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Wall Street seeks bullish October start

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, the first day of the final quarter of 2015. Wall Street closed out a negative September Wednesday on a positive note. But the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq, all in correction territory, logged their worst three month stretch in four years. (CNBC)

The fourth quarter has traditionally been positive for the market. But history shows this month can be scary. But there's hope, because in recent times, the major stock measures have rallied in four of the past five Octobers. (CNBC)

Billionaire stock pickers David Einhorn, Dan Loeb, and Barry Rosenstein are telling investors they lost money in September, as market turmoil inflicted more pain on some of America's most prominent hedge funds. (Reuters)

Oil prices were higher this morning on concern about Russian airstrikes in Syria, which targeted opposition fighters there, including at least one group trained by the CIA, eliciting angry protests from American officials. (Reuters & NY Times)

Hurricane Joaquin strengthened last night, as it moved close to the Bahamas. The prospects look increasingly worrisome for the East Coast of the U.S. But regardless of the track, expect heavy rain and possible coastal flooding. (Weather Channel)

President Barack Obama has signed a stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown for now. But when the temporary spending authorization runs out in December, the threat of a shutdown could reemerge. (CNBC)

Twitter (TWTR) co-founder Jack Dorsey, who's been serving as interim CEO for the past three months, is expected to be named the new permanent chief executive as early as today. He's also CEO of Square. (Re/code)

Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOGL) have dismissed all outstanding patent disputes between them, and agreed to collaborate on "certain patent matters." There had been about 20 patent cases outstanding. (Reuters)

Wal-Mart (WMT) plans to cut hundreds of jobs at its Arkansas headquarters in an effort to cut costs, according to multiple reports. The cuts would make up a small portion of the more than 18,000 people employed there. (Reuters)

The credit card industry's self-imposed deadline for chip-enabled cards is today, but a new survey shows six in 10 American card holders still don't have the new technology in their wallets. (USA Today)

A new analysis finds people who go out of their health insurance networks routinely receive bills anywhere from 118 percent to 1,382 percent higher than what the federal Medicare system gets billed for the same services. (CNBC)

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, in a CNBC interview, assessed his campaign so far, and addressed what it would take for him to exit the race. But he said: "I'm in this for the long haul."

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. automakers release their September sales numbers throughout the morning, with analysts predicting strong gains compared to a year ago.

The Institute for Supply Management issues its September non-manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET, with the measure of the U.S. services economy expected to come in at 50.8 compared to 51.1 in August.

The government report on August construction spending, out at 10 a.m. ET, is seen rising 0.6 percent on top of July's 0.7 percent gain.

A busy week for Fed speakers continues with a 2:30 p.m. ET speech from San Francisco Fed President John Williams in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Spice maker McCormick (MKC) is among the very few companies out with earnings this morning, while chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) leads the short after-the-bell list.

Standard & Poor's cut its outlook on Gap (GPS) to negative due to the departure of Stefan Larsson as president of its Old Navy unit. Larsson has been named Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren (RL).

Risk adviser Verisk Analytics (VRSK) replaces Joy Global (JOY) in the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Oct. 7. Joy replaces Thoratec Corporation in the S&P MidCap 400 following its acquisition by St. Jude Medical (STJ).

STOCKS TO WATCH

China's state-backed Tsinghua plans to buy a 15 percent stake in U.S. data storage firm Western Digital (WDC), a $3.78 billion deal that could draw regulatory scrutiny amid increased national security concerns.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) won a $3.2 billion Air Force contract for development and maintenance of drones.

Deere (DE) reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers on a six-year contract. The prior agreement between the union and the heavy equipment maker expired Thursday.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) workers have rejected a proposed four-year deal with the UAW, despite endorsement from union leaders. The exact final tally was not released.

General Electric (GE) struck deals to sell two of its railroad services operations to Wells Fargo (WFC) and Marmon Holdings. Terms of the two deals were not disclosed.

United Parcel Service (UPS) is investing in tech startup Ally Commerce, which sets up websites for direct sales to consumers.

Facebook (FB) is letting users upload super-short videos to be their profile pictures, as the social networking site refreshes its design and pushes to become the center of your online life.

WATERCOOLER

The $310 million Powerball jackpot was waiting to be claimed on a single ticket purchased in a Shell gas station in southwestern Michigan. The winning numbers were 21-39-40-55-59 and Powerball 17. (NBC News)

Oregon joins Colorado and Washington as the only states with recreational marijuana marketplaces today. Adults 21 and older in Oregon may buy up to a quarter-ounce of cannabis per day. (USA Today)