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Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Apple, Walmart - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures wobble amid bank earnings; Apple debuts the iPhone 12; Walmart will spread Black Friday deals over three events.

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Oct. 14:

1. -- Stock Futures Wobble Amid Bank Earnings

Stock futures fluctuated Wednesday after Bank of America  (BAC)  and Goldman Sachs  (GS)  posted earnings beats but Wells Fargo  (WFC)  came up short.

Investors also weighed setbacks in the race to develop coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 3 points, S&P 500 futures slipped 4 points and Nasdaq futures gained 18 points.

Stocks ended a four-day winning streak Tuesday as investors were discouraged by Johnson & Johnson's  (JNJ)  pause of a Covid-19 vaccine following an unexplained illness in a patient, and after independent monitors ordered a pause to Eli Lilly's  (LLY)  late-stage trial of antiviral drug remdesivir plus an experimental antibody therapy due to potential safety concerns.

The uncertainty about the prospects for fresh government aid also dented sentiment on Wall Street. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would schedule a vote on a slimmed-down GOP relief bill for next week.

“As U.S. case counts heads north into October, the market is evidently still very much sensitive to the twist and turns of the vaccine development and perhaps now more than ever still lacking another fiscal injection to plug the gap into the year-end,” said Jingyi Pan of IG.

2. -- Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs Report Earnings

Bank of America earned 51 cents a share in the third quarter, beating analysts' estimates by 2 cents.

Goldman Sachs reported third-quarter earnings of $9.68 a share, smashing forecasts of $5.54.

UnitedHealth  (UNH)  reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.51 a share vs. Wall Street estimates of $3.11.

Wells Fargo  (WFC)  earned 42 cents a share in the third quarter, 2 cents below forecasts.

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The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes MBA Mortgage Applications for the week ended Oct. 9 at 7 a.m. ET and the Producer Price Index for September at 8:30 a.m.

3. -- Apple's iPhone 12 Makes Its Debut

Apple  (AAPL)  was rising in premarket trading Wednesday after launching several new products Tuesday, including the long-awaited 5G-capable iPhone 12.

Apple unveiled four different iPhone models, including the iPhone 12 mini, a 5.4-inch model starting at $699; a 6.1-inch device starting at $799, a 6.1-inch Pro model starting at $999, and a 6.7-inch pro model starting at $1,099.

“iPhone 12 mini hits the magic $699 price point,” said Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster on Twitter. “That’s a big deal and slightly expands iPhone’s addressable market. This is the first time in 7 years (iPhone 5S) that smaller form factor is part of flagship lineup.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who hosted the event at which the iPhone 12 was revealed, confirmed that 5G support was coming to the full lineup of new iPhones. The company tested 5G globally with 100 carriers. 

Verizon Communications  (VZ)  CEO Hans Vestberg declared that "5G just got real." The telecommunications giant said its 5G service would reach 60 cities by year-end. Verizon also will turn on its low-band 5G network in more than 200 cities to offer broad coverage, he said.

Apple rose 0.36% to $121.53 in premarket trading Wednesday. The stock slumped 2.65% on Tuesday.

4. -- ConocoPhillips Reportedly in Talks to Buy Rival Concho Resources

ConocoPhillips  (COP)  is in talks to acquire rival Concho Resources  (CXO) , Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move from one of America’s largest independent oil explorers would be a bold bet on shale during an historic industry downturn, noted Bloomberg in its report.

The companies may announce a deal in the next few weeks. No final decision has been made and talks could fall through.

Shares of Concho Resources rose 10.35% to $48.71 in premarket trading Wednesday.

ConocoPhillips, Bloomberg said, has been hinting about a potential deal for months. In July, CEO Ryan Lance said the company was encouraged by the low premiums needed for acquisitions in the shale sector, citing Chevron’s  (CVX)  deal to buy Noble Energy  (NBL)  for about $5 billion.

5. -- Walmart Spreading Black Friday Over Three Events

Walmart  (WMT) , the world's largest retailer, plans to spread out its Black Friday deals over three days in November instead of the traditional one as it looks to reduce crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.

To encourage customers to shop from their computers or smartphones, Walmart said more of its doorbuster deals will be reserved for online.

Walmart said deals online will begin Nov. 4, with new deals in stores on Nov. 7. It will then hold an online event Nov. 11, followed by in-store sales Nov. 14. The last day of online discounts for Walmart's "Black Friday Deals for Days" will be Nov. 25, with new discounts in stores Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional Black Friday.

“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S.