Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow falls on China hesitancy and Trump defends Syria withdrawal

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures turned lower Monday morning after China reportedly said it needed to have further discussions before it would sign off on the so-called phase one trade deal President Donald Trump touted on Friday. Futures were marginally higher earlier in the session before taking a nosedive following a Bloomberg report that said China trade officials wanted more talks by the end of October to discuss details of the "phase one" trade deal. (CNBC)

* Morgan Stanley warns tariff escalation remains a 'meaningful risk' (CNBC)
* China September exports, imports in deeper contraction as tariffs take toll (Reuters)
* What Chinese state media are saying about the trade talks (CNBC)
* Analysts question if phase one of US-China trade pact will last (CNBC)

Stocks are coming off a Friday rally that the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher for the week and wiped out nearly all of October's losses. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have all gained in three straight sessions, and gains today would give the S&P 500 and Nasdaq their longest win streaks since July. (CNBC)

The U.S. stock market is open today, but banks, government offices and the bond market are closed in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. The holiday means no government economic numbers will be released today. No corporate earnings reports are out this morning or after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

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IN THE NEWS TODAY

The White House is set to impose economic sanctions on Ankara, as early as this week, for its incursion into northern Syria, one of the few levers the U.S. still has over NATO-ally Turkey. Using the U.S. military to stop the Turkish offensive on U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters was never an option, defense officials have said. (Reuters)

* Syrian army moves to confront Turkish forces as US withdraws (AP)
Trump defends Syria withdrawal amid reports of atrocities and ISIS supporters escaping (CNBC)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Democratic presidential campaign this week challenged Facebook's policy that exempts politicians' ads from fact-checking, by running ads on the social media platform containing the false claim that Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorsed Trump's re-election bid. (Reuters)

Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and committing to not working for a foreign-owned company if his father, Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020. Hunter's vows to forgo any foreign work follow a slew of unsubstantiated attacks by Trump accusing him of corruption. (CNBC)

The U.K. and EU are gearing up for what could be the busiest week in British politics since the referendum in June 2016, as both sides try to thrash out a last-minute Brexit deal. This week is seen as the last in which a deal can be struck ahead of a two-day EU summit starting Thursday. (CNBC)

SoftBank has reportedly readied a financing package to take control of WeWork and further sideline the company's founder Adam Neumann. SoftBank already owns one-third of WeWork, but is aiming to invest several billion dollars in additional equity and debt in the company, to take much of Neumann's already diminished voting power. (CNBC)

Facebook's (FB) planned Libra cryptocurrency is seeing more defections, as Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) pull out out of their planned participation. PayPal (PYPL), eBay (EBAY) and Stripe previously announced they would no longer participate in Libra. (Politico)

Boeing (BA) Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg was stripped of his chairman's title, in a move the company said was designed to allow Muilenberg to focus on returning the grounded 737 Max jet to service. Boeing is facing numerous investigations and criticism over its 737 Max planes following two fatal crashes within five months of one another. (CNBC)

* Costs pile up for airlines as Boeing 737 Max grounding enters eighth month (CNBC)
* NASA chief: SpaceX and Boeing have critical tests ahead but could fly astronauts in early 2020 (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) and the United Auto Workers Union are still trying to reach agreement on a new contract as a strike enters its fifth week. The union said it will boost strike pay for 48,000 hourly workers by $25 per week to $275 as the walkout continues. (CNBC)

Economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize for creating an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. "This year's Laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty," the academy said in statement. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

ConocoPhillips (COP) announced the sale of its northern Australian business for $1.4 billion to Australian business partner Santos.

Lyft (LYFT) and Uber (UBER) are suing New York City over a new rule that limits the time its drivers are allowed to cruise in Manhattan without passengers.

PG&E (PCG) rejected an offer by the city of San Francisco to buy its power lines and other infrastructure within the city for $2.5 billion. The bankrupt utility said the offer undervalues its assets.

Kohl's (KSS) named Executive Vice President Jill Tim as its new chief financial officer. She will succeed Bruce Besanko, who will step down from that role at the retailer on Nov. 1.

Blackstone (BX) reportedly has held talks about buying a stake in Ken Griffin's Citadel. The private equity firm is said to have considered investing in both Citadel's hedge fund operations as well as in its securities trading unit.

Aecom (AEC) is near a deal to sell its management services unit to a consortium of private equity firms for $2.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. The engineering and design firm had announced plans to spin off the unit in June.

WATERCOOLER

"Joker" scored an easy victory in its second weekend at the domestic box office with $55 million in ticket sales. The Joaquin Phoenix movie dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy "The Addams Family" leading the rest of pack with more than $30 million. (Variety)