Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow points to mixed open as earnings roll in; Russia probe shifts to criminal investigation

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures pointed to a mixed open this morning, as the Dow is poised to open higher, but the broader S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are indicated lower ahead of the week's final trading day. The S&P 500 is coming off its highest close since July 30 and sits 0.5% below its record closing high set on July 26. It is also on track for a third straight weekly gain, while the Nasdaq is on pace for its fourth consecutive positive week. (CNBC)

Today's lone economic report comes at 10 a.m. ET, when the University of Michigan releases its final October Consumer Sentiment Index. (CNBC)

It's also a lighter day when it comes to earnings. Dow component Verizon (VZ) will release its third-quarter earnings this morning, along with Charter Communications (CHTR), Goodyear Tire (GT), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), Phillips 66 (PSX) and VF Corp. (VFC). No earnings are scheduled after today's closing bell.

Amazon's (AMZN) third-quarter earnings fell short of street expectations, driving its stock down as much as 9% in after-hours trading. It also gave dismal revenue guidance for the holiday shopping season, spooking investors who were expecting a huge pay off from Amazon's growing investments across the company. (CNBC)

* Jeff Bezos lost about $7 billion on Thursday (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Department of Justice has shifted its review of the Russia probe to a criminal investigation. It's a move that is likely to raise concerns that President Donald Trump and his allies may be using the powers of the government to go after their opponents. It is not clear what potential crimes are being investigated.

* Democrats see no need to hear from Ukraine whistleblower (Washington Post)

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said today she will focus on her White House bid and not run for re-election to her congressional seat. While lagging behind in a crowded Democratic presidential field, Gabbard has gotten renewed attention lately after a heated argument with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (AP)

The current limbo for Brexit is set to last until early next week after EU ambassadors failed to reach an agreement over the U.K.'s request for a deadline extension. EU ambassadors discussed this morning what sort of delay should be granted to the U.K. for its current Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. They accepted that a delay was needed but couldn't agree on a firm date. (CNBC)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Tom Cotton asked intelligence officials to investigate whether the popular Chinese-owned app TikTok poses national security risks. The senators raised concerns about the video-sharing platform's collection of user data and whether China censors content seen by U.S. users. (Reuters)

Indonesia has called for better Boeing (BA) cockpit systems and oversight by U.S. regulators after design flaws helped bring down a Lion Air 737 Max jet, a crash that was compounded by errors from ground staff and crew. In the report, regulators criticized the design of the MCAS system, which automatically pushed the plane's nose down, leaving pilots fighting for control. (Reuters)

* Airline chiefs grow frustrated as 737 Max grounding costs near $1 billion (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) today announced the launch of Facebook News, a new section of the social network that will show users a personalized selection of news stories. The company has been working on the project for months, and it will reportedly pay as much as millions of dollars to news publications for licensing fees to run their stories on Facebook. (CNBC)

Walmart (WMT), CVS Health (WVS) and Rite Aid (RAD) are pulling all containers of Johnson & Johnson's 22-ounce baby powder after the FDA found sub-trace amounts of asbestos. Last week, J&J (JNJ) voluntarily recalled an estimated 33,000 bottles of its 22-ounce baby powder and is working with investigators to determine the integrity of the test sample. (CNBC)

Private space tourism is about to go public. Shareholders approved Virgin Galactic's merger with one of Chamath Palihapitiya's ventures, according to SEC filings, setting up the space tourism company to list directly on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. Virgin Galactic will become the first human spaceflight company to trade on public markets. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Intel (INTC) reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit revenue and forecasts. Intel also raised its full-year revenue outlook amid strong demand, and it added $20 billion to its share buyback program.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) came in 1 cent above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.75 per share, with the drug maker's revenue essentially in line with forecasts. Gilead did see lower-than-expected sales of its cancer treatment Yescarta.

Visa (V) beat Wall Street estimates with adjusted third-quarter profit and revenue. Visa's results were boosted by more spending on debit and credit cards. The company also announced a 20% dividend increase.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) cut its full-year profit forecast, as sales of its beers fall in markets like Brazil and South Korea.

Citigroup (C) named Latin American chief Jane Fraser as president and head of its consumer bank, putting her in line to eventually succeed Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat.

Booking Holdings (BKNG) was downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at Raymond James. The firm said the Street appears overly optimistic on revenue growth and profit margins for the operator of Priceline, Kayak and other travel booking sites.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at Goldman Sachs, which points to a healthy athletic market as well as better service and a more differentiated experience at Dick's stores.

Uber Technologies (UBER) was rated "buy" in new coverage at Guggenheim. The firm said the ride-hailing service operator has underappreciated pricing leverage, among other factors.

Avis Budget (CAR) was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Deutsche Bank, which points to softer pricing for the car rental company as well as the pending retirement of CEO Larry De Shon.

WATERCOOLER

Amazon renewed its anthology series "Modern Love," which is adapted from a New York Times column, for a second season that's set to air in 2020. The show debuted its first season just a week ago and includes stars such as Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel, and Olivia Cooke. (Variety)