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Wall Street awaits key data and Trump's Fed choice

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were slightly lower this morning as investors turned momentarily cautious, with equities pulling back from intraday record highs Wednesday. Another batch of economic data and earnings hits today. President Trump also announces a new Fed chair. (CNBC)

Dow component DowDupont (DWDP) this morning issued profit and revenue that were better than estimates. But Dow stock Apple (AAPL), which reports this afternoon, will undoubtedly get the most attention of the after-the-bell earnings numbers. (CNBC)

* Blue Apron soars after missing earnings, beating revenue expectations (CNBC)
* Alibaba raises sales forecast after results top estimates (Bloomberg)

Tesla (TSLA) was taking about a 6 percent hit in the premarket after reporting late Wednesday a wider than expected quarterly loss. The electric automaker also scaled back its Model 3 production targets as it deals with production bottlenecks. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) shares were also under some pressure after CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned after-the-bell Wednesday that protecting the site from those wanting to spread fake news and hate speech will drive costs higher. Meanwhile, quarterly earnings and revenue did beat expectations. (CNBC)

* US lawmakers release sample of Russian-bought Facebook ads (Reuters)

Two government reports are out at 8:30 a.m. ET with the release of initial jobless claims and third-quarter productivity. Forecasts call for 235,000 new claims for the week, down from 235,000 the prior week. Productivity is expected to show a 2.8 percent annual rate gain for the July through September period. (CNBC)

Bitcoin hit another all-time high this morning, surpassing $7,000 for the first time. The cryptocurrency has had a bullish streak throughout the week following the CME's announcement that it will introduce bitcoin futures contracts. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Trump will pick Jay Powell to be the next Fed chair, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a source. Trump is slated to formally announce his decision this afternoon before he leaves for a trip to Asia tomorrow.

* Why Powell is the 'boring' choice for Fed chair, but the best for the stock market (CNBC)
* Watch Powell in his own words on monetary policy, bitcoin (CNBC)

House Republicans are expected today to release a tax bill offering plenty of flexibility, as they grapple with stubborn internal disagreements on paying for the tax cuts they propose. The GOP postponed the bill's unveiling on Wednesday. (Reuters)

* Apple CEO Tim Cook says that the US should reform the tax code now (CNBC)

President Trump said the man alleged to have perpetrated a terrorist attack in New York City "should get death penalty." Lawyers quickly noted that by publicly stating his preferred outcome for the case, the president may have made the job of prosecutors more difficult. (CNBC)

* Hours after Trump calls US justice system 'a laughingstock,' White House denies he ever did (CNBC)
* Trump will ask Congress to end green-card lottery program (CNBC)
* Sunday's NYC marathon presents next logistical challenge for authorities (NBC News)

Special counsel Robert Mueller may have had some help investigating Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, from a neighbor and blogger in Brooklyn, New York. The blogger wrote about suspicious information related to Manafort's brownstone in February. (CNBC)

* Timeline: How George Papadopoulos tried to connect Trump campaign with Russia (USA Today)
* Prosecutors consider bringing charges in DNC hacking case (WSJ)

President Trump will be pleased with himself when he hears that one of his favorite phrases, "fake news", has been named "word of the year" by dictionary publisher Collins. The term saw an "unprecedented" rise with usage of the term increasing 365 percent since 2016. (CNBC)

American Airlines passengers flying out of Los Angeles International Airport might not receive a meal on board this week, after listeria was detected at one of the airline's on-board caterers. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) has secured new domain names related to cryptocurrency, sparking speculation that it could be preparing a move into the cryptocurrency space. The domains are: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. (CNBC)

Kohl's (KSS) is bringing out the sales for shoppers even earlier this holiday season. The retailer unveiled its strategy, which includes more ways for shoppers to earn Kohl's Cash, in-store deals on Cyber Monday and heavier Black Friday promotions, starting this week. (CNBC)

Papa John's said the NFL "hurt" the company by not resolving the protests during the National Anthem. Declining NFL viewership and negative consumer sentiment associated with the league caused sales in the quarter to slump, the company claimed. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

GoPro (GPRO) earned an adjusted 15 cents per share for its latest quarter, well above the 2 cent consensus estimate. The action camera-maker's revenue also beat forecasts, but it gave weaker than expected current quarter and full-year guidance, as it continues to deal with production issues.

Qualcomm (QCOM) came in 9 cents above forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of 92 cents per share, while the chipmaker's revenue also exceeded forecasts. Overall results were impacted, however, by a fine imposed by Taiwan regulators and the withholding of patent royalties from Apple amid a legal dispute between the two companies.

FireEye (FEYE) lost 4 cents per share for the third quarter, 3 cents smaller than analysts had anticipated, while the cybersecurity company's revenue exceeded forecasts. However, the shares are under pressure after FireEye disappointed investors by forecasting a current quarter loss.

Symantec (SYMC) earned an adjusted 40 cents per share for its fiscal second quarter, falling 3 cents short of estimates, while the cybersecurity company's revenue matched forecasts. Symantec also gave weaker than expected current quarter guidance, and said it had no plans to spin off its consumer business.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) fell 4 cents short of estimates, reporting quarterly profit of 56 cent per share. The restaurant operator's revenue also fell short, as same-restaurant sales fell 2.3 percent. Cheesecake Factory joined the list of companies noting a negative impact from the quarter's hurricanes.

Shake Shack (SHAK) came in 2 cents above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 17 cents per share, with the restaurant chain's revenue coming in just above consensus. The company also announced plans to add up to 26 new U.S. stores this year and up to 35 next year.

WATERCOOLER

The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on Wednesday to win a World Series title for the first time in their existence as a Major League Baseball franchise. The Astros clinched a win over a Dodgers team that had MLB's best record this season. (Reuters)

Before exhibitors can begin screening "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" this December, they must first commit to a set of top-secret terms from Disney (DIS) that numerous theater owners say are the most onerous they have ever seen. (WSJ)