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Wall Street in the green, waiting for Fed-speak for more direction

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higherthis morning, after Wall Street logged its third down session on Tuesday in the past four. The British pound hit another 31-year low against the dollar and a five-year low versus the euro on concerns surrounding Brexit. (CNBC)

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he'd be "fine" with raising interest rates by year end, if economic data continued to come in firm and inflation accelerated. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker also speak today. (Reuters)

Oil was sharply higher this morning, after industry data showed U.S. stockpiles falling for the fifth straight week. The Energy Department issues its weekly oil inventory report at 10:30 a.m. ET. American crude prices slipped Tuesday, breaking a four-day winning streak. (Reuters)

Gold was stable this morning, after plunging 3.2 percent to three-month lows Tuesday, the worst single session loss in three years. The plunge was triggered by speculative selling and a break of key technical support levels. (Reuters)


At the vice-presidential debate, Donald Trump's GOP running-mate, Mike Pence, coolly and effectively laid out his case against his Democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, who seemed flustered by Pence's jabs at Hillary Clinton which he repeatedly attempted to interrupt. (NBC News)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were active on Twitter last night, sharing their thoughts on the debate. The top of each ticket offered praise for their running-mates and traded digs.

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm in almost a decade, took aim at the Bahamas this morning, after flooding streets, flattening homes, and leaving a trail of destruction in Haiti. Matthew brushed past Cuba last night. (NBC News)

Empty shelves and long gas station lines were reported across the Southeast early this morning, as Hurricane Matthew threatened to unleash chaos on coastal communities. A state of emergency was declared in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. (NBC News)

Twitter (TWTR) is expected to field offers this week. Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff, who was beaten to the punch by Microsoft (MSFT) for LinkedIn (LNKD), is reportedly working to convince his shareholders that a Twitter deal makes sense. (WSJ)

Shares of Deutsche Bank seesawed in Wednesday trading in Europe, after a report said the embattled German lender was looking at a much lower settlement with U.S. authorities, adding to speculation on a possible outcome for its litigation issues. (CNBC)

Microsoft and Google told CNBC their email services, Outlook, Hotmail and Gmail, are safe from U.S. government spies, following a Reuters report that Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence officials.

Netflix (NFLX) signed a deal with luxury movie house iPic Entertainment to put its original movies in theaters in Los Angeles and New York City on the same day they debut on its streaming video service. The first Netflix movie, "The Siege of Jadotville," opens Friday. (WSJ)

Aston Martin will lead the ultra-luxury segment of the electric auto market, CEO Andy Palmer told CNBC. He added: "Tesla fits in the premium market, competing with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. Aston sits above that."


BY THE NUMBERS

In the lead-up to Friday's government employment report for September, investors get a warm-up from the ADP's private sector jobs for last month. Due out at 8:15 a.m. ET, forecasts call for 173,000 new positions added at U.S. companies.

The government issues August trade deficit data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The ISM releases its September manufacturing index and the government is out with factory orders for August, both at 10 a.m. ET.

Fears in the European banking community last week created something of a tantrum in U.S. bond markets, driving yields down and taking mortgage rates along with them. That translated into total home loan application volume rising 2.9 percent.

Chemical maker Monsanto (MON) and spirits producer Constellation Brands (STZ) are on the short list of corporate earnings due out this morning, while restaurant operator Yum Brands (YUM) issues its quarterly results after today's closing bell.

Micron Technology (MU) last Tuesday reported a small-than-expected adjusted quarterly loss of 5 cents per share. Revenue also beat. The chipmaker also forecast a better-than-expected current quarter profit.


STOCKS TO WATCH

McDonald's (MCD) is nearing a deal to sell 20-year franchise rights for its Singapore and Malaysia outlets to Saudi Arabia's Reza group, in a transaction estimated at up to $400 million, according to Reuters.

BlackRock (BLK) is cutting fees for more than a dozen of its exchange-traded funds, helping it better compete with offerings by rivals like Vanguard and State Street (STT).

Blackstone (BX) agreed to sell its China-based technology outsourcing unit, Pactera Technology, to HNA Group for about $675 million in cash, according to Dow Jones. HNA is a China-based shipping and airline company.

Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH) is being bought by Japanese insurer Sompo Holdings for $6.3 billion or $93 per share, compared to yesterday's close of $87.87 for the U.S. based casualty insurer's stock.

Constellation Brands (STZ) bought craft whiskey maker High West Distillery for about $160 million as it moves ahead with plans to expand further into premium spirits.

Sears (SHLD) CEO Edward Lampert said the retailer plans to keep operating the Kmart chain, even as it explores options for other parts of the company like its Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard brands.

Amazon said Prime members are now able to read as much as they like from a selection of over a thousand top Kindle books, magazines, short works, comic books, children's books and more — all at no additional cost.


WATERCOOLER

The Toronto Blue Jays advanced to the American League Division Series with a raucous 5-2, 11-inning victory before a home crowd over the Baltimore Orioles last night. The Blue Jays face the Texas Rangers in Game 1 on Thursday in Arlington. (USA Today)