Morning Brief

What to watch today: US exempts more Chinese goods from tariffs and new iPhones hit shelves

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly higher open ahead of the Friday session, with weekly results hanging in the balance. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all aiming for a fourth straight positive week, but the Dow is down 125 points for the week ahead of Friday trading, with the S&P 500 flat and the Nasdaq up 6 points.

* Treasury yields fall as traders monitor US-China trade talks (CNBC)

The quarterly "quadruple witching," featuring the expiration of a variety of options and futures contracts, could add to volatility today. Trading has turned somewhat muted in recent weeks with neither the Dow nor S&P 500 posting a move of 1% or more since Sept. 5. By contrast, the Dow posted 12 moves of 1% or more in August, with the S&P 500 doing so 11 times.

No government economic reports are out today, but investors will have three Fed-related events to ponder. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida will be a guest on CNBC's "Squawk on The Street" at 10 a.m. ET, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will have public appearances. No earnings reports are scheduled for today, either this morning or after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

* Fed's Bullard says cutting rates by a half point would have been 'more appropriate' (CNBC)

The opening hour of "Squawk on the Street" is now a podcast. Listen to market moving news and interviews on the go. Got any questions, comments or ideas for us here at "Morning Squawk?" Email morningsquawk@nbcuni.com.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The U.S. is temporarily exempting more than 400 types of Chinese products from tariffs that President Donald Trump's administration imposed last year. The exclusions include things like Christmas tree lights, plastic straws and dog leashes. They are part of the $250 billion worth of Chinese goods that the U.S. hit with tariffs last year. (CNBC)

* US and Chinese trade deputies face off in Washington (Reuters)
* 'We were wrong': Koch network to change strategy against Trump's trade war after ad campaign falls short (CNBC)

Ten Democratic presidential candidates, including frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden and close second Sen. Elizabeth Warren, will gather today at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to discuss LGBTQ issues. (USA Today)

* Idea of Warren presidency frightens investors at the CNBC-Institutional Investor 'Delivering Alpha 'conference: 'She's not my candidate of choice'

The House passed a bill to fund the government for two months and avoid another shutdown. The Democratic-held chamber approved the measure to keep the government running through Nov. 21. It now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he will back a temporary spending plan. (CNBC)

The Pentagon will present a broad range of military options to Trump today as he considers how to respond to what administration officials say was an unprecedented Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia's oil industry. The president will be presented with a list of potential airstrike targets inside Iran, among other possible responses, the AP reported.

The FDA has opened a criminal probe into the cause of a mysterious vaping-related lung disease that has sickened 530 people and killed eight. Investigators still haven't found a cause for the vaping-related lung disease that first starting showing up in doctors' offices across the country in July. (CNBC)

* Romney, Merkley introduce bill to tax vaping industry and ban flavored e-cigarettes (CNBC)
* Sales of illicit vaping products find home online (WSJ)

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg's meetings in Washington this week included a conversation with Trump at the White House. U.S. regulators have been eyeing the tech giant, with the FTC in July fining Facebook $5 billion over the company's privacy policies.

* Ex-Facebook engineer posts YouTube videos mocking the culture and joking about how he was fired (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) will see whether upgraded features on the new iPhone are enough to lure shoppers to retail stores around the world as the new smartphones officially hit shelves today. Some analysts have pointed to strong demand in pre-orders, especially the lowest-price $699 iPhone 11, as a positive sign for Apple heading into the crucial holiday quarter. (CNBC)

* You might want to skip today's big iPhone update (CNBC)

Food delivery service Postmates raised another $225 million at a valuation of $2.4 billion ahead of its initial public offering. According to TechCrunch, the business plans to publicly unveil its IPO prospectus this month and join the slew of companies going public this year.

* Fintech company Stripe joins Silicon Valley elite with $35 billion valuation (WSJ)

Several businesses across the nation are closing down today for the Global Climate Strike. Ben & Jerry's, Lush, Patagonia, SodaStream and Burton are encouraging their employees or customers to participate in the strike by closing for the day or for several hours. (USA Today)

* Jeff Bezos unveils sweeping plan to tackle climate change (CNBC)

Delta (DAL) passengers on their way from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, received a major scare Wednesday as their plane dropped nearly 30,000 feet in the space of under eight minutes, forcing a diversion to Tampa. (USA Today)

STOCKS TO WATCH

In executive changes, Beyond Meat (BYND) hired Sanjay Shah as the meat-alternative maker's chief operating officer. Shah had previously been senior vice president of Tesla's (TSLA) solar business. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has named Alison Rose as its new Chief Executive Officer. She is the first woman to hold the top spot at a major British lender. Xilinx (XLNX) Chief Financial Officer Lorenzo Flores is leaving the chipmaker, which has started a search for a replacement.

Texas Instruments (TXN) raised its quarterly dividend by 17%. The chipmaker will now pay 90 cents per share, up from the prior 77 cents, with the next dividend payable Nov. 18 to stockholders of record on Oct. 31.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit will invest $3.3 billion over the next two years to expand its European data centers.

Etsy (ETSY) was upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC Capital Markets, which thinks three recently announced initiatives will have a positive impact on the online crafts marketplace operator's performance.

Roku (ROKU) was rated "sell" in new coverage at Pivotal Research, which points to increasing competition in the streaming device business which will likely drive the cost of such devices to zero.

Molson Coors (TAP) was rated "buy" in new coverage at MKM Partners, which notes the effectiveness of a new Coors Light ad campaign.

J.C Penney (JCP) is preparing for debt restructuring talks ahead of the holiday shopping season, according to a Bloomberg report. Sources say declaring bankruptcy is not a focus of the anticipated talks.

WATERCOOLER

Focus Features' big-screen take on "Downton Abbey" is expected to dominate the box office this weekend, though Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo: Last Blood" is inching closer. Pre-release tracking suggests the two films will open in the $18 million-$22 million range. Space thriller Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, is looking to open in the mid-teen millions range. (Hollywood Reporter)