Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise, word of US-China tariff agreement and Big Tech probes

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were jumping after Chinese officials said that Washington and Beijing would begin to remove tariffs in phases. If current levels hold, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq would all set intraday record highs at the Wall Street open. Despite a meandering market over the past two days, the S&P 500 was already on track for a fifth straight weekly gain, while the Nasdaq is on pace to rise for a sixth consecutive week. (CNBC)

* EU cuts growth forecasts for the euro zone on global trade tensions (CNBC)

Chinese officials also said both sides were closer to cementing last month's "phase one" trade agreement following constructive negotiations over the past two weeks. However, there were reports Wednesday that an anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be postponed until December. (CNBC)

* Forbes reveals China's 10 richest people, with tech leaders in top two spots (CNBC)

On today's U.S. economic calendar, the Labor Department issues its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. At 3 p.m. ET, the government is out with consumer credit figures for September. (CNBC)

It's a packed day for earnings, with Discovery (DISCA), Dish Network (DISH), Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), PG&E (PCG), Ralph Lauren (RL) and Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) reporting this morning. Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) highlights the after-the-bell numbers. Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Booking Holdings (BKNG), Dropbox (DBX), GoPro (GPRO), Lionsgate (LGF) and Yelp (YELP) are also out this afternoon. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The House will hold its first public hearings in the Trump impeachment inquiry next week as the probe progresses. The announcement furthers the House Democratic effort to move its investigation of Trump into the public eye after weeks of interviews behind closed doors. (CNBC)

* Trump envoy testifies he had a 'clear understanding' Ukraine military aid was tied to investigations (CNBC)

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce today that he is entering the race for his old U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, the AP reported. Sessions will be making a return to the political stage a year after stepping down as Trump's first attorney general when their relationship soured over his recusal from the Russia investigation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders would revamp North American trade relationships and expand protections for workers as part of a sweeping new immigration plan. Sanders said he would seek to temporarily halt deportations, decriminalize border crossings and "break up" the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies. (CNBC)

* Elizabeth Warren offers to meet with Bill Gates over wealth tax (CNBC)
* Kamala Harris introduces bill to lengthen school day by three hours (CNBC)

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will testify against Trump's longtime political advisor and confidant Roger Stone during his trial. Bannon is not a voluntary witness, but was commanded to testify by prosecutors after fighting off several subpoenas, CNBC reported.

The Trump administration will announce its highly anticipated policy on flavored e-cigarettes "very soon," Trump's senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said. Trump and top health officials on Sept. 11 said the administration was readying a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and would introduce the policy within weeks.(CNBC)

* Trump administration sues Gilead, accusing HIV-drug maker of profiting from taxpayer research (NY Times)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) board of directors has opened an investigation into how executives handled claims of sexual harassment and other misconduct, including behavior of Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, who has been accused of having relationships with employees. (CNBC)

New court documents filed give the first look into the state of California's 18-month-long investigation into Facebook's (FB) privacy dealings. California State Attorney General said Facebook has been "dragging its feet" by failing to comply with subpoenas. (CNBC)

* Justice Department charges two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia (CNBC)

U.S. and European regulators have asked Boeing (BA) to revise documentation on its proposed 737 MAX software fix, further complicating its efforts to return the jet to service by year-end. Officials reportedly flagged a number of issues over the weekend at a facility, during a documentation audit of how the new software was developed. (Reuters)

* CEO says Boeing will be quicker to ground planes in the event of future crashes (CNBC)

Lufthansa flight attendants went on a 48-hour strike over pay and pensions today, forcing the biggest German airline to cancel hundreds of flights. Lufthansa announced it expected to cancel a total of 1,300 connections on Thursday and Friday, with 180,000 passengers affected. (Reuters)

Nielsen (NLSN), the media research firm famous for its TV ratings, plans to split into two independent publicly traded companies. The company said it would spin off its Global Connect business from its Global Media unit. As part of the split, Nielsen plans to cut its dividend. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Qualcomm (QCOM) reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly and revenue. Its results were boosted by its licensing operation, most notably from its licensing deal with Apple (AAPL).

Roku (ROKU) lost 22 cents per share for the third quarter, 6 cents smaller-than-anticipated, and the video streaming device maker also saw revenue come in above estimates. The shares are coming under pressure, however, as losses widened from a year earlier and Roku spent more on acquiring new subscribers.

Expedia (EXPE) fell 42 cents shy of consensus with adjusted quarterly profit of $3.38 per share, and the travel website operator's revenue was slightly below estimates as well. Expedia also saw other key metrics fall short of analyst forecasts and cut its full-year guidance.

Shares of TripAdvisor (TRIP) were falling in premarket trading after it missed estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings and while revenue fell. The company said the quarter was more difficult than it anticipated, and that it would undergo a cost structure evaluation.

Square (SQ) reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly earnings and revenue. The payment processing company saw its results helped by growth in its subscription and services business.

McDonald's (MCD) CEO Chris Kempczinski bought about $500,000 in company shares, according to an SEC filing. Kempczinski had not owned any McDonald's shares prior to being appointed CEO this past weekend.

HP Inc. (HPQ) said it had held talks with Xerox (XRX) about a "potential business combination," following reports that Xerox was mulling a cash-and-stock offer to acquire the computer and printer maker.

WATERCOOLER

Warner Bros.' sequel to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" will likely top the box office, and is expected to reach $25 million to $30 million in its North American launch. "Doctor Sleep," based on Stephen King's novel, takes places decades after the events in "The Shining" unfolded. (Variety)