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Wall Street gets a boost with tech firmly in focus

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher, with a big tech merger this morning and major tech earnings before and after the bell. With three trading sessions left in October, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were all tracking lower for the month. (CNBC)

Qualcomm (QCOM) has agreed to buy NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) in a deal worth $110 per share, or about $38 billion, seeking to expand the reach of its chips from smartphones to cars. (CNBC)

Twitter (TWTR) this morning announced about 350 layoffs, or 9 percent of its workforce. The social media company did beat on quarterly earnings and revenue. Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN) are set to issue quarterly results this afternoon. (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) late Wednesday reported adjusted quarterly profit of 71 cents per share compared to an expected loss of 54 cents per share. The electric automaker's revenue also beat forecasts on record sales. Tesla shares were soaring in the premarket. (CNBC)

The acquisition of SolarCity (SCTY) is likely to have a "neutral" impact on Tesla's fourth quarter, said Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla and chairman of SolarCity. (CNBC)


Apple plans to unveil its new version of a TV guide today, during a product event in California. The company is also expected to roll out new Mac models. (Recode)

Apple is delaying shipment of its new AirPod wireless headphones to consumers, saying it needs a little more time and does not believe in delivering a product before it's ready. Apple also said: "Early response to AirPods has been incredible." (CNBC)

The co-chief executive of Samsung issued an apology today, after third-quarter operating profit tumbled more than 30 percent following the fallout from the now-discounted Galaxy Note 7. (CNBC)

Google parent Alphabet is graduating its self-driving-car project from its research lab X into a stand-alone business, a major step on the way to commercial operations. (WSJ)

Volkswagen raised its earnings outlook, after bouncing back to a profit of $2.55 billion) in the third quarter from a large loss a year earlier, when VW took a big charge from its car emissions scandal. (NY Times)

Deutsche Bank (DB) beat estimates with quarterly results. CEO John Cryan promised to speed up restructuring efforts, as the German lender braces for a multibillion dollar fine from U.S. officials. Cryan also said he hopes to resolve major litigation by mid-March. (CNBC)

Executives of EpiPen maker Mylan are unlikely to lose pay over the company's recent $465 million settlement of allegations that it overcharged Medicaid for the lifesaving treatment. (WSJ)

Wal-Mart (WMT) will make thousands more items from its online store available for same-day pickup in its stores this holiday season. The retailing giant is also increasing its selection of holiday and novelty items by 40 percent. (CNBC)

According to Adobe's Digital Insights, online sales are expected to grow at a slower clip this holiday, with mobile traffic seen exceeding visits from desktop computers for the first time. (CNBC)

Hillary Clinton has ratcheted up her lead over Donald Trump to nine points, according to the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey, nearly doubling her advantage from the last poll. (CNBC)

Two chief fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation pressed corporate donors to steer business opportunities to former President Bill Clinton as well, according to a hacked memo published by WikiLeaks. (WSJ)

Many of the schools across America that house polling booths will not be open on Election Day for the first time after parents raised fears over violence. (NBC News)

HIV appeared in New York as early as 1971, according to a new analysis, and spread from there to San Francisco. It contradicts the idea that the disease's spread traced back to one man. (NY Times)


BY THE NUMBERS

Remarkably steady growth rates for three straight quarters have raised suspicions about "data smoothing" in China, but the country has "no incentive or necessity to whitewash the real economic picture," according to a commentary in state-owned Xinhua news agency.

Two key U.S. economic reports are out at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the government issuing both the weekly report on initial jobless claims and the September durable goods numbers. At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors is out with September pending home sales.

In addition to today's tech earnings, Ford Motor (F), UPS (UPS), and Aetna (AET) are on this morning's list, while Amgen (AMGN), Expedia (EXPE), and LinkedIn (LNKD) lead the after-the-bell schedule.

ZTO Express (ZTO) debuts today on the New York Stock Exchange, after the China-based package delivery company raised $1.4 billion in the biggest US initial public offering of the year. The IPO was priced at $19.50 per share, above the expected range.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Groupon (GRPN) late Wednesday lost a penny per share, matching estimates, while the daily deals site saw revenue come in above forecasts. Separately, the company announced the acquisition of rival LivingSocial for an undisclosed amount.

Texas Instruments (TXN) reported quarterly earnings of 94 cents per share, 8 cents above estimates, with the chipmaker's revenue coming in above forecasts as well. The chipmaker also announced a 32 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 50 cents per share.

Western Digital (WDC) earned an adjusted $1.18 per share, 14 cents above estimates, and the disk drive maker's revenue was also above estimates. The company's demand for both hard drive and flash-based products was strong, thanks to demand in cloud and mobile sectors.

Nokia (NOK) reported a third consecutive quarterly loss on weak sales of mobile networking products, and also announced the resignation of its chief financial officer.

O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) topped estimates with its latest quarterly earnings report, but the auto parts retailer gave a disappointing outlook for the fourth quarter.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) earned an adjusted 70 cents per share for its latest quarter, 9 cents above estimates. The restaurant chain also saw revenue beat forecasts as comparable restaurant sales rose 1.7 percent.

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) came in a penny above estimates with quarterly profit of $1.23 per share. But the restaurant chain's revenue fell shy of projections, and issued weaker than expected full-year guidance.


WATERCOOLER

Starting today, the NBA offers a fully produced game in live virtual reality, becoming the first U.S. professional sports league to offer VR broadcasts. (USA Today)