Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to drop on earnings, Zuckerberg to testify and SoftBank's WeWork deal



Dow futures turned lower after Dow stock Caterpillar (CAT) sank on disappointing earnings. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have now alternated between gains and losses for eight straight days, although all are higher than where they were before that streak began. The S&P 500 is still just 1% away from its July record close despite sliding Tuesday, while the Dow is 2% below its own record close. No government economic reports are on today's calendar. (CNBC)

Caterpillar shares tank after company cuts forecast again, earnings badly miss estimates (CNBC)

Earnings from Dow component Boeing also highlight the morning, with Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), Anthem (ANTM), Blackstone Group (BX), Boston Scientific (BSX), Eli Lilly (LLY), Freeport McMoRan (FCX), General Dynamics (GD), Hilton Worldwide (HLT), Nasdaq (NDAQ), Northern Trust (NTRS), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Owens Corning (OC) and Waste Management (WM) also out.

Dow stock Microsoft (MSFT) as well as Ford (F), and Tesla (TSLA) headline today's after-the-bell earnings reports, with Align Technology (ALGN), eBay (EBAY), Edwards Lifesciences (EW), Equifax (EFX), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), PayPal (PYPL) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE) also set to report.


SoftBank has struck a deal to take control of WeWork. The company said the Japanese conglomerate will provide $5 billion in new financing and up to $3 billion in a tender offer for existing shareholders. SoftBank will also speed up an existing $1.5 billion financing commitment. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of a House committee today about the company's cryptocurrency plans. Zuckerberg is bound to face questions that span well beyond Facebook's involvement in libra. Lawmakers are ready to seize the rare opportunity to speak with the executive on the record and under oath. (CNBC)

* Zuckerberg to tell Congress embattled libra will 'extend America's financial leadership' (CNBC)
* 47 attorneys general are investigating Facebook for antitrust violations (CNBC)

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani are to be arraigned today on charges they used straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to advance their business interests. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are expected to plead not guilty in a case that's cast a harsh light on the business dealings of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer. (AP)

Top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor testified that he was told a military aid package to Ukraine had been withheld by President Donald Trump pending an agreement by that country to launch investigations into Trump's political rivals. Trump has repeatedly denied that there was any quid pro quo. (CNBC)

* New poll: Support for impeaching Trump soars among independents (Reuters)

A "shocking, first-hand" tell-all book about Trump written by the same "Anonymous" Trump senior administration official who penned last year's scathing, unsigned New York Times op-ed column about the president will be published next month. Trump, in a tweet, last year called the op-ed and its writer treasonous. (CNBC)

The House Ways and Means Committee late Tuesday approved Speaker Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill, sending the legislation to the full House floor for a vote expected before the end of this month. The legislation, which passed three committees along partisan lines, has a high chance of approval in the Democratically controlled House. (CNBC)

Nike's (NKE) longtime CEO Mark Parker is stepping down, effective January of next year. In a sign of the company's focus on digital, he will be replaced by John Donahoe, a Nike board member and the CEO of ServiceNow. Donahoe was formerly the CEO of eBay (EBAY) and is chairman of the board at PayPal (PYPL). (CNBC)

ServiceNow stock drops as CEO leaves for Nike, replaced by former SAP leader McDermott (CNBC)
* Facebook advertising VP Rob Goldman announces his departure (CNBC)
* Boeing replaces head of commercial airplane unit amid 737 Max crisis (CNBC)

The Chinese government is reportedly developing a plan to replace Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam with a possible successor who could be installed by March. If Xi Jinping, China's president, moves forward on replacing Lam, her successor would reportedly remain in place until the end of her term in 2022. (CNBC)

* Hong Kong government withdraws bill that sparked protests (AP)
* Hong Kong protesters crash NBA opening night party (Reuters)

California's largest utility will likely decide today whether to black out some half-million customers as dangerous fire weather returns to California. PG&E (PCG) could begin precautionary power shutoffs as early as this afternoon to about 189,000 homes and businesses in portions of 16 counties, mostly in the Sierra foothills and north of the San Francisco Bay Area. (AP)


Texas Instruments (TXN) forecast current-quarter revenue well below estimates, the latest sign that the global microchip industry is being squeezed by a downturn in demand as well as a prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts' expectations and announced plans to accelerate its introduction of drive-thru lanes, which could slow down its store openings.

Six Flags (SIX) came in below forecasts with quarterly earnings, and the amusement park operator's revenue fell short as well despite a 3% increase in park attendance.

Snap, which is the maker of Snapchat, posted a slimmer-than-expected loss for the third quarter while exceeding expectations for user growth and revenue.

Whirlpool (WHR) earned better-than-expected adjusted earnings per share, but the appliance maker's revenue fell short amid lower sales in Latin America.

Amazon (AMZN) announced the expansion of its "Counter" program, which gives customers the option of picking up packages in-store at staffed locations.

Netflix (NFLX) raised $2.2 billion in a sale of junk-rated bonds. The video streaming service plans to use some of that revenue to invest in new content amid intensifying competition.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit will reportedly be at the center of a meeting of state attorneys general in Colorado next month, according to Reuters. The meeting is said to center around an antitrust probe.


Google said today it has achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing research, saying an experimental quantum processor has completed a calculation in just a few minutes that would take a traditional supercomputer thousands of years. (AP)