BY THE NUMBERS
Dow futures pointed to a strong gain at Wednesday’s open after President Donald Trump late Tuesday prodded Capitol Hill to approve additional coronavirus relief in separate bills. Hours earlier, he called off stimulus talks “until after the election,” knocking the Dow down 375 points or 1.3% at Tuesday’s close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively. All three benchmarks were higher earlier in the day. (CNBC)
The whipsaw on stimulus started Tuesday at 2:48 p.m. ET when Trump in a series of tweets directed White House officials to abandon negotiations with Democrats until after Election Day. But then at 9:54 p.m. ET, Trump again took to Twitter, saying the House and Senate should approve $25 billion in airline payroll support and $135 billion for the small business Paycheck Protection Program; “fully paid for with unused funds” from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law in late March. (CNBC)
The president, at 10:18 p.m. ET, then tweeted he would sign a stand-alone bill to send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks directly to Americans. “Are you listening Nancy?” he asked. In a call with Democrats earlier in the day, Pelosi questioned whether Trump’s Covid-19 steroid therapy might be influencing his decision-making, according to a source. (NBC News)
Mortgage rates moved even lower last week, after setting multiple record lows in recent months, spurring more borrowers to call their lenders and apply for a refinance. However, homebuyers were not quite as motivated. Refis rose 8% for the week and were 50% higher than a year ago. Applications for a mortgage to purchase a home fell 2% for the week but were 21% higher than a year ago. (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
The first and only vice presidential debate is set for tonight in Salt Lake City, with coronavirus mitigation measures in place, 27 days before the election. Vice President Mike Pence and Biden running-mate Sen. Kamala Harris will be more than 12 feet apart on stage and separated by Plexiglas barriers. (AP)
Despite being with Trump and others last week who since tested positive, Pence has repeatedly tested negative and does not need to quarantine under CDC guidelines, according to the vice president’s staff and doctors. Harris, like Biden, has also tested negative for Covid-19. (AP)
Less than 24 hours after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump said Tuesday he’s looking forward to next week’s debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as scheduled. The president has in recent days struck an upbeat and reassuring tone when discussing his health and the severity of the global pandemic. (CNBC)
Biden said Tuesday the planned Oct. 15 debate in Miami should be called off if Trump were still infected with Covid-19. The former vice president also called the White House coronavirus outbreak a “very serious problem.” White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was the latest official to test positive for Covid-19. (Reuters)
The Food and Drug Administration has released updated safety standards for makers of Covid-19 vaccines despite efforts by the White House to block them, clearing the way for requirements widely expected to prevent the introduction of a vaccine before Election Day. (AP)
After a 16-month investigation into competitive practices at Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust said in a report that the four tech giants enjoy monopoly power, and it suggested that Congress take up changes to antitrust laws, which could result in parts of their businesses being separated. (CNBC)
Hurricane Delta, a dangerous Category 3 storm, barreled toward Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula with winds of 115 mph for an expected landfall south of the Cancun resort Wednesday morning before taking aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week (AP)
Eddie Van Halen, virtuoso guitarist and co-founder of the rock group Van Halen, has died after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 65. The band, in its many iterations, has been known over many decades for its energetic live shows and Eddie Van Halen’s incredible guitar licks. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Levi Strauss (LEVI) reported quarterly earnings of 8 cents per share, compared to expectations of a 22 cents per share loss. The apparel maker’s revenue also beat Wall Street forecasts, helped by a 52% jump in online sales. The stock rose 13% in the premarket.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued new proposed training procedures for Boeing’s (BA) grounded 737 Max jet, a key step in the jet’s return to service. The proposals will be open for public comment until Nov. 2 before being finalized.
Royal Caribbean (RCL) extended cruise cancellations through Nov. 30, excluding sailings from Hong Kong. Rival Norwegian (NCLH) announced a similar move earlier this week.
AT&T (T) is pushing ahead with an auction of its DirecTV unit despite lower-than-expected bids, according to a source who spoke to The New York Post. The first round of bids is said to value the unit at well below $20 billion, compared to the $49 billion paid by AT&T five years ago.
A secondary stock offering by sports betting company DraftKings (DKNG) was priced at $52 per share, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That compares to Tuesday’s closing price of $56.78. The stock lost 5% in the premarket.
Tesla (TSLA) told workers in an email that an employee “maliciously sabotaged” part of its Fremont, California factory last month, according to a Bloomberg report. The worker was fired after an internal investigation.
Sirius XM (SIRI) is close to signing a new deal with Howard Stern, which would pay the radio host about $120 million per year, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg. Sirius XM also announced a 10% dividend increase. Additionally, Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “neutral,” based on what it calls “surprisingly” better-than-expected results.
McDonald’s (MCD) is adding baked goods to its permanent menu for the first time in more than eight years as the fast-food giant tries to revive its breakfast sales. Starting in three weeks, customers in the U.S. will be able to buy an apple fritter, blueberry muffin or cinnamon roll at participating locations. (CNBC)