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Good morning! Stock market futures today (Friday) indicate a market open 185 points higher than yesterday's close. Markets are rallying after positive economic data in the U.S. eased nerves. European stocks soared the most in seven months this morning.
The most important numbers to watch today – besides the Dow – are U.S. housing starts and the University of Michigan index on consumer sentiment. Consensus views expect housing starts to rebound from August's 14.4% decline. Meanwhile, preliminary numbers suggest that the October consumer sentiment measure declined to 84.0 from 84.6 in September. This expected decline is tied to concerns about global growth, European and Chinese weakness, and the ongoing Ebola outbreak.
Here's a roundup of the top stories affecting the stock market today – plus our "Tip of the Day":
- Tech Troubles: Shares of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) were down 1% in premarket hours. The company missed analysts' third-quarter earnings expectations yesterday – click here for the five most important takeaways from GOOG earnings. Meanwhile, shares of eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) dipped more than 4.5% yesterday after the online retailer slashed its full-year revenue forecast. The company also released earnings this week; you can get the full story here.
- Ebola Breakout: As global health professionals are looking for new ways to detect and combat the deadly Ebola virus, pharmaceutical giant Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTC: RHHBY) is deciding whether the company will submit its Ebola detection test for emergency approval with the Food and Drug Administration. According to Reuters, the company's diagnostic test can determine whether a patient is positive for the deadly virus within two hours – far better than current testing measures. Shares of Roche were up more than 1% yesterday, while most of its peers lagged.
- The Deal's Off: Global fertilizer giants CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CF) and Norway's Yara International have called off talks of a possible merger. The deal would have created a massive international company with a market cap of $26.4 billion and global sales in the range of $19 billion to $20 billion. Additionally, it would've given CF a strategic advantage in acquiring natural gas in Europe by gaining Yara's distribution network. Shares of CF dipped in premarket hours.
- Going Digital: Shares of CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) rose nearly 1% yesterday on news that the network will build and offer its own online video subscription service. The service, poised to launch in 2015, will be called "CBS All Access" and will cost viewers $5.95 a month. It'll include full current seasons of 15 primetime shows and a library of more than 5,000 previous episodes. The news came not long after Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeffrey Bewkes announced that HBO will offer its own online-streaming service starting in 2015.
- Battling Back: Despite weakness in the oilfield services industry due to falling oil prices, shares of Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) ticked upward 1.5% in post-market hours. The company announced it beat quarterly earnings expectations, with profits increasing 14% on strong business development in North America. Meanwhile, Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) saw shares slide more than 3% after the company reported weaker-than-expected earnings.
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