Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks set for steady open after Tuesday's rally moderated

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were steady Wednesday morning. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished higher, though off the highest levels Tuesday, after signs of progress in talks between Democrats and the White House over a new Covid-19 stimulus package with less than two weeks until the Nov. 3 election. (CNBC)

* Mortgage demand from homebuyers falls for the fourth straight week (CNBC)

Fed Governor Lael Brainard issued a call Wednesday for more fiscal support from Congress, saying that additional stimulus is needed to address a recovery that so far has left out large parts of the economy. "Further targeted fiscal support will be needed alongside accommodative monetary policy to turn this K-shaped recovery into a broad-based and inclusive recovery," she added. (CNBC)

Dow stock Verizon (VZ) reported mixed quarterly results, beating estimates on earnings but missing on revenue. Verizon also raised forward guidance. Tesla (TSLA) is scheduled to deliver quarterly results after Wednesday's closing bell. (CNBC)

Shares of Netflix (NFLX) dropped 5% in Wednesday's premarket, the morning after the streaming video giant reported lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings of $1.74 per share and lower-than-expected 2.2 million global paid net subscriber additions. However, revenue of $6.44 billion beat estimates. (CNBC)

* Most of Netflix’s 2021 slate of TV and film won’t be hindered by coronavirus (CNBC)
* Netflix loses the battle, but it’s still on target to win Wall Street’s war (CNBC)

Shares of Snap (SNAP) surged about 24% in premarket trading after the parent company of Snapchat late Tuesday reported a surprise per-share profit in the third-quarter of a penny. Analysts had expected a loss of 5 cents per share. Revenue of $679 million and global daily active users of 249 million also exceeded estimates. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to continue coronavirus stimulus talks Wednesday. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNBC on Tuesday that the two sides have been making "good progress" but "still have a ways to go" to strike an agreement. (CNBC)

* Stimulus unlikely to get through Congress before the election, Goldman says (CNBC)
* GDP report next week will likely show record-breaking growth, but it may not help Trump (CNBC)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is not involved in those talks, told fellow Republicans on Tuesday that he warned the White House not to divide the party by sealing a lopsided $2 trillion deal with Pelosi before Election Day. Senate Republicans, who want a much smaller relief package, are set to vote Wednesday on a $500 billion measure. (AP)

Trump holds a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday evening, hours after a morning event in the battleground state held by Democrat Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. Trump, who has been pressing his case for reelection in swing states, was in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Biden has been preparing for Thursday's final presidential debate. (AP)

* Barack Obama to hold his first in-person event for Joe Biden (AP)
* Biden leads nationally and in the six swing states surveyed in CNBC/Change Research poll

Before leaving the White House on Tuesday, Trump taped part of an interview with "60 Minutes" that apparently ended acrimoniously. On Twitter, the president declared his interview with CBS' Lesley Stahl to be "FAKE and BIASED." Trump also threatened to release a White House edit of the interview. Biden also recorded an interview with "60 Minutes." (AP)

With coronavirus cases surging in the U.S. and Europe and companies racing to develop treatments and vaccines, the U.K.'s top scientific advisor said this week that Covid-19 is likely to become as "endemic" as seasonal flu. Patrick Vallance warned British lawmakers that a vaccine won't get rid of the coronavirus, saying smallpox was the only disease "truly eradicated" by a vaccine. (CNBC)

* Eli Lilly hired an outside advisor to review a plant cited for a variety of issues (Reuters)
* AstraZeneca expects to resume Covid-19 vaccine trial in the U.S. as soon as this week (Reuters)

Walt Disney (DIS) said updated California state guidelines will keep its Disneyland theme park shut for the foreseeable future. That came after California officials said theme parks with a visitor capacity of 15,000 or more cannot reopen until a county's Covid-19 risk level drops to the lowest tier. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) is making it faster for Prime members to place Whole Foods orders online and pick them up at the store, in the latest sign of growing demand for curbside pickup services. Amazon is launching free, one-hour grocery pickup for Prime members at all Whole Foods stores in the U.S. (CNBC)

* Amazon employees can work remotely through June 2021 (CNBC)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is making a play to sell more services to millions of American small business owners, pushing into an area pioneered by fintech firms including Square (SQ), PayPal (PYPL) and First Data (FISV), CNBC has learned. JPMorgan's new QuickAccept service lets businesses take card payments within minutes. (CNBC)

A group of Apollo Global Management independent board members will review Chief Executive Leon Black's relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

A grand juror who won a court fight to speak publicly about the Breonna Taylor investigation took issue with statements by Kentucky's attorney general and said the jury was not given the option to consider charges connected to Taylor's shooting death by police. (AP)

* 'She didn't deserve to die': Louisville officer involved in Taylor case speaks out (USA Today)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Car dealer giant AutoNation (AN) reported quarterly earnings of $2.38 per share, well above the $1.65 a share consensus estimate. Revenue was also above forecasts and AutoNation increased its share repurchase authorization to $500 million.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), a life sciences and lab products company, earned $5.63 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $4.31 a share. Revenue also came in above forecasts, helped by strong growth in analytical instruments and specialty diagnostics.

Recreational vehicle maker Winnebago (WGO) earned $1.45 per share for its latest quarter, beating the 93 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue was above forecasts as well. The company said it was encouraged by improving outdoor recreation trends.

Avery Dennison (AVY), a maker of labeling products, earned $1.91 per share for its third quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of $1.53 a share. Revenue was slightly above forecasts, and the company also announced a 7% dividend increase.

Exchange operator Nasdaq (NDAQ) beat estimates by 7 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $1.53 per share. Revenue also beat Wall Street's predictions, helped by a jump in trading volume as well as growth in non-trading businesses.

Texas Instruments (TXN) beat estimates by 17 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $1.45 per share. The chipmaker's revenue also topped analysts' projections and Texas Instruments reported its first quarterly revenue growth in nearly two years, helped by growing demand for electronic gadgets by homebound consumers.

Tenet Healthcare (THC) reported quarterly profit of 64 cents per share, more than double the 31 cents a share consensus estimate. The hospital operator's revenue also beat estimates, aided by increased treatment of Covid-19 patients as well as a resumption of elective procedures.

Parsley Energy (PE) agreed to be bought by rival oil-and-gas producer Pioneer Natural (PXD) for $4.5 billion in stock. The Wall Street Journal had reported Tuesday that a deal was near.

iRobot (IRBT) reported quarterly profit of $2.58 per share, well above the $1.00 a share consensus estimate. Revenue came in above estimates as well, helped by strong demand for the company's Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners.

WD-40 (WDFC) beat estimates by 29 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $1.42 per share. The lubricant maker's revenue also exceeded forecasts. Strong product demand was spurred by an "isolation renovation" trend during the pandemic, according to CEO Garry Ridge.

WATERCOOLER

General Motors (GM) unveiled the 2022 GMC Hummer EV sport utility truck online and during last night's World Series and "The Voice" broadcasts. GM said the vehicle will deliver the performance of an exotic sports car as well as off-road capability and new technologies. Initial availability of the Hummer EV next fall will start at $112,595. (CNBC)