What to watch today: Dow set to bounce after closing worst month of the year

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BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures rallied Friday, reversing an earlier sharp decline, on the first day of October after the worst month of the year. Premarket trading turned on good trial news on Merck‘s (MRK) oral Covid treatment. The Dow, which fared relatively better than the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in last week’s plunge, suffered the most severe slide Thursday, down 1.6%. The S&P 500 fell about 1.2%. The Nasdaq, getting some relief from retreating bond yields, dropped 0.4%. (CNBC)

* For September, the Dow fell 4.3%; the S&P 500 fell nearly 4.8%; and the Nasdaq fell 5.3%.
* For the third quarter, which also ended Thursday, the Dow dropped 1.9%; the S&P 500 gained 0.2%; and the Nasdaq fell 0.4%.
* However, all three benchmarks were still solidly higher for the year, with respective gains of roughly 10.6%, 14.7% and 12.1%.
* Historically, October has had some violent sell-offs but overall is typically the start of better seasonal performance for stocks.

The 10-year Treasury yield ticked lower Friday, around 1.5%. Earlier this week, the 10-year yield saw three-month highs above 1.567%. The government on Friday released an inflation measure the Federal Reserve uses to set monetary policy. The core personal consumption expenditures price index in August rose 3.6% from a year ago, slightly above estimates and the same as July’s increase, which tied a 30-year high. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics plan to seek emergency authorization for their oral antiviral treatment for Covid after announcing “compelling results” in clinical trials. Dow stock Merck surged nearly 9% in Friday’s premarket. The drug, molnupiravir, reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by around 50% for patients with mild or moderate Covid cases. (CNBC)

Congress prevented a government shutdown before Thursday’s midnight deadline. President Joe Biden signed a bill that funds federal operations through Dec. 3. Passing the so-called continuing resolution avoided one crisis. However, lawmakers still need to deal with another: a looming threat of default unless Congress raises or suspends the debt ceiling before Oct. 18. (CNBC)

Biden failed to break a Democratic stalemate that threatens his domestic agenda. A group of progressive House members and two centrist Democratic senators were still miles apart on key issues late Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi originally scheduled a vote on a Senate-passed bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill Thursday, but postponed it because it didn’t have the votes to pass. (CNBC)

* House progressives are worried if they pass the infrastructure bill championed by moderates, they will lose leverage to push moderates to back a transformative budget reconciliation bill with a price tag of at least another $3 trillion.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday said immigration officers can no longer detain and deport people from the U.S. solely because they are undocumented. The guidelines are aimed focusing officers on arresting and deporting of immigrants who pose a threat to both national and border security, as well as public safety. (CNBC)

* Supreme Court has guns, God and abortion on the docket this term (CNBC)

A U.S. Postal Service plan takes effect Friday to slow down some first-class mail deliveries as part of efforts to cut red ink as the U.S. Congress continues to consider a financial relief package for the cash-strapped agency. The new standards revise existing one- to three-day service to one to five days. (Reuters)

Lordstown Motors (RIDE) struck a deal to sell its Ohio plant to Taiwan’s Foxconn for $230 million, with Foxconn taking over the manufacturing of Lordstown’s full-sized electric pickup truck. It was reported earlier this week that a deal between the two sides was near. Lordstown rallied 6.3% in premarket trading. (CNBC)

* Foxconn will build EVs for Lordstown, rival Fisker at Ohio plant (Tech Crunch)
* U.S. auto sales forecast to plummet in third quarter as chip shortage plagues industry (CNBC)

Walt Disney (DIS) and Scarlett Johansson have settled a lawsuit involving the “Black Widow” movie. Johansson had sued Disney over the release of the movie on the Disney+ streaming service at the same time it was debuting in theaters. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. (CNBC)

* Sharon Osbourne says Ozy Media founder lied when he claimed her family invested in firm (CNBC)

About $90.1 million has mistakenly gone out to users of popular DeFi staking protocol Compound after an upgrade gone epically wrong. Now, the founder is making a plea, and issuing a few threats, to incentivize the voluntary return of the platform’s crypto tokens. (CNBC)

* El Salvador has just started mining bitcoin using the energy from volcanoes (CNBC)

JetBlue Airways‘ (JBLU) next challenge in its partnership with American Airlines (AAL) is making sure travelers know whose plane they will be on. JetBlue is revamping its website to more clearly call out services it offers, like free Wi-Fi and snacks, or its business class, Mint, for jointly sold flights. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Zoom Video Communications (ZM) and Five9 (FIVN) have terminated a nearly $15 billion deal by mutual consent. Zoom had struck a deal to buy the contact center operator, but it was rejected by Five9 shareholders. The two sides will continue a partnership that had been in place prior to the proposed transaction. Zoom jumped 4% in the premarket while Five9 slid 1.4%.

Coty (COTY) gained 2% in the premarket as it announced a deal to sell another 9% stake in its Wella beauty business to private equity firm KKR (KKR). In return, KKR will redeem about half its remaining convertible preferred shares in Wella, reducing Coty’s stake to about 30.6%. Coty had sold a 60% stake in Wella to KKR last December.

Wells Fargo (WFC) will have to face a shareholder fraud lawsuit involving its attempt to rebound from years of scandals. A judge rejected the bank’s moved to have the suit dismissed, saying it was plausible that statements by various Wells Fargo officials about the recovery were false or misleading.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) said in an SEC filing that higher oil and gas prices could boost third-quarter earnings by as much as $1.5 billion. Exxon profits have been improving amid the rising prices as well as cost cuts by the energy giant.

Nio (NIO) reported deliveries of 10,628 vehicles in September, a 126% increase over a year ago for the China-based electric vehicle maker. Nio added nearly 3.5% in the premarket.