What to watch today: Stock futures mixed after Wednesday's steep sell-off on Covid worries

Stock futures indicated a mixed open on Wall Street, with the projected gains making up only a fraction of Wednesday's steep losses. Dow futures implied a slightly lower opening. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were higher. (CNBC)

* Treasury yields tick lower ahead of third-quarter growth figures (CNBC)

The Dow is coming off its worst one-day slide since June, its four-day losing streak is the longest since February, and its Wednesday close was the lowest since July 31. It's a slightly better story for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which are only at a one-month low. However, all three averages are on pace for their largest weekly losses in seven months. All this comes amid surging coronavirus cases, a flood of corporate earnings and uncertainty surrounding Tuesday's presidential election.

The Labor Department will be out with its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, expected to fall by 9,000 to 778,000 for the week ending Oct. 24. At the same time, the government will issue its first look at third-quarter GDP figures, expected to surge 32% at an annual rate following a 31.4% plunge in the second quarter.

* Sharp third-quarter growth will show the economy regaining ground, but it's still in a hole (CNBC)

At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will be out with its September look at pending home sales, with economists looking for a 3% rise following an 8.8% jump in August.

The European Central Bank issues its latest interest-rate decision and policy statement at 8:45 a.m. ET, which comes as coronavirus cases increase across the continent.

* European markets choppy after Wednesday's sell-off, ECB in focus; Nokia down 17% (CNBC)

It's another busy morning for earnings, with NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMSA), Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), Spotify (SPOT), Kontoor Brands (KTB), Molson Coors (TAP), Shopify (SHOP), Kraft Heinz (KHC) and Ralph Lauren (RL) among the companies reporting.

* Comcast reports record high-speed internet net adds, has nearly 22 million Peacock sign-ups (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon.com (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) lead a busy after-the-bell list of earnings releases, with Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Starbucks (SBUX), Shake Shack (SHAK) and Twitter (TWTR) also reporting.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Three people have been killed and several others wounded after a man armed with a knife attacked a church in the southern French city of Nice, authorities confirmed to NBC News. The suspect was wounded by police and hospitalized. Law enforcement is considering it a terrorist attack, and France's Anti-Terrorist Parquet is leading the investigation. (CNBC)

Leaders in Germany and France imposed partial lockdowns Wednesday in response to rising Covid-19 cases in the countries. The restrictions in France, which go into effect Friday and last until Dec. 1, require people to stay home with a few exceptions but schools will remain open. In Germany, where coronavirus cases are up 61% from a week ago, schools also will stay open. Shops can continue operating with capacity limits, but bars and restaurants must shutter for four weeks. "We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. (CNBC)

* Italy's daily coronavirus cases hit new record, infections in Lombardy soar (Reuters)

The coronavirus antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) significantly reduced medical visits in a study involving almost 800 Covid patients, the company announced Wednesday. The experimental treatment, which President Donald Trump received earlier this month after his diagnosis, also significantly reduced viral loads in study participants. Those who received the antibody drug made 57% fewer virus-related medical trips over a 29-day period than those who received the placebo. Regeneron said it shared the latest data with the Food and Drug Administration, which is reviewing an emergency use application. (Reuters)

* Dr. Fauci warns of a 'whole lot of pain' due to coronavirus pandemic in the coming months (CNBC)

United Airlines (UAL) plans to start offering coronavirus testing for passengers before they board flights to London, in its latest effort to reduce safety concerns and help demand for air travel recover from its pandemic-induced decline. The company said Thursday its trial program will go from Nov. 16 to Dec. 11 for some flights from Newark, New Jersey, to London's Heathrow Airport. United will pay for the rapid tests, but flyers will need to make appointments. (CNBC)

Absentee ballots in North Carolina can be received and counted up to nine days after Tuesday's election, after the Supreme Court declined to overturn lower court rulings that permitted the extended deadline. The high court's decision, the latest in a spate of election-related matters, is seen as a win for Democrats in the battleground state. The Nov. 12 deadline was initially implemented by the state's election board, citing possible mail delays. Ballots still have to be marked and mailed by Election Day. (Associated Press)

