Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks set for mixed open and Walgreens discusses going private



U.S. stock futures were pointing to a tepid Wall Street open, following a day of not much movement that nonetheless resulted in record closes for the Dow and Nasdaq. Both are on three day win streaks, with the Nasdaq rising in eight of the past 10 sessions. The S&P 500 is coming off its first drop in three days. None of the major stock measures has posted back-to-back losses in nearly a month, a streak that could end for the S&P 500 given that it fell yesterday. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the government releases its first look at third quarter productivity at 8:30 a.m. ET. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, a central bank voting member this year, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, voting member next year, both have public appearances during the trading day. (CNBC)

Corporate earnings out this morning include Michael Kors-parent Capri Holdings (CPRI), CVS Health (CVS), Humana (HUM), New York Times (NYT), Office Depot (ODP), Papa John's (PZZA) and Wendy's (WEN). This afternoon, Qualcomm (QCOM), Fox (FOX), Expedia (EXPE), GoDaddy (GDDY), Marathon Oil (MRO), Roku (ROKU), Square (SQ), TripAdvisor (TRIP) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) issue their quarterly numbers after the closing bell.

* CVS Health third-quarter profit rises 10% on Aetna sales (CNBC)

SoftBank plunged to a quarterly loss that was far larger than estimates, hit by the falling valuations of some of its biggest tech bets such as WeWork and Uber (UBER). "My investment judgment was poor in many ways and I am reflecting deeply on that," said Softbank founder Masayoshi Son. (Reuters)

Today presents the first opportunity for most Uber shareholders to sell stock since May's IPO at $45. Many shares are underwater, which could limit the selling. On Tuesday, the stock plunged nearly 10% to about $28, following the company issuing an over $1 billion loss in its latest quarter. The stock was under pressure in the premarket this morning. (CNBC)


Energy Secretary Rick Perry is set to testify before the House today in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, though he's unlikely to attend. The hearing comes just after two key testimonies were released, revealing details about the withholding of aid to Ukraine, pressure on its government and Perry's alleged involvement. (USA Today, Dallas Morning News)

* House Democrats ask White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify (CNBC)

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear pulled off an upset last night, in an apparent victory over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, dealing a blow to Trump, NBC News projects. Democrats also flipped both chambers of the Virginia state legislature, giving the party complete control of the commonwealth for the first time in years.

* Republican wins competitive race for Mississippi governor (AP)
* Airbnb suffered a big defeat in Jersey City voting. Here's what that means (NY Times)

With voting complete in Mississippi and Kentucky, Trump turns attention to the last gubernatorial contest of the year, looking to drive out Louisiana's Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, in a display of political influence ahead of the 2020 elections. Trump travels to Louisiana today, hoping to muster votes for GOP businessman Eddie Rispone. (AP)

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), a Dow component, is exploring going private in what could mark the largest leveraged buyout in history. For Walgreens, a deal to go private would be a chance to get out of the public spotlight as Democratic presidential candidates propose changes to the U.S. health-care system. Shares of Walgreens have slid about 22% over the past 12 months. (CNBC)

Xerox (XRX) is reportedly planning to make a cash-and-stock offer for PC and printer maker HP (HPQ), with informal funding commitment from a major bank. As both companies look to cut costs, sources told the Wall Street Journal that combining the companies could save more than $2 billion in expenses. HP shares were soaring about 9% in the premarket.

A hidden feature inside the Alexa software shows Amazon (AMZN) has at least considered enabling the Echo Buds earbuds to track workouts. If Amazon activates the feature on the Echo Buds, it would mark Amazon's first entrance into fitness monitoring, bringing it into more direct competition with the Apple Watch and Fitbit, which Google announced plans to acquire last week. (CNBC)

A day after meeting with investors, Kroger (KR) unveils a new logo and tagline. The grocer said it will keep the names of its local braners, like Ralphs, but wants a universal slogan to tie everything together. Kroger plans to celebrate the launch by offering shoppers free grocery pickup through Jan. 1. Normally, the service costs $4.95. (CNBC)


Match Group (MTCH) reported better-than-expected profit and revenue for its latest quarter, but the dating service operator's stock was under sharp pressure in premarket trading, after it gave lower than expected current quarter guidance. The parent of Tinder and other services said it expects to incur about $25 million this quarter for discretionary long-term investments and legal costs.

WW International (WW) beat estimates by 2 cents with quarterly profit of 68 cents per share, but the Weight Watchers parent saw revenue fall below forecasts and it also gave a current quarter earnings forecast that falls largely below Street estimates. Shares were tanking in the premarket.

Cedar Fair (FUN) reported profit of $3.34 per limited partnership unit, 10 cents below estimates, although the amusement park operator's revenue was above forecasts. CEO Richard Zimmerman said Cedar Fair is on its way to reporting the best year in the company's history.


For the holidays this year, Starbucks (SBUX) is sticking to proven customer favorites. Starting tomorrow, customers can order favorites like the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, the Eggnog Latte and the Peppermint Mocha, which is returning for its seventeenth year. The only change to the menu this year is the disappearance of the gingerbread latte, a longtime staple. (CNBC)