Dow set to drop at the open after seeing first 5-day win streak since July

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were lower this morning after the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its first five-day win streak since July. The S&P 500 posted its second positive session in three, while the Nasdaq broke a two-day losing streak. (CNBC)

* Midterm elections a boon for stocks (WSJ)

Barnes & Noble (BKS) was 26 percent higher in premarket after it said it was naming a special committee to review bids for the company. That follows expressions of interest from multiple parties, including its chairman, Leonard Riggio. (CNBC)

On the data front, jobless claims are due out at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by factory orders at 10 a.m. ET. But investors will be anticipating the Bureau of Labor Statistics nonfarm payrolls data for September, due out tomorrow morning. (CNBC)

Constellation Brands (STZ) is scheduled to publish quarterly earnings reports before the bell this morning. Additionally, Costco (COST) is set to report its quarterly numbers after the bell later this afternoon. (CNBC)

With oil recently on the upswing, gas prices are creeping up nationally, now pennies a gallon away from their highest level since 2014. Average prices topped $2.90 per gallon on Wedneday. (USA Today)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Senate braced for a crucial initial vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh's tottering Supreme Court nomination. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cemented the process Wednesday, several hours before the FBI delivered its report on Kavanaugh. (AP)

* Who sees it? Senators, staff to have access to FBI report (AP)

The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House found no corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh after examining interview reports from the FBI's latest probe into the judge's background.

A federal judge ordered President Donald Trump's administration to temporarily halt plans to end a special federal program that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. for decades. (USA Today)

The White House pushed back against findings of a major investigation by The New York Times, saying it was "highly defamatory" and "very boring." Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump has no plans right now to release his tax returns. (CNBC)

* Trump's tweets are less read and influential than people may think (Axios)

Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton are headlining separate Manhattan fundraisers for Democratic House candidates, just weeks before Election Day, according to a person who was invited to the events. They'll both take place on October 15. (CNBC)

Vice President Mike Pence will signal a far tougher American line on China in a speech today. He is expected to accuse the Chinese of aggressive moves against American warships, of predatory behavior against their neighbors and more. (NY Times)

Data center equipment run by Amazon Web Services and Apple may have been subject to surveillance from the Chinese government via a tiny microchip inserted during the equipment manufacturing process, according to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek report on Thursday. The claims in the report have been strongly disputed by the tech giants.

* Amazon's hourly workers lose monthly bonuses and stock awards as minimum wage increases (CNBC)

Juul wants regulators to order 18 companies to stop selling e-cigarettes that Juul claims infringe on its patents. The company filed a complaint alleging these companies "blatantly emulated the distinctive design" of Juul's system. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) beat Tesla (TSLA) in ranking of automated driving systems, according to Consumer Reports. The report said Cadillac's Super Cruise does the best job of monitoring if a driver is paying attention when they take their hands off the steering wheel.

Toyota and SoftBank Group are teaming up to develop self-driving car services, signaling deepening alliances between top automaker and tech firms as the global race to develop autonomous cars intensifies. (Reuters)

* GM Cruise and Honda deal show how automakers are sharing the risk, technology and high costs of developing self-driving cars (CNBC)

A new Kaiser survey of health benefits found that average deductibles for workers in employer health plans rose 4.5 percent this year to $1,573. More large companies are trying to rein in costs by rewarding workers who take steps to get healthier. (CNBC)

The force of Hurricane Florence is still being felt nearly three weeks after it made landfall in North Carolina. School is still out in much of the eastern part of the state, and owners of damaged homes are waiting for repairs. (WSJ)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Chipotle Mexican Grill's (CMG) head of food safety, James Marsden, will step down from his post and retire next year, according to a report by Bloomberg. Marsden has been with the company since 2016.

Cloudera (CLDR) announced an all-stock merger of equals with competitor Hortonworks (HDP). The combined equity value of the two companies is $5.2 billion based on the closing prices of their stocks on Tuesday.

Facebook (FB) is on watch today after the Irish Data Protection Commissioner opened a formal investigation into the data breach at the social network that affected nearly 50 million accounts.

Tilray (TLRY) announced plans to offer $400 million of convertible notes in a private offering to institutional investors in Canada. The notes will be convertible into common stock or cash. It plans to use the funds for "general corporate purposes."

WATERCOOLER

Congratulations Nintendo fans. The company reportedly plans to release a new version of its Switch video game console next year. It's still debating what hardware and software features to upgrade. (WSJ)