* Supreme Court rejects GOP request to decide Pennsylvania ballot case before election (CNBC)

With five days remaining before Election Day, Joe Biden and Trump will be campaigning today in the hotly contested battleground state of Florida. A poll released Wednesday from Reuters/Ipsos showed a virtual tie between the two candidates, with 49% indicating they would vote for Biden while 47% favored Trump. The president will be holding an outdoor rally in Tampa. Biden will hold two drive-in rallies in the state, in Tampa and South Florida's Broward County. Approximately 76.5 million Americans have already voted in the election, or 55.5% of total 2016 turnout, according to data from U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. (Reuters)

* Houston voters are turning out in record numbers. Could they flip Texas for Biden? (NBC News)

Shares of Ford Motor (F) were higher by more than 5% in premarket trading after earnings blew away Wall Street expectations in the third quarter. The company earned an adjusted 65 cents per share, when analysts were looking for 19 cents per share. Revenues of $34.71 billion topped forecasts of $33.51 billion, with results helped by an uptick in demand for SUVs and pickup trucks during the pandemic. Ford also projected a full-year profit. (CNBC)

* Ford has nearly 190,000 reservations for upcoming Bronco SUV (CNBC)

Two people have died after Hurricane Zeta touched down in southeastern Louisiana and passed over New Orleans. The Category 2 storm left about half a million Louisiana customers without electricity as of Wednesday night; more than 100,000 homes and businesses in southern Mississippi also were without power. Zeta has now been downgraded to a tropical storm has it moved inland on a northeastern path, according to the National Hurricane Center. (NBC News)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Tiffany (TIF) and French luxury goods maker LVMH have agreed on a revised acquisition deal, with LVMH paying $131.50 per share. That's down from the original $135 per share deal the two sides had agreed to last November, prior to the pandemic. LVMH subsequently sued to back out of buying Tiffany, accusing the company of mismanaging the business during the pandemic.

Pinterest (PINS) earned an adjusted 13 cents per share for its latest quarter, 10 cents above estimates, with revenue also above forecasts. The image-sharing platform also reported a larger-than-expected number of active users and gave an upbeat current-quarter revenue forecast.

Visa (V) came in 3 cents above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.12 per share. Revenue also beat Wall Street projections. However, profits were down 29 percent from a year earlier due to fewer transactions on its payment network.

Amgen (AMGN) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $4.37 per share, beating the $3.81 consensus estimate, with the biotech company's revenue slightly above forecasts. Amgen was helped by stronger drug sales, although drug prices were lower during the quarter.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) beat estimates by 21 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.11 per share, with the drugmaker's revenue also coming in above analyst forecasts. However, Gilead also cut its 2020 revenue forecast due to lower-than-expected demand and uncertainty surrounding the sales of Covid treatment remdesivir.

EBay (EBAY) earned an adjusted 85 cents per share for its latest quarter, 8 cents above estimates, with revenue also beating consensus. However, the number of active buyers on the retail platform came in lower than analysts had been forecasting.

Etsy (ETSY) beat estimates by 10 cents, reporting quarterly profit of 70 cents per share, while revenue also topped Wall Street forecasts. Etsy's results were boosted by strong sales of face masks and home decor amid the pandemic.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) kept its fourth-quarter dividend at 87 cents per share, marking the first time since 1982 that the energy giant did not raise its dividend.

Marvell Technology (MRVL) is near a deal to buy rival chip maker Inphi (IPHI) for as much as $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The paper said a deal could be announced as soon as today.

WATERCOOLER

The Los Angeles Dodgers' six-game championship win received an average television rating 32% below the previous World Series low. The series, which aired on Fox, had an average rating of 5.2 and 9,785,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The prior low came in 2012, when the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers. This year's World Series figures comes as sports ratings this fall have generally been lower during the pandemic. (Associated Press)

Programming note: Today is our Technology Executive Council Summit, featuring Frank Slootman, CEO of Snowflake; Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook; Alexis Wichowski, deputy CTO of innovation for New York City; and Tom Leighton, CEO & co-founder of Akamai Technologies. The event will bring together CIOs, CTOs and CISOs and we encourage you to join us. Apply for a seat on the Council today!

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