Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Sept. 30:
1. -- Stock Futures Slide After Trump-Biden Debate
Stock futures slumped Wednesday after an acrimonious debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden amped up investors' worries over a contested election.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 213 points, S&P 500 futures declined 22 points and Nasdaq futures were down 92 points.
During the debate that dissolved into little more than a 90-minute shouting match, Trump escalated his efforts to undermine public confidence in the election, saying at one point the election was already "rigged" despite no evidence of that.
“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump said Tuesday night in Cleveland. “We might not know for months because these ballots are going to be all over.”
He also said he would ask the Supreme Court to "look at” the ballots cast in November.
“What we’ve seen from the debate is the reinforcement that if Biden wins, Trump is not going to accept that,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group in Melbourne, told Bloomberg. “People positioned for an ugly contest afterwards have been validated.”
Stocks finished lower Tuesday as investors remained discouraged by the lack of progress on a fiscal stimulus package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have spoken the past two days and are set to discuss further on Wednesday a $2.2 trillion slimmed down coronavirus aid proposal from House Democrats.
The Dow finished down 131 points, or 0.48%, to 27,452, the S&P 500 declined 0.48%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.29%.
2. -- Wednesday's Calendar: ADP Jobs Report, GDP
The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the ADP National Employment Report for September at 8:15 a.m. ET, the third and final estimate of second-quarter Gross Domestic Product, Chicago PMI for September at 9:45 a.m., Pending Home Sales for August at 10 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended Sept. 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Economists expect the ADP report to show that U.S. private employers added 605,000 jobs to payrolls in September vs. 428,000 in August.
As for GDP, economists forecast a contraction of 31.7% in the second quarter, similar to the previous estimate.
3. -- Walt Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Workers
The entertainment and media giant will lay off 28,000 employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered its parks and other lines of business. Josh D’Amaro, Disney's head of parks, experiences and products, announced the layoffs in an email to employees on Tuesday.
The email indicated that 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees. The layoffs affected Disney's parks, experiences and consumer products segment, which consists of its theme parks and resorts, cruise lines, vacation programs and other businesses.
“For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity,” wrote D'Amaro.
Disney's parks across the globe have been closed or operating at limited capacity since March, when the company shut them down in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Disney said Tuesday the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been "exacerbated in California by the state's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen." Disneyland has been closed since March.
Disney shares declined 2.49% to $122.28 in premarket trading Wednesday.
4. -- Palantir's Reference Price Set at $7.25
Palantir Technologies, the data-analytics software company, had a “reference price” for its highly anticipated direct listing set at $7.25 late Tuesday.
At $7.25 a share, Palantir's market value would be about $16 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Palantir had informed investors shares were expected to begin trading around $10 each, a price that would give the company a valuation of roughly $22 billion.
The New York Stock Exchange noted in a statement that the "opening public price will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers. Based on such orders, the Designated Market Maker will determine an opening price in consultation with a financial advisor and pursuant to applicable NYSE rules."
For the third quarter, Palantir forecast revenue of $278 million to $280 million, representing year-over-year growth of 46% to 47%.
5. -- Boeing to Consolidate 787 Production in South Carolina
The move by the plane maker would end production of the jetliner in Washington state.
It wasn't clear over what period of time the consolidation would play out, or how many employees might be affected by the move, the Journal said.
Boeing previously had said it was studying options to handle a slowdown in demand for the 787 during the coronavirus pandemic. At its peak, Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington, made about 15 widebody jets a month.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, said in a statement that "Boeing's decision to pull its 787 production out of Washington state is shortsighted and misplaced."