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Earnings flood hits ahead of Fed meeting

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were searching for direction this morning, after a quiet session Monday. But things gear-up today, with lots of economic numbers this morning, the start of the two-day Fed meeting, and Apple (AAPL) and Twitter (TWTR) earnings after the bell. (CNBC)

Dow components Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE), and DuPont (DD) lead this morning's list of earnings releases, accompanied by CNBC parent Comcast (CMCSA) and Alibaba (BABA). (CNBC)

Wal-Mart (WMT) has applied with regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery and curbside pickup, a sign the retailer plans to go head-to-head with Amazon (AMZN) in the air. (Reuters)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) plans to launch a competitor to Apple Pay, allowing consumers to pay retailers using their smartphones in stores. The bank said it has already won endorsements. (Reuters)

Congressional leaders have reached a tentative budget deal with the White House in a breakthrough that would set government funding levels for the next two years and extend the nation's debt limit through 2017. (NBC News)

Leaders of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus said it was too late to stop the budget deal, but won't hold it against Rep. Paul Ryan, who's expected to be the next speaker. (Reuters)

Former President George W. Bush expressed confidence in his younger brother's drive to win his White House bid, despite Jeb Bush's sinking poll numbers and a retooled strategy. (NBC News)

Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and seven of the other GOP presidential hopefuls will be on the main stage at the next debate tomorrow. It's sponsored by CNBC. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET.

In a star-studded event, gaming billionaire Lawrence Ho is launching a $3.2 billion Macau entertainment complex today, at the time when gambling revenues at the casino mecca are weakening. (CNBC)

Billionaire hedge fund manger Bill Ackman of Pershing Square plans to discuss his investment in beleaguered Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) on a conference call Friday morning.

Bowing to criticism, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of medical testing company Theranos, said she'd publish data validating the accuracy and reliability of its tests. (NY Times)

Millions of Americans from the Midwest to the Northeast face the threat of torrential rain, as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia strengthened storms that already soaked the Gulf Coast. (NBC News)

BY THE NUMBERS

The jam-packed economic calendar today includes the government's durable goods orders for September at 8:30 a.m. ET; the Case-Shiller home price report for August at 9 a.m. ET; and the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for October 10 a.m. ET.

Fed policymakers will be taking all that data into account as they meet over the next two days. Their statement tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET is expected to leave the door open for the chance of a December interest rate hike.

Rent-A-Center (RCII) shares were nosediving in the premarket, after better-than-expected earnings were overshadowed by revenue and 2015 guidance coming up short.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) beat estimates on earnings, but fell short on revenue, pressuring the stock in premarket trading. The restaurant chain also warned on outlook.

STOCKS TO WATCH

U.K. oil giant BP (BP) is slashing costs as it prepares for a long-term low oil price environment. The company is now planning for around $60 per barrel price for Brent crude until at least 2017.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is in the last stages of negotiating a $50 million fine with regulators over allegations a former employee leaked confidential New York Fed materials, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Monsanto (MON) is shutting three research and development centers next year, resulting in the loss of 90 jobs. The chemical company is closing centers based in Wisconsin, Connecticut, and North Carolina.


WATERCOOLER

The World Series gets underway tonight in Kansas City, as the Royals face the New York Mets, who last won the Fall Classic in 1986. The Royals, who lost the series last year, seek their first title since 1985. (Reuters)

A missed extra point led to a whole bunch of excitement to close out last night's game between the Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens. But Arizona was still able to prevail before a home crowd. (NBC Sports)

This coming Sunday, about 50,000 runners and their guests will pound the pavement during the TCS New York City Marathon, which generated an economic impact of about $415 million last year. (CNBC)