BY THE NUMBERS
U.S. stock futures were higher Thursday as investors picked through strong before-the-bell earnings from two Dow stocks and mixed economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 on Wednesday fell from record highs, snapping a three-session and a two-session winning streak, respectively. The Nasdaq closed basically flat, remaining less than 1% away from its latest record high on Sept. 7. (CNBC)
The government said Thursday its first look at third-quarter gross domestic product only showed a 2% advance. That's slower than estimates and the second quarter's Covid recovery boom of 6.7%. First-time filings for unemployment benefits hit another Covid-era low, totaling a better-than-expected 281,000 for the week ended Oct. 23. (CNBC)
* European Central Bank holds policy steady despite soaring inflation (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Dow stock Caterpillar (CAT) was rising 1.5% in premarket trading after the heavy equipment maker on Thursday reported better-than-expected adjusted third-quarter earnings of $2.66 per share. Revenue of $12.4 billion in Q3 was slightly below expectations. Another Dow stock, Merck (MRK), was up nearly 2% after the drugmaker said Thursday it earned an adjusted $1.75 per share in the third quarter. Revenue of $13.1 billion also beat estimates. Merck raised its full-year outlook. (CNBC)
Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) lead the long list of companies schedule to report quarterly earnings after Thursday's closing bell on Wall Street. In July, Dow component Apple said growth in its upcoming September quarter would not be as strong as its June quarter. Amazon, after reporting in July its first quarterly revenue miss in three years, gave weak third-quarter guidance. (CNBC)
Ford (F) shares were soaring more than 8% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after the automaker reported adjusted third-quarter earnings of 51 cents per share, which nearly doubled estimates. Revenue of $33.21 billion in Q3 also beat expectations. Ford increased annual guidance for the second time this year. The company also said it would reinstate its regular dividend starting in the fourth quarter. (CNBC)
President Joe Biden has made last-minute plans to attend a House Democratic caucus meeting on Thursday morning. He's expected to personally appeal to the party's progressives to vote for the stalled bipartisan infrastructure bill, which has already passed the Senate. Biden's attendance was seen as a good sign about possible a deal on social spending legislation. (CNBC)
* GOP Sen. Toomey debuts bill to protect broker revenue, payment for order flow (CNBC)
Biden is scheduled to depart later Thursday for a week of meetings in Europe, including a Friday sit-down with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The president will also pay a visit to the Italian hosts of the G-20 summit before he sits down with French President Emmanuel Macron. He will head to Scotland on Sunday night for the climate summit. (AP)
Top executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP America and Shell are set to testify at a House hearing Thursday as congressional Democrats investigate what they describe as a decadeslong, industrywide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming. Separately, Shell on Thursday missed estimates for third-quarter profit, a day after activist investor Dan Loeb called for the company to break up. (AP & CNBC)
At least 1.5 million Americans received a booster shot of either Moderna's (MRNA) or Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Covid vaccines in the first five days after U.S. regulators authorized the extra doses, a White House official announced. Separately, U.S. health officials are expected to approve a smaller dose of Pfizer's Covid vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 as early as next week. (CNBC)
* California readies 4,000 sites to administer vaccines to young kids (CNBC)
* 5% of unvaccinated adults quit jobs over Covid vaccine mandates, survey shows (CNBC)
A cheap antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with Covid in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus. Researchers tested the pill used for depression and OCD because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies. (AP)
Starbucks (SBUX) will raise wages for its U.S. baristas at least twice in 2022, bringing its pay floor to $15 an hour by the summer. The restaurant industry has been struggling to find enough willing workers as demand rebounds, putting pressure on sales. Starbucks is set to report quarterly earnings after the bell Thursday. (CNBC)
The International Olympic Committee struck its first global e-commerce deal, partnering with Florida-based sports company Fanatics, in an agreement extending to the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. It won't include sales from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing because China has a separate e-commerce deal with Alibaba (BABA). (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Comcast (CMCSA), the parent of NBCUniversal and CNBC, reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 87 cents per share, 12 cents above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts as cable and broadband revenue grew, and the stock jumped 3% in the premarket.
eBay (EBAY) beat estimates by a penny with an adjusted quarterly profit of 90 cents per share, and the online marketplace operator's revenue also topped forecasts. However, the stock slid 5.1% in premarket action as eBay issued weaker than expected current quarter guidance.
ServiceNow (NOW) came in 17 cents ahead of estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.55 per share and revenue beating analyst projects as well. The provider of human resources services gave guidance that was merely in line with forecasts, contributing to a 2.5% premarket decline in the share price.
Align Technology (ALGN) surged 8.4% in premarket trading after it beat estimates by 27 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.87 per share. The maker of the Invisalign invisible dental brace system also reported better-than-expected revenue.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) reported a surprise increase in quarterly profit, and the beer brewer also raised its 2021 earnings forecast. AB InBev is getting a boost from stronger beer sales, particularly in Brazil, and its shares soared 10% in the premarket.
Tempur Sealy (TPX) added 2.5% in the premarket after it reported an adjusted quarterly profit of 88 cents per share, 3 cents above estimates. Revenue was also above analyst forecasts, with a particularly strong sales increase in international markets.
Sleep Number (SNBR) –earned $2.22 per share for its latest quarter, well above the $1.44 consensus estimate, with revenue easily beating forecasts. The mattress maker also issued a slightly better than expected full-year earnings outlook, and its shares surged 7.8% in the premarket.
WPP Group (WPP) easily beat forecasts with its third-quarter results, and the advertising agency operator also raised its sales guidance as companies seek to take advantage of strong consumer spending with new ad campaigns. WPP rallied 7.4% in the premarket.