Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures flat after 30-stock average dropped sharply

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were flat Wednesday, one day after the Dow gave up gains at the open and closed down 292 points, or 0.8%, its sixth down day in the past seven sessions. The S&P 500 on Tuesday also saw its sixth decline out of the past seven sessions as the rough September on Wall Street continued. Both benchmarks were on track for their largest monthly declines since October. The Nasdaq fell for the fifth straight session Tuesday. (CNBC)

* Cramer sees few reasons to buy stocks right now. stays cautious on market (CNBC)
* Mortgage demand from homebuyers jumps to highest level since April (CNBC)

A bright spot in Wednesday's premarket was Microsoft (MSFT). The Dow stock and big Nasdaq name rose more than 1% after it announced an 11% dividend hike and a $60 billion stock buyback program. Microsoft also appointed company President Brad Smith as vice chairman. (Reuters)

Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands tumbled in premarket trading, after dropping roughly 10% on Tuesday, as Macao began a 45-day period of considering tighter regulations on the gaming industry. Those U.S. casino stocks have operations in the Chinese special administrative region. Hong Kong-listed shares of Wynn Macau and Sands China tanked about 30% overnight. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived a Republican attempt to remove him from office, according to an NBC News projection. The gubernatorial recall vote was the second in California's history to qualify for the ballot. Newsom, who was elected by an overwhelming margin to a four-year term ending in 2023, spent months fending off the GOP-led effort. (CNBC)

President Joe Biden plans to meet with major U.S. employers Wednesday at the White House to discuss the federal vaccine mandate. The gathering comes as the Biden administration is drafting rules to require large employers to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly. In guidance to federal agencies earlier this week, the White House said federal employees must be "fully vaccinated" no later than Nov. 22. (Reuters)

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) announced that the U.S. government would buy an additional 1.4 million doses of Regeneron's Covid-19 antibody cocktail. That will bring the total number of doses purchased by the government to nearly 3 million. Regeneron rose 1.8% in premarket trading. (Reuters)

Yum China (YUMC) warned that the spread of the delta variant would result in a 50% to 60% hit to its third-quarter profit. The restaurant operator said it had to close or limit service at more than 500 restaurants in August due to the delta variant outbreak in China. Yum China shares tumbled 4.8% in the premarket. (Reuters)

Four amateur space travelers, led and paid for by e-commerce billionaire Jared Isaacman, was set for liftoff Wednesday night abroad a rocket ship from Elon Musk's SpaceX. They would become the first all-civilian crew launched into Earth's orbit. Earlier this summer, Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos went into space. Musk has not gone into space yet. (Reuters)

Walmart (WMT) is expanding its self-driving vehicle program to include Ford (F) and Argo AI, an autonomous car start-up backed by the automaker. The companies said Wednesday the collaboration will use Ford Escape hybrids with Argo AI technology for Walmart deliveries in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. (CNBC)

The Treasury Department has determined that the nation's child-care system is "unworkable," saying it's plagued by market failures that put quality care out of reach for many families. In a report to be released Wednesday, Treasury details the struggle many parents face to afford child care, especially as bills pile up before their peak earning years. (CNBC)

* House Democrats vow 'meaningful' relief for SALT deduction cap (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Weber (WEBR) jumped 3.8% in the premarket, following its first quarterly report since going public in August. The grill maker sales rose 19% from a year earlier, and the company projected full-year sales largely above current Wall Street forecasts.

Canadian National Railway (CNI) will not improve its offer to buy Kansas City Southern (KSU), according to people familiar with the situation who spoke to CNBC's David Faber. That would clear the way for Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) to buy Kansas City Southern.

Citrix Systems (CTXS) is working with advisers to consider a possible sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. The maker of workplace software will gauge potential interest in the company over the next few weeks and could decide to remain independent. Citrix rallied 4.4% in the premarket.

Crocs (CROX) added 1% in premarket trading following Tuesday's 8.5% gain. That came after the shoe maker's Investor Day where it projected better-than-expected full-year revenue and announced an accelerated share repurchase program.

Skillsoft (SKIL), a provider of corporate digital learning programs, jumped 4.5% in the premarket after reporting better-than-expected revenue and bookings for its latest quarter as well as raising its full-year guidance.

European delivery giant Just Eat Takeaway (GRUB) slid 3.2% in premarket trading after Amazon (AMZN) and Deliveroo announced a partnership that will offer free food delivery in the U.K. to Amazon Prime members. Just Eat Takeaway closed its purchase of U.S.-based GrubHub in June.

Sage Therapeutics (SAGE) rallied 5.7% in the premarket after the FDA granted fast-track status to the company's experimental treatment for Huntington's disease. Sage expects to start a phase 2 trial for the treatment before the end of 2021.

SoFi Technologies (SOFI) added 2.8% in premarket action after Mizuho began coverage with a "buy" rating and a $28 price target compared with Tuesday's close of $14.50. Mizuho said SoFi is becoming a "full-fledged, super-app neo-bank" with next-generation capabilities.