Morning Brief

What to watch today: Futures mixed as Wall Street confronts a number of moving parts



U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open as investors shift through tons of quarterly earnings reports and jobless claims data, read the tea leaves on coronavirus stimulus talks, and look ahead to the final presidential debate Thursday night. Wall Street was pacing for a weekly loss as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq logged another session of declines Wednesday. However, all three stock benchmarks were still up for the month of October, bouncing higher after a dismal September. (CNBC)

* Paul Tudor Jones sees a stock pop to start 2021 on stimulus, then pressure later from Biden tax plan (CNBC)

The Labor Department on Thursday morning reported 787,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for the week ending Oct. 17, the lowest number since the early days of the pandemic but still historically at off-the-charts heights. The total reflected a decline of 55,000 initial jobless claims from the downwardly revised 842,000 from the previous week. (CNBC)

Dow stock Coca-Cola (KO) jumped over 2.5% in Thursday's premarket after the beverage giant reported better-than-expected adjusted third-quarter earnings of 55 cents per share. Revenue fell 9% to $8.65 billion, but that was still higher than analyst expectations. The partial reopening of theaters and restaurants helped the company's results. (CNBC)

Shares of AT&T (T) rose more than 2% in the premarket after the company matched estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of 76 cents per share. Revenue, which dropped 5% to $42.3 billion, beat expectations. AT&T said revenue was dragged down during the pandemic in all businesses. However, it highlighted strong wireless growth and subscriber numbers for HBO and HBO Max. (Reuters)

American Airlines (AAL) shares fell 2% in premarket trading after the carrier said it lost $5.54 per share. That was a smaller loss than expected. Revenue also exceeded expectations, but it dropped 73% to $3.17 billion. American expects its cash burn rate to fall to $25 million to $30 million per day during the current quarter from $44 million during the third quarter. (CNBC)

Shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV) gained about 1% in the premarket after the company reported an adjusted third-quarter loss of $1.99 per share, smaller than estimates. Revenue dropped 68% to $1.79 billion but exceeded expectations. The airline trimmed its Q3 cash burn to an average of $16 million a day from $23 million a day in the second quarter. (CNBC)

Shares of Tesla, already up more than 400% in 2020, jumped 5% in the premarket, the morning after the electric auto maker reported its fifth straight quarter of profits. Tesla best estimates in the third quarter with adjusted per-share earnings of 76 cents and revenue of $8.77 billion. On the post-earnings analyst call, Tesla's CFO acknowledged that Q3 results were helped by better-than-expected regulatory credit sales. (CNBC)

Align Technology (ALGN) more than tripled estimates of 67 cents per share for its latest quarter, with the maker of the Invisalign dental brace system reporting profit of $2.25 per share. Revenue also beat forecasts by a wide margin, with the company giving credit to help from social media influencers. Shares soared 25% in premarket trading. (CNBC)


As the job market struggles to recover from the economic damage caused by the pandemic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to continue talks Thursday to try to resolve their differences on more stimulus and strike a deal before the Nov. 3 election. Pelosi's office said that negotiators moved "closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation." (CNBC)

* Rubio: I'm open to voting for higher stimulus because Americans need help (CNBC)

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are set to take part in their final debate Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee. Biden leads in national and swing state polls, though in six battleground states tracked by CNBC and Change Research some of those leads have been narrowing. Trump, who staged a remarkable comeback in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, believes he can do it again. (AP)

Less than two weeks before Election Day, national security officials said Wednesday evening that Iran and Russia obtained information about American voters' registrations and that they're trying to influence public opinion. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Iran has been sending "spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage" Trump.

Shares of AstraZeneca were steady in Thursday's premarket trading, one day after closing lower on news that a Covid-19 vaccine trial volunteer in Brazil died. The University of Oxford, which is developing the vaccine with AstraZeneca, said "there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial." A source told Reuters that the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer had been a part of the group getting the shot. (CNBC)

The U.S. regulators who will decide the fate of coronavirus vaccines are set to hold a meeting Thursday to debate whether the FDA's guidelines for drug makers are rigorous enough. The government has spent billions of dollars in a race for a vaccine despite a research process that usually takes years. The FDA has also faced unprecedented pressure from the Trump administration. (AP)

Target (TGT) is adding new features at its stores to make holiday shopping safer and easier. Among them, the company will double the number of parking spots dedicated to curbside pickup and allow customers to use their own smartphones instead of shared scanners in the self-checkout lanes. Shoppers can check on Target's website to see if there's a line outside of their store and reserve a spot. (CNBC)

Microsoft (MSFT) said Thursday it plans to buy alternative jet fuel for some Alaska Airlines (ALK) flights, the technology giant's latest effort to reduce carbon emissions, this time those generated by its frequent business travel. Microsoft pledged in January to become "carbon negative" by 2030. (CNBC)


Chemical maker Dow Inc. (DOW) quarterly earnings of 50 cents per share, compared to an estimate of 33 cents. Revenue also beat estimates, boosted by cost reductions as well as higher demand for chemicals used in consumer durable goods and construction materials.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) earned $3.76 per share for its latest quarter, beating estimates of $3.47 a share. The restaurant chain's revenue was slightly above forecasts, as same-restaurant sales rose a better-than-expected 8.3% and digital sales tripled compared to a year earlier.

Homebuilder PulteGroup (PHM) came in 22 cents a share above estimates, with quarterly profit of $1.34 per share. Revenue was also above forecasts as record-low mortgage rates boosted demand for homes.

Whirlpool (WHR) reported quarterly profit of $6.91 per share, well above estimates of $4.20 a share. The appliance maker's revenue also came in above forecasts amid strong demand. It also reinstated its 2020 outlook.

McAfee (MCFE), the cybersecurity company, priced its initial public offering at $20 per share, compared to an expected range of $19 to $22 per share, and will begin trading today on the Nasdaq.

CSX (CSX) came in 3 cents a share above estimates, with quarterly earnings of 96 cents per share. The rail operator's revenue was below forecasts. CSX also announced a $5 billion increase in its share repurchase program.

Netgear (NTGR) earned $1.13 per share for its latest quarter, compared to estimates of 66 cents a share. The networking equipment company's revenue was also well above estimates, helped by what called "robust" demand for household Wi-Fi.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) is "very close" to detailing job cuts in the U.S. and Canada, according to an email sent to employees by CEO Darren Woods and seen by Reuters.

Discover Financial (DFS) earned $2.45 per share for its latest quarter, compared to a $1.56 estimates. The financial services company's revenue also beat forecasts, despite what it calls a "challenging" economic environment.


General Motors (GM) has sold out the first year's worth of production of its new GMC Hummer electric pickup truck that was unveiled earlier this week. Initial availability of the Hummer EV next fall will start at $112,595. (CNBC)