Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Oct. 9:
1. -- Stock Futures Surge on Report China Still Open to Partial Trade Deal
U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday ahead of high-level trade talks Thursday in Washington after a report from Bloomberg said China was still open to agreeing a partial trade agreement with the U.S. as long as no more tariffs are imposed by Donald Trump.
Two rounds of higher duties are set to take in October and in December. The Bloomberg report cited an official with direct knowledge of the talks.
Traders, however, remained cautious stance with the U.S. unveiling restrictions and sanctions on Chinese interests and Beijing warning to "stay tuned" for reprisals in the darkening mood between the world's two largest economies.
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday announced visa restrictions on senior Chinese officials, a move it tied to the Commerce Department's decision to blacklist eight China-based technology companies, as well as 20 separate entities, for their role in mistreating ethnic minority Muslims around China.
The two policy moves followed a report that said White House officials were looking at ways in which to limit government pension fund investments in Chinese stocks, which only added to the broader feelings of ill will ahead of the trade talks, which are scheduled to include China's Vice Premier Liu Hie, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 189 points, futures for the S&P 500 gained 24.40 points, and Nasdaq futures were up 72.25 points.
Stocks finished lower Tuesday as optimism waned ahead of the high-level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
The Dow ended down 314 points, or 1.19%, to 26,164, the S&P 500 dropped 1.56% and the Nasdaq, which had its worst day since Aug. 23, fell 1.7%.
2. -- Jolts Report, Fed Minutes Are Highlights of Wednesday's Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for August at 10 a.m. ET, Wholesale Trade for August at 10 a.m., Oil Inventories for the week ended Oct. 4, at 10:30 a.m., and minutes from the Federal Reserve's Sept. 17-18 meeting, at which the central bank cut interest rates for the second time in 2019.
3. -- Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $8 Billion Damages Over Antipsychotic Drug
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) declined in premarket trading Wednesday after a jury in Pennsylvania ordered the consumer healthcare giant to pay $8 billion in damages linked to the side effects from its antipsychotic drug Risperdal, opening the potential for similar suits around the state.
Jurors in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas said Tuesday that Johnson & Johnson needed to pay the $8 billion in punitive damages on top of a $680,000 compensatory judgment from 2018 for failing to warn Risperdal user Nicholas Murray of the risks of gynecomastia, a condition in which men can develop enlarged breasts.
"This award is grossly disproportionate with the initial compensatory award in this case, and the company is confident it will be overturned," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement following the verdict, which is vowed to appeal. "This decision is inconsistent with multiple determinations outside of Philadelphia regarding the adequacy of the Risperdal labeling, the medicine's efficacy, and findings in support of the company."
The company faces more than 13,000 legal cases related to Risperdal, according to its latest 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The stock declined 1.65% in premarket trading to $129.66.
4. -- Levi Strauss Beats Profit and Revenue Expectations
Levi Strauss (LEVI) rose in premarket trading Wednesday, up 1.21% to $19.19, after the jeans maker posted fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations.
Adjusted profit of 31 cents a share beat estimates by 3 cents, while revenue of $1.45 billion topped forecasts of $1.44 billion.
Strength in Europe and Asia helped drive the quarter. Revenue in Europe jumped 14% year over year while revenue in Asia rose 9%.
CEO Chip Bergh cited "strategies to diversify to faster-growing high-opportunity, high-gross-margin businesses" as factors in the results.
Revenue in the Americas business segment fell 3%.
"As for the fourth quarter, we again expect strong performance in international, direct-to-consumer, women's and tops, and improved comparisons for U.S. wholesale," Bergh said.
For the year, Levi Strauss expects revenue to increase 5.5% to 6% on a constant-currency basis.
5. -- Power Outages Begin in California Amid Fire Danger
Millions of people could lose electricity throughout northern and central California after PG&E (PCG - Get Report) announced Tuesday it would shut off power in the largest preventive outage in state history to try to avert wildfires caused by faulty lines.
The utility company began turning off power to 800,000 customers in 34 counties early Wednesday amid forecasts of windy, dry weather that create extreme fire danger. To the south, Southern California Edison, owned by Edison International (EIX - Get Report) , also said Tuesday that more than 106,000 of its customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts.
Customers notified of a #PSPS may be affected by a power shutoff even if they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their location bc the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across regions. More FAQs: https://t.co/92ha3cHypP pic.twitter.com/ySDSkUlVuT— PG&E (@PGE4Me) October 8, 2019
The outages come as residents in the region's wine country north of San Francisco marked the two-year anniversary of deadly wildfires that killed 44 and destroyed thousands of homes. San Francisco is the only county in the nine-county Bay Area where power won't be affected, according to the Associated Press.