Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow rises on Trump's China optimism and Iran says missiles struck tanker

BY THE NUMBERS

With President Donald Trump casting a positive view on the China trade talks, U.S. stock futures were pointing to a sharply higher open. The projected gains would send the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq positive for the week, and put the Dow and S&P in position for their first weekly gains in four weeks. The averages could also come close to erasing what's so far been a losing October. If the Nasdaq rises today, it would chalk up its first three-day win streak in two months. (CNBC)

* 'Unfathomable market' — Jim Cramer warns against buying or selling on US-China trade headlines (CNBC)
* Treasury yields tick lower amid US-China trade talks (CNBC)

Oil prices rose sharply this morning after Iranian state media said two rockets had struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea. The incident comes amid heightened tensions in the region. Predawn attacks in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14 hit two of its largest production facilities. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the government is out with September import and export prices at 8:30 a.m. ET. The University of Michigan issues its mid-October consumer sentiment index at 10 a.m. ET. CNBC's Steve Liesman moderates a Q&A Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari this morning. Additionally, Fastenal (FAST) issues quarterly earnings this morning, while no reports are on the schedule for this afternoon. (CNBC)

* Pound shoots higher following 'constructive' Brexit talks between Britain and EU (CNBC)

Saudi Arabia's crown jewel Saudi Aramco, the world's most profitable oil company, is aiming to go public by late November. The company reportedly could get a final recommendation on the valuation from its investment banks today. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for a valuation of as much as $2 trillion. (CNBC)

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IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump is set to meet with China's top trade official today. Trump yesterday gave an optimistic read on the "very good" trade talks as the world's two largest economies try to end a damaging trade war. The discussions come only days before an Oct. 15 deadline when the U.S. plans to hike duties on at least $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% from 25%. (CNBC)

Vice Premier Liu He told Chinese state-run media agency Xinhua that China carries "great sincerity" for the talks. Multiple reports suggest the U.S. is thinking about suspending a tariff increase scheduled for next week in exchange for a currency pact, a partial deal the U.S. and China were close to agreeing on in previous talks. (CNBC)

House Democrats issued a subpoena to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the latest salvo in the party's impeachment probe into whether Trump abused his power through his interactions with the leadership of Ukraine. Perry has come into focus for his role encouraging Trump to take the July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president at the center of the investigation. (CNBC)

* At Minneapolis rally, an angry Trump reserves sharpest attack for Biden (NY Times)
* Three House panels hope to hear from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine today (USA Today)
* Two business associates of Trump's personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges (Washington Post)

Former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy has joined Trump's legal team amid a fast-moving impeachment inquiry in the House — but he won't be able to start until next year due to federal lobbying rules. Gowdy was fired from a contributor role at Fox News prior to the announcement. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) is urging the United Auto Workers to agree to "around-the-clock" bargaining in an attempt to reach a tentative agreement and potentially end the union's strike against the automaker, which is now in its 25th day. Wall Street analysts estimate GM is losing roughly $50 million to $100 million per day in lost production. (CNBC)

Ford (F) said China sales fell 30% during the third quarter, with the automaker delivering about 131,000 vehicles from July through September. Ford's China sales had fallen by about 36% in the first quarter and about 22% in the second quarter. (Reuters)

Bill McDermott is stepping down as SAP's (SAP) CEO after more than nine years running the German software company. The company's new chief executives told CNBC they do not see a slowdown in any of the regions they operate in and dismissed fears of a recession and the risks associated with the U.S.-China trade war.

Walmart (WMT) announced that its president and CEO in the U.S., Greg Foran, is stepping down, to be replaced by the head of its wholesale Sam's Club business, John Furner. Renault dismissed CEO Thierry Bollore, who replaced Carlos Ghosn, today and named Clotilde Delbos as interim chief. (CNBC)

A deadly lung illness linked to vaping has killed more than two dozen people across 21 states as U.S. health officials struggle to identify a precise cause of the outbreak. The agency said the total number of probable cases is now 1,299 and has been found in 49 states, plus Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands. (CNBC)

A typhoon was forecast to bring 2 feet of rain and damaging winds to the Tokyo area and central Japan's Pacific coast. All Nippon Airways grounded its domestic flights scheduled on Saturday at Tokyo's Haneda and Narita international airports, while Japan Airlines has canceled all but early morning flights at Tokyo airports. (AP)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize today for his efforts to achieve peace with neighboring Eritrea. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had been the favorite to win, though Ahmed, elected leader in 2018, was the bookmakers' second favorite to win. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Slack Technologies (WORK) said it had more than 12 million active daily users during September, up 37% from a year ago. The workplace messaging company also said it had more than six million paid seats during the month.

WPP Group (WPP) and Omnicom (OMC) are among the U.S.-traded advertising stocks that could be hit today after French rival Publicis cut its full-year sales outlook.

Deckers Outdoor (DECK) was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Stifel Nicolaus, which said the footwear maker's product mix now gives the company protection from weather-related volatility.

Roku (ROKU) was upgraded by RBC Capital to outperform from sector perform. RBC points to a compelling valuation following a 31% decline in the streaming video device maker's stock, as well as strong fundamentals.

WATERCOOLER

Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg said in a discussion at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that computing costs are a big hurdle for scientists. Genomic data and analysis require massive IT and storage capabilities. Zuckerberg joked that he should bring it up with Amazon's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos, "Let's call up Jeff and talk about this." (CNBC)