Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Sept. 19:
1. -- Stock Futures Point Lower After Fed Reduces Rates
U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street Thursday after the Federal Reserve cut U.S. rates for the second time this year - but only the second since 2008 - to deliver what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell called "insurance against ongoing risks" to the world's biggest economy.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 71 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 8.10 points, and Nasdaq futures slumped 34.25 points.
The 7-3 vote by the Fed in favor of a rate cut of 25 basis points takes the target range to 1.75% to 2%. Two central bank officials voted against any cut in rates, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard advocated for a larger easing of 50 basis points.
"We are going to be highly data-dependent," Powell told reporters in Washington following the Fed's rate decision on Wednesday. "We are not on a pre-set course, we are going to be making decisions meeting by meeting."
With projections from the 17 members of the Fed's board - not all of whom vote during regular policy meetings - indicating a broad mix of outcomes over the next few months, markets were left confused as to when, and indeed if, the Fed would be prepared to lower rates again.
That uncertainty led to a mixed finish for Wall Street on Wednesday with the Dow and S&P 500 edging into positive territory and the Nasdaq closing slightly lower.
Meanwhile, the New York Federal Reserve will conduct its third repo operation in as many days Thursday, offering another $75 billion in cash - on top of the $128 billion it has put on the table over the past two days - for eligible securities in an attempt to further ease funding conditions among its 24 primary dealers.
2. -- Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Highlight the Economic Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for September at 8:30 a.m., and Existing Home Sales for August at 10 a.m.
3. -- Apple Arcade Launches Thursday for $4.99 a Month
Apple Arcade launches Thursday for $4.99 a month in more than 150 countries through the tech giant's App Store.
According to Apple, which announced the service last week, subscriptions can be shared with up to six family members. Games played on Apple Arcade won't have ads or offer in-app purchases.
"It will be a challenge to monetize this," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told The Wall Street Journal. "But if Apple didn't think it was possible, they never would've gone down this path."
Cowen analyst Doug Creutz said he has "a hard time seeing this work. There are a tremendous number of free games on the [App Store], many of which are quite good."
Mobile games are big business: According to research from App Annie, mobile games accounted for 74% of worldwide consumer spending across iOS and Google Play last year, with total spending on iOS outpacing Google Play by 50%. The majority of that spending is on "freemium" games with in-app purchases rather than on paid games, however, and Apple views Arcade as the answer to the lopsided nature of the mobile games market.
Separately, Apple's long-serving head of communications, Steve Dowling, will be leaving the company.
Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, will take over Dowling's duties on an interim basis while Apple looks for a permanent replacement.
4. -- Datadog Raises $648 Million in IPO
Datadog raised $648 million in its initial public offering, pricing 24 million shares at $27 each, above its already increased target range of $24 to $26.
Separately, Bloomberg reported that Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Reportapproached Datadog in recent weeks with a takeover offer significantly higher than the $7 billion valuation it was aiming for in its IPO.l public offering, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Datadog rebuffed the offer to pursue a stock listing because it felt it could be worth more as a public company over time. Talks between Cisco and Datadog are no longer active and Datadog is committed to going public, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
5. -- AT&T Looking to Spin Off DirecTV or Combine It With Dish - Reports
AT&T (T) - Get Reportcould be preparing to either spin off its DirecTV business or orchestrate a deal to combine it with Dish Network (DISH) - Get Report , according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T, which is currently being pressured to streamline its business and improve profitability by activist hedge fund Elliott Management, is looking at ways in which it can hive DirecTV from its broader portfolio. Reuters, however, cited sources who said regulatory issues would make a combination with Dish Network difficult and that no talks were currently taking place.
The federal government rejected a Dish/DirecTV merger proposal in 2001.
AT&T rose 0.49% to $36.94 in premarket trading. The stock has risen more than 2.6% since Elliott first revealed its $3.2 billion stake in AT&T on Sept. 9.
Dish was inactive in premarket trading. The stock finished Wednesday at $36, up 1.2%.