1. Wall Street set to add on to best day since July
Dow futures pointed to a 200-point gain at Wall Street's open after President Donald Trump said in an interview Thursday morning that coronavirus stimulus talks have reopened. On Wednesday, the 30-stock average saw its best session since mid-July on optimism that some coronavirus aid may still be possible in the near-term. While Trump ended talks until after the election on a broad stimulus deal Tuesday afternoon, he renewed hope Tuesday night for a targeted approach to help sectors of the economy most in need, including airlines and small businesses. Trump also tweeted support to send another round of $1,200 checks directly to Americans. After Tuesday's sharp declines, the Dow closed up 530 points or 1.9% on Wednesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.7% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.9%.
The Labor Department on Thursday morning reported a greater-than-expected 840,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for the week ending Oct. 3. That's a sixth week under 1 million for initial jobless claims, in a continuation of a slow recovery in the jobs market. However, such totals are still well above anything the U.S. had ever seen before the pandemic.
2. Next Trump-Biden debate up in the air
The next presidential debate, set for a week from Thursday in Miami, between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden will be virtual, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said Thursday morning. However, minutes later, Trump told Fox Business he won't participate, adding he's "not going to waste" his time with a virtual debate. "I don't think I'm contagious," Trump also said. Since Trump's diagnosis was announced last week, more than a dozen White House officials have tested positive for Covid-19. Public health officials recommend that Covid-19 patients be isolated from others for at least 10 days after contracting the virus, and up to 20 days depending on the severity of the infection.
3. Pence-Harris traded barbs in only VP debate
The first and only debate between Vice President Mike Pence, 61, and Sen. Kamala Harris, 55, was quieter and more disciplined than last week's chaotic presidential debate. Despite the calmer tone Wednesday night — and the two sheets of Plexiglas separating the contenders in Utah — sparks still flew from both sides, with Harris on the attack over the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus and Pence, head of the White House's Covid-19 taskforce, defending it. Both candidates dodged questions about their running mates' ages. Trump is 74. Biden is 77. In a debate without a single jaw-dropping moment, people on social media went crazy about a fly that landed on Pence's head.
4. Trump hails Regeneron's antiviral Covid-19 cocktail treatment as a 'cure'
In a White House video released Wednesday evening, Trump called an experimental drug treatment a "cure" for his Covid-19. "I think this was a blessing from God, that I caught it," he said, because it led him to take Regeneron's antibody cocktail.
Regeneron said Wednesday evening it submitted an application for emergency use authorization. The president got it under compassionate use. Earlier in the day, Eli Lilly said it applied for emergency authorization for its antibody treatment. Shares of both Regeneron and Lilly were higher in Thursday's premarket trading.
Trump said he wants to get these drug treatments out for the American people as quickly as possible. "I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great," he said. However, there's no way for the president or his doctors to know whether the Regeneron cocktail had any effect. Trump also took other treatments at the same time.
5. Facebook to halt political ads in U.S. after polls close
Facebook announced it will stop running political ads in the U.S. after polls close for the election on Nov. 3, and keep them halted for an indefinite period. The temporary ban is expected to last about one week, but that will be subject to change, said Sarah Schiff, Facebook's product lead for political advertising. The social media network had previously announced that it would not allow new political ads to run starting seven days prior to the election. The company has also previously announced that it will not allow any ads that seek to delegitimize the results of the election.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.