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Stocks seen higher, focus on Fed, payrolls

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, after Wall Street gave up early gains Wednesday as Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated before a House panel the possibility a December rate hike. (CNBC)

The Fed may quickly meet its 2-percent inflation target once oil and the dollar stabilize, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said last night in Washington. Fisher speaks this morning in New York City. (Reuters)

Asian stocks were higher today, with the Shanghai composite rising nearly 1.9 percent. Chinese stocks took a beating earlier this year, but were now in a bull market, up more than 20 percent since their August lows. (CNBC)


Facebook (FB) surged in premarket trading, pushing the market value over $300 billion. Late Wednesday, the social network beat on earnings and revenue, and saw a big jump in mobile users and ads. (CNBC)

Facebook is preparing to launch next week its latest push into news with a new standalone app called Notify, with content from dozens of media partners including Vogue, the Washington Post, and CBS. (FT)

Whole Foods (WFM) missed on earnings and revenue. The grocer saw a sharp drop in sales growth, the weakest in five years. Whole Foods also announced a $1 billion share buyback. (CNBC)

Kraft Heinz (KHC) announced it would be closing seven factories and cutting about 2,600 jobs. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns about a 26.8 percent stake. (CNBC)

Travel booking site Expedia (EXPE) is buying HomeAway (AWAY) for $3.9 billion, allowing the short-term rental marketplace to better compete with hot startup Airbnb. (AP)

A controversial drug company CEO, whose 5,500 percent price hike of an AIDS drug ignited a national firestorm, said a Senate investigation is a misguided effort to "gain political capital." (CNBC)

JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are becoming more protective of their data to consumer finance websites, reflecting concern those sites could overload bank servers. (WSJ-subscription)

Evidence now suggests a bomb planted by Islamic State militants is the likely cause of last weekend's crash of a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai peninsula, said U.S. and European security sources. (Reuters)

Bitcoin surged again Wednesday, briefly approaching $500, leading some observers to worry that something other than speculation may be behind the sharp gains, again. (CNBC)

The U.S. national debt shot up $339.1 billion Tuesday, the largest daily increase ever. But it was largely a matter of accounting, having to do with the authorization to increase the borrowing limit. (USA Today)

The stakes were higher than ever at Sotheby's last night, marking the start of a fall season of global art buying. The bumpy evening brought in $377 million with fees, just squeaking past low-end estimates. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

Investors are now focused on Friday morning's October jobs report from the government. But in the meantime, they get plenty of economic data, Fed commentary, and earnings to consider.

The government is out with both weekly initial jobless claims and third quarter productivity data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Energy Department releases its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

U.S.-based employers dialed back layoffs in October from the previous month, but the number of job cuts attributable to low oil prices ticked back up to a six-month high, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported.

In addition to Fischer's morning address, today's other Fed-related speakers include Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, New York Fed President Bill Dudley, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Federal Reserve Gov. Dan Tarullo, and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart.

This afternoon, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the IMF Annual Research Conference in Washington.

Earnings reports out this morning include numbers from AMC Networks (AMCX), Molson Coors (TAP), Ralph Lauren (RL), and Time Inc. (TIME). This afternoon, Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) leads the after-the-bell list of quarterly results, along Shake Shack (SHAK) and TripAdvisor (TRIP).

STOCKS TO WATCH

The CEO of Insys Therapeutics (INSY) is stepping down. As detailed in a CNBC report, the company has been under investigation regarding the sales and marketing of its primary product, a painkiller delivered as an oral spray.

FireEye (FEYE) lost 37 cents per share for its latest quarter, 8 cents smaller than anticipated. Revenue, however, fell short of expectations, and the maker of cyber security software also issued weaker outlook.

Qualcomm (QCOM) posted adjusted quarterly profit of 91 cents per share, beating estimates by 5 cents, with revenue also exceeding forecasts. But the chipmaker warned about the current quarter.

Toyota (TM) reported a 26 percent increase in quarterly operating profit to $6.8 billion dollars, slightly above consensus estimates. But the automaker did lower its annual sales forecast.

General Motors (GM) reported a 15 percent October increase in China vehicle sales to a record high. Meanwhile, UAW leaders are urging members to approve a tentative contract deal with GM.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) pilots have rejected a tentative contract with the airline, with 62 percent opposing the deal. The carrier expects talks to resume in the spring, with a mediator.

WATERCOOLER

Thanksgiving travel on U.S. airlines will be even busier this year, with carriers expected to fly 25.3 million passengers worldwide from Friday, Nov. 20, through Tuesday, Dec. 1. (Reuters)

The World Series is over, but Taco Bell is paying up today on its stolen base promotion, giving out free A.M. Crunchwraps, while supplies last, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. (USA Today)