Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Oct. 11:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a softer open for Wall Street on Wednesday, Oct. 11, as investors awaited the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting in September.
 
At that meeting, the Fed left interest rates unchanged at 1% to 1.25%. But, as expected, the Fed said it would begin unwinding its massive balance sheet, beginning with a reduction of up to $10 billion a month. 

One surprise was that Fed officials sounded far more hawkish on the future path of rate hikes. Investors had predicted that the Fed would slow the pace of rate hikes as the U.S. economy faces consistently soft inflation, coupled with wage growth that's stuck in neutral. But 12 of the 16 FOMC members said they anticipate a third rate hike this year, while 11 of the 16 anticipate three hikes next year.

In addition to the Fed minutes at 2 p.m. ET, the  economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the  Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for August at 10 a.m.
 
BlackRock Inc. ( BLK)  reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $5.92 a share, topping forecasts of $5.57. The stock rose 0.8% in premarket trading.
 
Earnings reports are also expected Wednesday from Delta Air Lines Inc. ( DAL)  and Fastenal Co. ( FAST) .
 
Stocks finished higher on Tuesday, Oct. 10, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average notching a new closing high following strong gains from retail giant Walmart Stores Inc. ( WMT) .
 
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2. -- Billionaire activist Bill Ackman on Tuesday defended a blockbuster campaign he has underway at Automated Data Processing Inc. ( ADP) , arguing during an hour-long call intended to reach the payroll firm's large retail investor base that the company's corporate headquarters and U.S. offices should be integrated. 

"The opportunity here is relatively straightforward," Ackman said on a webcast. "Restructure the organization, reduce its complexity, redesign the incentives, make it focused more on the clients, reduce bureaucracy and consolidate the footprint of the real estate." 

The comments came as many analysts and investors, including Omega Advisors' Leon Cooperman, who once held a board seat at ADP, point to ADP's overall record of share-price improvement and don't believe that the company is struggling or needs a significant refocus.

Ackman is seeking to gain the support of retail investors, a significant block, representing about 28% of ADP's shares for a contest he has underway to install a minority slate of three dissident director candidates at the company's annual meeting on Nov. 7. 

3. -- Driver's license data for close to 11 million Americans were compromised during the breach of Equifax Inc.'s (EFX) systems, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The license information was accessed by hackers who also took personal information, such as Social Security numbers, of potentially 145.5 million Americans. Not all those people would have had license information in Equifax's system, the Journal noted.

Equifax said separately on Tuesday that a file containing 15.2 million U.K. consumer records was attacked during the company's hack.

In recent weeks, Equifax told customers, mainly financial institutions, that the driver's license information for 10.9 million consumers was accessed, the people told the Journal.

4. -- Facebook Inc. (FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will head to Washington this week as the company attempts to contain the political fallout from revelations that Russian agents spread disinformation on the social network, Recode.net reported.

Sandberg's trip -- confirmed to Recode on Tuesday by multiple sources -- comes as Facebook prepares to join its tech peers and testify at two public congressional hearings next month that are focused on Russia's suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sandberg is also expected to meet on Thursday, Oct. 12, with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, two sources told Recode. The caucus has long raised questions about diversity at Facebook, given the fact that its workforce is predominately white and male. But the Congressional Black Caucus more recently has scrutinized Facebook following reports that Russian agents purchased ads on the site aimed at riling tensions around groups like Black Lives Matter, Recode noted.

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5. -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) , the Chinese e-commerce giant, said Wednesday it would invest more than $15 billion in research and development over the next three years, with the intention of increasing collaboration and developing cutting-edge technologies.

Alibaba said it was launching the Alibaba DAMO Academy, which stands for discovery, adventure, momentum and outlook, to oversee the opening of R&D labs worldwide and to recruit scientists and researchers. Alibaba's chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang, will lead the unit.

According to the Journal, Alibaba's spending on research and development in the past three years was about $6 billion.

This story has been updated from 6:04 a.m. ET.

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