Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to hit all-time high, McDonald's fires CEO and Under Armour tanks


Renewed trade deal hopes are giving a boost to U.S. stock futures, with the Dow indicated to set a record intraday high at the open. The Dow has not set an all-time high since July 16, lagging behind the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which both closed at record levels Friday. The S&P 500 is on track for its best yearly percentage gain since 2013, and the Nasdaq is less than 2 percentage points from doing the same. (CNBC)

Shares of Under Armour (UAA) were plummeting in premarket trading after the company confirmed it's the subject of federal investigations by the DOJ and SEC over its accounting practices. Under Armour began responding in July 2017 to requests for documents and information related to its accounting practices and related disclosures. Under Armour reports earnings before the stock market opens. (CNBC)

* Under Armour earnings: 23 cents a share, vs 18 cents EPS expected (CNBC)

We're more than halfway through third-quarter earnings season, but there's still a number of other big names reporting this week. Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Sprint (S) are among this morning's before-the-bell releases. Shake Shack (SHAK), Uber (UBER), Marriott (MAR) and Groupon (GRPN) are out after this afternoon's market close. (CNBC)

The only economic report of the day comes at 10 a.m. ET, when the government releases September factory orders. (CNBC)


McDonald's (MCD) said it fired Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook for violating company policy by having a consensual relationship with an employee. The company said the board determined Easterbrook "demonstrated poor judgment" by engaging in the relationship. He will be replaced by USA President Chris Kempczinski, effective immediately. (CNBC)

Airbnb will ban "party houses" after a deadly shooting at a California home that had been rented through the service. In a series of tweets on Saturday, Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky said the company would take steps to "combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct." (CNBC)

United Auto Workers' President Gary Jones went on a leave of absence, effective Sunday, after a vote by the union's executive board, amid a widening federal corruption probe into the union. IRS and FBI agents raided Jones' home in August, one of several targets in a multi-state raid. (CNBC)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started to look into possible battery defects in Tesla (TSLA) sedans and SUVs after some cars spontaneously burst into flames. The development raises yet more safety concerns for the high-profile electric vehicle manufacturer. (NY Times)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to begin as early as this month. She said there's no deadline to finish the investigation, which centers around Trump's push for Ukraine to launch probes involving his political rivals such as former Vice President Joe Biden. (CNBC)

* Whistleblower willing to answer GOP questions, lawyer says (AP)

Impeachment investigators have called in 11 witnesses this week, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former national security advisor John Bolton. It's unclear whether any of them will come to Capitol Hill. Top White House lawyer John Eisenberg, who has piqued investigators' interest, is slated to testify today. (AP)

* White House officials not expected to show for testimony in impeachment inquiry (WSJ)
A year out from the 2020 election, nearly half of Americans want Trump impeached and removed, new NBC/WSJ poll says (CNBC)

Washington pitcher Sean Doolittle became the first Nationals player to confirm that he won't attend today's ceremony at the White House, honoring the team for winning the World Series. Multiple people close to the Nationals reportedly said a handful of players are wrestling with the decision. (Washington Post)

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that licenses for United States companies to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei are coming "very shortly," and expressed hope that the U.S. would reach a trade deal with China this month. (CNBC)

Scores of people were injured in Hong Kong during a chaotic weekend of anti-government protests, authorities said today, as China called for a tougher stance to end months of unrest in the Asian financial hub. In one bloody incident in Cityplaza, a man with a knife slashed several people and bit off part of a politician's ear. (Reuters)

Valuations for Saudi Aramco vary by more than $1 trillion, according to fund managers who have seen banks' research, underscoring the uncertainty hanging over what could be the world's largest stock market listing. Fund managers are poring over bank research after Aramco announced yesterday its intention to float on the Riyadh stock market. (Reuters)


Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) reported better-than-expected financials with its quarterly earnings and revenue. Growth in Berkshire's business lines helped spur the beat, despite a growing cash pile that Warren Buffett has found difficult to deploy.

United Auto Workers union leadership approved the new tentative labor deal struck with Ford Motor (F) last week. The agreement now goes to the membership for ratification.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Peugeot parent PSA Groupe are aiming at signing a merger agreement as early as the beginning of December, according to a Reuters report. The two automakers had said last week that they had initiated talks aimed at striking a 50/50 merger deal.

Harley-Davidson (HOG) was downgraded to underweight from sector weight at KeyBanc Capital Markets, citing concerns about increased competition for the motorcycle maker.

Papa John's (PZZA) was downgraded to hold from buy at Jefferies in a valuation call, with Jefferies also citing increased competition not only among pizza chains but among restaurants in general.


Olivia Newton-John's iconic "Grease" leather jacket and skintight pants fetched $405,700 total at an auction this past weekend. Other "Grease" memorabilia included a Pink Ladies jacket that went for $50,000 and a poster signed by Newton-John, John Travolta, director Randal Kleiser and producer and songwriter John Farrar, which sold for $64,000. (AP)