Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow tracks for a 4-day rally


U.S. stock futures on Thursday pointed to a fourth session of strong rallies for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, as continued vote-counting in the presidential race favors Democrat Joe Biden but does not shut the door on President Donald Trump's chances for a second term in the White House. (CNBC)

Dow futures rose more than 300 points Thursday, one day after closing up 367 points. The Dow jumped more than 800 points, or about 3%, at Wednesday's highs. The blue chip average's three-session surge, which wiped about three-quarters of last week's worst decline since March, comes as investors look at the prospect of continued divided government taking tax hikes off the table in the event of a Biden win. (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve ends its two-day November meeting Thursday afternoon, with expectations of the status quo: near-zero percent interest rates and a continuation of the extraordinary monetary stimulus to support the U.S. economy during the coronavirus crisis. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell holds a 2:30 p.m. ET news conference shortly after central bankers release their policy statement. (CNBC)

The Labor Department on Thursday morning reported 751,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for the week ending Oct. 31. That's down slightly from 758,000 initial claims the prior week but slightly higher than expectations. This was the third straight week below 800,000. But the level is still well above historical norms. (CNBC)

Shares of General Motors (GM) surged 6% in Thursday's premarket trading after the automaker solidly beat estimates with adjusted per-share earnings of $2.83 in the third quarter. GM credits its highly profitable trucks and SUVs in North America for the standout performance. However, overall revenue of $35.48 billion was just shy of Wall Street expectations. (CNBC)

Qualcomm (QCOM) shares jumped 14% in the premarket after the company exceed estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.45 per share. Revenue also beat forecasts. The chipmaker gave an upbeat forecast as Apple (AAPL) and other handset makers ramp up production of 5G phones that utilize Qualcomm chips. (CNBC)


On the road to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Biden has 253 and Trump has 214, after NBC News projected the former vice president the winner in Michigan and Wisconsin. With his path to reelection narrowing, Trump's campaign is pursuing legal action in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia pertaining to vote counting. The Trump campaign also wants a recount in Wisconsin. (CNBC)

Republicans appear set to hold their majority in the Senate with five races still uncalled by NBC News. While Democrats are projected to keep control of the House, Republicans appear ready to flip some seats and chip away at their majority. (NBC News)

New daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit a record of 102,831 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week, according to The Associated Press. Total Covid-19 infections in the U.S. approached 9.5 million on Thursday morning, with 233,734 deaths. (CNBC)

With a new lockdown now in effect through Dec. 2, the Bank of England held already near-zero percent interest rates steady. However, BOE policymakers voted on Thursday to expand its target of asset purchases to $1.2 trillion. The U.K. economy suffered an unprecedented 19.8% contraction in the second quarter during the height of the first lockdown. (CNBC)

* Four Italian regions, including Milan, put under lockdown (AP)
* More Paris shops to close at night to tackle worsening Covid-19 crisis (Reuters)

AstraZeneca (AZN) said Thursday it expects data on its experimental vaccine to be available this year as the British pharmaceutical giant reported a solid rise in overall third-quarter sales. Several U.S. companies are also pursuing a Covid vaccine, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. (CNBC)

Apple is facing a shortage of power consumption chips for its new iPhone 12 line, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. Apple declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos sold more than $3 billion in Amazon shares in August, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Bezos has sold about $10.2 billion in shares this year, but still owns more than 53 million shares worth about $170 billion. (CNBC)


Cigna (CI) came in 17 cents a share above estimates, with quarterly earnings of $4.41 per share. Revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts, helped by higher sales in Cigna's health services unit.

Merck (MRK) is buying privately held drugmaker VelosBio for $2.75 billion in cash, in a move designed to boost its oncology treatment pipeline.

Regeneron (REGN) earned $8.36 per share for its latest quarter, beating the $7.14 a share consensus estimate. The drugmaker's revenue also came in above forecasts, boosted by improved sales of drugs like eye treatment Eylea and eczema drug Dupixent.

Capri Holdings (CPRI), the company behind luxury brands like Michael Kors, reported quarterly earnings of 90 cents per share, well above the 4 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue beat forecasts as well. Strong demand in China and a surge in online sales helped drive Capri's better-than-expected quarter.

Canada Goose (GOOS) earned 10 cents per share (Canadian) for its second quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of a 3 cents per share loss. Revenue was also above forecasts as online sales jumped and as the company saw strong demand in China for its parkas.

New York Times (NYT) doubled estimates with quarterly earnings of 22 cents per share. Revenue was also above estimates, driven by an increase in digital subscriptions.

Hanesbrands (HBI) beat estimates by 3 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 42 cents per share. Revenue also exceeded forecasts. Hanesbrands saw better sales for its Champion brand, and also reported an overall boost in digital sales.

Barrick Gold (GOLD) increased its dividend by 12.5% after reporting quarterly profit that nearly tripled from a year earlier. Barrick benefited from a surge in gold prices during the quarter. The shares added 2% in premarket trading as of 7:44 a.m. ET.

Becton Dickinson (BDX), a medical products maker, beat estimates by 27 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $2.79 per share. Revenue topped estimates as well. Results were boosted by a jump in sales of Covid-19 -related products like testing kits.

Apache (APA) reported a smaller-than-expected loss for its latest quarter, with the oil producer also accelerating cost cuts. Apache also said capital spending this year would come in at the low end of its prior forecast.

Expedia (EXPE) reported a quarterly loss of 22 cents per share, compared to forecasts of a 79 cents per share loss. The travel services company's revenue came in above estimates, even as travel demand continues to be impacted by the pandemic. The shares rose 4% in premarket trading as of 7:44 a.m. ET.

Zynga (ZNGA) lost 11 cents per share for its latest quarter, 2 cents a share smaller than analysts had anticipated. The mobile game maker's revenue above forecasts. Active user numbers rose to record levels, with its games like "Words With Friends" gaining popularity during the pandemic.

Match Group (MTCH) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the third quarter, as the pandemic helped boost the popularity of its dating services. Tinder, which is Match Group's most widely-used app, saw subscriber numbers jump 16% from a year earlier.