Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow plunges, 2020 Dems debate gun laws, and Britain's final Brexit offer


Investors will apparently take more than a day to get over the unexpected drop in U.S. manufacturing activity that prompted a market sell-off Tuesday. U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open that would extend stock losses following the worst day for the Dow and S&P 500 since Aug. 23. The Tuesday losses for the Dow and S&P erased their entire third quarter gains, although both still sit only 3% below their July all-time highs. (CNBC)

On the economic calendar, ADP is out with its September look at private sector employment at 8:15 a.m. ET. The Energy Department has its Wednesday report on oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

On the corporate front, Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) are both out with third quarter sales figures this morning. Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) issues quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.

Stitch Fix's (SFIX) active client base grew 18% year-over-year, reaching 3.2 million people, the online styling service said when it reported better than expected earnings after the bell. However, a profit warning sent shares tanking as much as 12% in after-hours trading. (CNBC)

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Two former officials who were engaged in the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine will meet with U.S. congressional committees starting this week, as the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump gains steam. Congressional staff are set to attend a briefing today by the State Department's inspector general Steve Linick. (Reuters)

* Pompeo rips Democrats' attempts to 'bully' State Department officials over deposition requests in impeachment inquiry (CNBC)

Ten of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination gather in Las Vegas today for a forum on gun violence, tackling an issue that has become a chief concern for their party's voters. But the specter of the impeachment inquiry into Trump could overshadow policy debates on the campaign trail. (Reuters)

* Biden releases gun plan that would reinstate assault weapons ban, establish voluntary buyback program (Washington Post)

A U.S. judge temporarily blocked a California law aimed at forcing Trump to release his personal income tax returns in order to appear on the 2020 primary ballot. The law requires candidates to file copies of their personal income tax returns dating back five years with the California secretary of state's office. (AP)

North Korea fired a ballistic missile today, a suggestion that it may have tested an underwater-launched missile for the first time in three years ahead of a resumption of nuclear talks with the United States this weekend. Japan lodged an immediate protest against North Korea, saying the missile landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. (AP)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today will unveil his final Brexit offer to the European Union and say that, if Brussels does not engage with it, Britain will stop talking and leave on Oct. 31 regardless. With less than a month left until Britain is due to leave the EU, the future of Brexit, its most significant geopolitical move since World War Two, is uncertain. (Reuters)

Europe's top trade official told CNBC her "impression" was the U.S. would introduce fresh tariffs on EU products as soon as this month, once a ruling from World Trade Organization arbitrators on the total value of allowable American countermeasures is released, as early as today. The U.S. published a list of potential targets worth roughly $25 billion.

Geopolitical tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia might be the biggest issue facing the Middle East right now but Iran's oil minister has insisted he has a good rapport with his Saudi Arabian counterpart. Bijan Zanganeh called the Saudi energy minister a "friend" today, despite rising tensions. (CNBC)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) settled lawsuits by two Ohio counties for $20.4 million, with those settlements allowing the health care company to avoid an upcoming federal trial on responsibility for the nation's opioid epidemic. J&J became the fourth drugmaker to settle claims ahead of the Federal Court trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors. (Reuters)

Facebook (FB) is seeing partners in its planned Libra payment network reconsider their involvement, according to the Wall Street Journal. Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) are among the companies said to be rethinking their commitment following backlash from government officials.

Tesla (TSLA) is on scheduled to start production in China this month, according to a Reuters report, but sources with knowledge of the matter say year-end production targets remain in doubt. Tesla is planning to make at least 1,000 new Model 3 vehicles per week from the new factory by year-end.

* Tesla is buying computer vision start-up DeepScale in a quest to create truly driverless cars (CNBC)

Microsoft (MSFT) is hosting a big hardware event in New York City today and images of three new products that are likely to make their debut were leaked early. The new computers include the alleged Surface Pro 7 tablet/laptop hybrid, 13-inch and 15-inch Surface 3 Laptops and a new Surface tablet that will reportedly run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. (CNBC)


TD Ameritrade (AMTD) said its brokerage operation will eliminate commissions for stocks and ETFs, effective Thursday. That follows a similar move by Charles Schwab (SCHW) earlier in the day that hit stocks of its rivals like TD Ameritrade, which fell more than 25% Tuesday, and E*Trade Financial (ETFC), which dropped more than 16%.

Twitter's (TWTR) website and TweetDeck dashboard management platform are back up and running, following a worldwide outage that affected thousands of users. Twitter did not give a specific reason for the outage.

Stars Group (TSG) and FanDuel parent Flutter Entertainment have agreed to merge in an all-stock deal that will create the world's largest online gambling company. Stars Group is the parent of online poker cardroom PokerStars.


Director Ava DuVernay has signed on to direct a pilot based on the "DMZ" comic series, a futuristic drama set in an American civil war, for HBO Max. DuVernay, whose Netflix (NFLX) series "When They See Us" won two Emmys, is also directing the DC superhero feature "New Gods." (Variety)