Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to fall, Fed cuts but Trump wanted more, and US-China trade talks resume

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a modestly lower Wall Street open, following the second Fed cut in over a decade that saw the Dow fall as many as 211 points before recovering to finish higher for the 10th time in 11 sessions. The other major averages have more middling performances — the S&P 500 has a modest two-day win streak and the Nasdaq has lost ground in three of the past four sessions. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are virtually flat for the week to date. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump said the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, have "no 'guts,' no sense, no vision!" The president's comments followed the Fed's vote to cut interest rates by a quarter point to a target range of 1.75% to 2%, along with a 30-basis-point cut to the interest paid on so-called excess reserves. (CNBC)

Powell pledged that the central bank would engage in a "sequence" of interest rate cuts if conditions warrant, but he doesn't see that as necessary now. Speaking after the Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, Powell said data will dictate future moves. (CNBC)

* Powell doesn't see the Fed ever using negative interest rates, even in times of crisis (CNBC)
* Powell says it's possible the Fed will have to resume balance sheet growth (CNBC)
* Japan central bank stands pat after Fed rate cut (AP)

On today's packed economic calendar, the Labor Department is out with its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. Also out at 8:30 a.m. ET: the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index. At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for August. At the same time, the Conference Board is out with the August Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) is the only earnings report on the schedule for this morning, while office furniture maker Steelcase (SCS) will report after today's closing bell.

Got any questions, comments or ideas for us? Email morningsquawk@nbcuni.com.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators resume face-to-face talks today for the first time in nearly two months as the world's two largest economies try to bridge deep policy differences and find a way out of a bitter and protracted trade war. The negotiations today and tomorrow are aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level talks in early October. (Reuters)

A whistle blower complaint by an intelligence officer that the Trump administration is withholding from Congress involves a phone conversation had by the president, a former U.S. intelligence official familiar with the matter confirmed. The complaint was by an intelligence official troubled by a promise Trump made during communication with a foreign leader. (NBC News)

* Joe Kennedy to challege Sen. Markey in primary: source (AP)

At least five of the Democratic candidates fighting for the 2020 nomination won't be attending today's town hall on climate change. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke and Amy Klobuchar either declined to attend or never got back to organizers, a spokeswoman said. (Washington Post)

* Climate Strike NYC: 1.1 million can skip school for protest (NY Times)
* California looks for ways to preserve environmental clout (AP)

Canadian leader Justin Trudeau's campaign moved to contain a growing scandal today, following the publication of a yearbook photo showing him in brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party. The prime minister, who launched his reelection campaign a week ago, apologized and begged Canadians to forgive him. (AP)

AT&T (T) is reportedly considering selling DirecTV. The telecom giant reportedly has weighed several options including breaking off DirecTV into its own company and combining DirecTV with Dish Network. However, following the Wall Street Journal report, a source told Reuters that AT&T and Dish were not in talks over the deal, due to regulatory issues. (CNBC)

Some senior Deutsche Bank (DB) officials have discussed the possibility of putting additional problematic assets worth billions into a unit it created earlier this year, if the bank is able to sell assets already held within that "bad bank," Reuters reported. The sources said nothing is imminent.

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be on Capitol Hill for private meetings with policymakers today, after a dinner meeting with a handful of U.S. Senators Wednesday night. The social media giant has been coming under increasing scrutiny in Washington over its privacy and marketing practices. (WSJ)

* Here's why regulators are so worried about Facebook's digital currency (CNBC)

Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson says he won't allow the Boeing (BA) 737 Max jets to return to the skies for service until he personally flies the plane himself. Dickinson will visit the jetmaker's facilities today to meet with Boeing executives and be briefed on software updates to the 737 Max flight control system. (CNBC)

Tesla's (TSLA) Model 3 earned the top safety rating from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, the first Tesla model to do so. The results bolster the theory electric vehicles may be better designed to protect passengers in crashes than internal combustion vehicles. (CNBC)

Apple is releasing its latest software upgrade, iOS13, today. The model has improved security and new features, like dark mode, a robocall killer, and revamped Maps and Photos apps. The upgrade comes just a day before the latest iPhone models hit the shelves. (USA Today)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Microsoft (MSFT) raised its quarterly dividend by 11% and announced a stock buyback program of as much as $40 billion.

U.S. Steel (X) cut its current quarter guidance, pointing to a larger than expected drop in steel prices and deteriorating market conditions in Europe.

Diageo (DEO) said it expects to meet its full-year organic sales targets, although the spirits producer also said it is "not immune" to global trade policy changes.

Datadog (DDOG) goes public today after pricing its initial public offering at $27 per share. According to a Bloomberg report, the data analytics company turned down a more than $7 billion takeover bid from Cisco Systems (CSCO) as it prepared to go public.

RH (RH) raised its adjusted full-year EPS guidance, moving guidance above the current consensus for the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware. RH attributes the change to the closing of a $350 million convertible notes offering which allows the company to retire other debt.

WATERCOOLER

The two tiny towns of Rachel and Hiko in Nevada near the once-secret military research site Area 51 are preparing for an influx of people over the next few days. Neighbors, elected officials and event organizers said the craze sparked by an internet joke inviting people to "see them aliens" might become a cultural marker, a monumental dud or something in between. (AP)