmaker Micron (MU) and supermarket operator Safeway (SWY) issue their quarterly numbers.
Ruby Tuesday (RT) is among our stocks to watch today, reporting a fiscal first quarter loss of 36 cents per share, wider than the 5 cent loss analysts were anticipating. That comes as the restaurant chain posts an 11 percent drop in comparable restaurant sales at company-owned locations, and 8.4 percent at franchised locations.
Citrix Systems (CTXS) is predicting third quarter profit of 68 to 69 cents per share, short of the consensus estimate of 73 cents. It also sees revenue falling below Street expectations. The software company and its competitors have been impacted by more cautious tech budgets.
Chevron (CVX) expects third quarter earnings to be lower than in the second quarter, citing lower profit margins in its refining operation. The oil giant also sees foreign exchange losses for the quarter, an area which had provided gains during the second quarter.
Gilead Sciences (GILD) reported positive results in a trial using an experimental drug in combination with its Rituxan to treat certain leukemia patients.
Men's Wearhouse (MW) has adopted a so-called "poison pill", after rejecting a takeover bid from Jos. A. Bank (JOSB). The clothing retailer, which said the offer undervalues the company, will grant shareholders the right to buy more common stock at a discounted price if any person or group acquires more than 10 percent.
T-Mobile (TMUS) is eliminating fees for international data and texting, beginning October 31.
Boyd Gaming (BYD) hotel/casino Borgata has received the first internet gaming permit ever granted by the state of New Jersey. Internet gaming is set to begin in New Jersey on November 26.
Blackstone (BX) received more than a half dozen bids for its La Quinta hotel chain, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said Blackstone is also weighing the possibility of going public.