Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures mixed, Charles Schwab wants to buy TD Ameritrade


U.S. stock futures pointed to a mixed open on Thursday as Wall Street remains on edge over global economic tensions. Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments after U.S. legislation on Hong Kong threatened to complicate trade discussions between the world's two largest economies. (CNBC)

Charles Schwab (SCHW) is in talks to buy TD Ameritrade (AMTD), and a deal could be announced as early as today. Shares of TD Ameritrade soared as much as 22% in premarket trading on the report. A deal between Schwab and TD Ameritrade would consolidate an industry that has been going through massive disruption. In recent months, all of the major brokerages have announced plans to go to zero commissions. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index for November is released at 8:30 a.m. ET. October existing home sales figures are out at 10 a.m. ET. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari speak today. Retail earnings continue today, with Macy's (M) before the bell, followed by Nordstrom (JWN), Gap (GPS), and Ross Stores (ROST) after the bell. (CNBC)


House impeachment investigators will hear today from two witnesses who said they grew alarmed by how President Donald Trump and others in his orbit were conducting foreign policy in Ukraine, capping an intense week in the inquiry. Yesterday, Gordon Sondland said Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani explicitly sought a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine. (AP)

* 3 things we learned in Sondland's impeachment testimony (CNBC)
* 'I want nothing!' Trump denies Sondland's claim there was a Ukraine 'quid pro quo' (CNBC)

The 10 leading Democratic presidential contenders took to the debate stage last night after a momentous day of impeachment testimony in Washington. Much of the ire was directed at President Donald Trump, with Sen. Bernie Sanders calling him the "most corrupt president in the modern history of the United States of America." (CNBC)

* Joe Biden says he would let Justice Department decide whether to prosecute Trump if he is elected (CNBC)
* Elizabeth Warren pushes her wealth tax plan as a way to unite the country (CNBC)
* Biden retakes lead in poll of New York Democrats (WSJ)

Billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg put his name on Democratic primary ballots in Texas on Wednesday, paving the way for a possible late entry into the presidential race. Bloomberg had already registered to appear on the ballot in Alabama and Arkansas. (Reuters)

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly invited U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a face-to-face trade meeting in Beijing, adding China hopes a round of talks can take place before next Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. (WSJ)

* China says 'external rumors' about the trade talks are not accurate (CNBC)
* China demands Trump veto bills on Hong Kong (AP)

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that legalizes marijuana on the federal level, removing it from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Some Republican members expressed concerns that the bill, which will likely be passed in the full House, went too far and that it was unlikely to be taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate. (CNBC)

Trump has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow with vaping industry executives and public health advocates, among others, as he weighs a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Trump said the administration was readying a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in September, though he reportedly refused to sign off on the plan amid backlash. (CNBC)

The president hosted a previously undisclosed dinner with Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who is also a Trump supporter, at the White House in October, the company told NBC News.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google had largely stayed out of the flap between Facebook's (FB) hands-off approach and Twitter's (TWTR) ban of political advertising. Now, Google changed its status, taking the middle ground. In a blog post, the company said it would accept political ads, but police false claims and only allow broad targeting. (CNBC)


PayPal (PYPL) is purchasing shopping and rewards platform Honey Science for roughly $4 billion. It's PayPal's largest proposed deal to date.

French luxury group LVMH has persuaded U.S. jewelry chain Tiffany & Co (TIF) to provide it with confidential due diligence after it raised its bid to close to $16 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

General Motors (GM) filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler and its former executives, accusing the automaker of bribing United Auto Workers officials to receive more favorable terms in labor negotiations.

Germany's cartel authority said it was fining the country's three major carmakers, BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, a total of $110.84 million for unlawful actions in relation to steel purchases.


Disney's "Frozen II" comes to theaters Friday and is expected to be the company's sixth billion-dollar film of 2019. Current estimates for the film's opening weekend range from $120 million to $140 million. Though there is some speculation that "Frozen II" could earn even more during its opening, especially as advance ticket sales for the film continue to spike. (CNBC)