Morning Brief

What to watch today: Another 2020 Dem, Ichan's HP stake and China trade talk snag


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly lower open on Wall Street, a day after the Dow and S&P 500 both set record closing highs even in the wake of new doubts about a U.S.-China trade deal. The Dow has not lost ground in five sessions while the S&P 500 has risen in five of the past six sessions. The Nasdaq did fall yesterday, putting it in jeopardy of posting the first back-to-back losses for any of the major stock measures in over a month. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, at 8:30 a.m. ET, the government releases its weekly initial jobless claims numbers and its October producer price index. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will be back on Capitol Hill this morning, testifying before the House Budget Committee. That follows his appearance before the Joint Economic Committee. (CNBC)

Powell told lawmakers Wednesday that monetary policy is likely to remain appropriate and the current economic outlook looks favorable. He added the "new normal" for the U.S. and the world is lower interest rates, lower inflation and probably lower growth. Powell didn't comment on a wealth tax or what more tax cuts would mean for the economy. (CNBC)

Retail giant Walmart (WMT), one of the 30 Dow components, is the most prominent company releasing quarterly earnings this morning. Canopy Growth (CGC), Dillard's (DDS) and Viacom (VIAB) also out before-the bell. Applied Materials (AMAT) and Nvidia (NVDA) are out with earnings after the closing bell. (CNBC)

* Dow stock Cisco falls as company forecasts revenue decline (CNBC)


The high-stakes trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are running into trouble as the two countries attempt to finalize a limited trade agreement. The U.S. is trying to secure stronger concessions from China to regulate IP protections and to stop the practice of forced technology transfer in exchange for rolling back some of the tariffs. (CNBC)

* China's Commerce Ministry says trade war should be ended by removing tariffs (CNBC)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is launching a new attack on the billionaires who have criticized her proposed taxes and policies with a new ad set to air on CNBC today. It takes aim at longtime investor Leon Cooperman, former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will test the waters in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, expanding an already jammed field less than three months before nominating contests start. Patrick, 63, joins former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in taking steps to campaign as a left of center alternative to the leading candidates. (CNBC)

Several more witnesses scheduled to testify in the House impeachment hearings over the next week are expected to say they too are worried about President Donald Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid from the country. Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador, testifies tomorrow. (AP)

Trump said he could not recall a phone call he allegedly had with his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, on July 26, one day after Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for "a favor." The call was first revealed by Trump's top diplomat in Ukraine in his Wednesday testimony. (CNBC)

The jury will begin deliberations today in the trail of Trump advisor Roger Stone, who is accused of seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements in testimony during the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. (Reuters)

Activist investor Carl Icahn reportedly has bought a $1.2 billion stake in HP and is pushing for the personal computer maker's merger with printer maker Xerox, arguing that a union could yield big profits for investors. Xerox made a roughly $33 billion cash-and-stock offer for HP, a company more than three times Xerox's size, Reuters reported last week.

WeWork's losses continued to mount in the third quarter, reflecting a fast-growth strategy undertaken by ousted CEO Adam Neumann. The deck showed losses of $1.25 billion, up more than 150% from a loss of $497 million in the same period a year earlier. Occupancy rates decreased to 79%, its lowest figure since mid-2017. (CNBC)

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said the company's Singles Day performance missed expectations and blamed the hot weather and the fact the huge shopping event fell on a weekday. While Singles Day GMV was above market forecasts, raking up over $38.3 billion in gross merchandise value, Ma said they didn't meet his expectations. (CNBC)

Disney signed up 10 million customers for its Disney+ streaming services within the first day of its broad international launch, the company said Wednesday. Though Disney is offering a seven-day free trial, so likely not all of the sign-ups represent customers who will continue to pay for the service. (CNBC)


American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) will separate its Smith & Wesson firearms unit into a new public company. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020.

Peloton Interactive (PTON) is planning to introduce a cheaper treadmill and rowing machine next year, according to a Bloomberg report. Peloton is also said to be thinking about apps for Amazon's Fire TV and the Apple Watch.

Kraft Heinz (KHC) was downgraded to "sell" from "neutral" by Goldman Sachs in a valuation call. The food producer's stock is up more than 20% over the past month, but is still down more than 23% for the year.


Hostess fans can rejoice that another one of their favorite snacks will be transformed into a bite-sized cereal version. Post Holdings and Hostess Brands announced that Twinkies Cereal will debut in grocery stores in late December. A Post spokeswoman called the move "the most logical choice." (CNBC)

A week after winter and red cups arrived at Starbucks (SBUX), the coffee giant has a festive deal today. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., there's a buy-one-get-one free offer on all handcrafted beverages, grande or larger. To get this deal, you need to order on the app and at participating locations. (USA Today)