Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow's mixed message ahead of trade talks and Trump's campaign rally


Uncertainty over the fate of China trade talks has been buffeting futures overnight, with Dow futures pointing to everything from losses of several hundred points to small gains. Stocks did gain Wednesday for the first time in three days, but the Dow and S&P 500 remain on track for a fourth straight losing week, with the S&P 500 having, so far, its worst week since the week ending Aug. 23. (CNBC)

* Fidelity is the latest to cut online trading commissions to zero (WSJ)

U.S. and Chinese negotiators are scheduled to begin a 13th round of talks today aimed at ending a 15-month trade war that is worrying global investors and weighing on the world economy. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead a delegation into meetings in Washington with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. (AP)

* US reportedly plans to grant licenses for firms to sell goods to blacklisted Huawei (NY Times)
* GM's third-quarter China vehicle sales down 17.5%, as U.S. automakers cede ground (Reuters)

On today's economic calendar, the government issues its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET along with the September consumer price index. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speak today. Delta Air Lines (DAL) issues its quarterly earnings this morning.(CNBC)

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) were surging about 20% in premarket trading, after the retailer named Target (TGT) chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton as its new chief executive officer. Target, meanwhile, named Michael Fiddelke as its next executive vice president and chief financial officer. (CNBC)


In the latest fallout over the Houston Rockets general manager's pro-Hong Kong protests tweet, all of the usual media sessions surrounding the Lakers-Nets preseason game in Shanghai today have been canceled. However, the game was to proceed as scheduled. (AP)

Hong Kong protesters prepared for demonstrations around the city today as shopping malls said they would close early to avoid becoming targets. Additionally, the city's metro, which has borne the brunt of the violent unrest, will close three hours early. (Reuters)

Apple (AAPL) removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements from its app store, saying it violated rules because it was used to ambush police. The U.S. tech giant had come under fire from China over the app, with the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper saying the app helped Hong Kong protesters. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump today heads to his first campaign rally since being engulfed in the swirl of an impeachment investigation, an event expected to pack an extra punch. Ahead of his arrival, Trump traded insults via Twitter with the Minneapolis mayor over who should pay the security costs for the downtown rally. (AP)

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said today there was no blackmail during a Trump call in July that's since set in motion a House Democrats impeachment inquiry. Zelensky has come under pressure to shed light on a phone call, in which the U.S. president asked Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (CNBC)

* Biden calls for Trump's impeachment for the first time (CNBC)
* Trump opens door to cooperate with House impeachment probe (WSJ)
* Fox News poll: 51% favor Trump's impeachment and removal from office (USA Today)

Turkey said its forces seized designated targets on the second day of an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria, after a withdrawal by U.S. forces opened up a new phase in the region's eight-year-old conflict. Senior Republicans condemned for making way for the incursion and abandoning Syrian Kurds. (Reuters)

Trump defended his decision to allow the Turkish offensive, saying the U.S.-allied Kurds, who spearheaded the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, did not help the U.S. during World War II. "Now the Kurds are fighting for their land," Trump told reporters. (CNBC)

PG&E (PCG) shares were under pressure, down about 20% in the premarket, after a judge ruled that a rival bankruptcy plan from Elliott Management and other bondholders could be considered. The ruling stripped PG&E of an exclusive right to propose a Chapter 11 recovery plan.

* PG&E cuts power to a million people in California to prevent wildfires amid hot, windy weather (CNBC)


Mississippi dropped its legal challenge to the proposed $26.5 billion merger between wireless carriers Sprint (S) and T-Mobile US (TMUS). That follows an agreement between the two sides that will expand high speed internet access to the state's rural areas.

UnitedHealth (UNH) was downgraded to hold from buy at Jefferies, which points to tough competition from health care rival Anthem (ANTM) as well as policy uncertainty related to recent court rulings and the upcoming presidential election.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) was downgraded to neutral from buy at Goldman Sachs (GS), which is concerned about the impact of continuing weakness in enterprise spending on the networking equipment maker.


U.S. gymnast Simone Biles is likely to win the all-around title at the World Gymnastics Championships today. Biles, who has the most World Championship medals of any woman gymnast, hasn't lost an all-around competition since 2013. (USA Today)