What to watch today: Dow set to drop after four days of strong gains

Dow futures pointed to a decline at Friday's open, following Wall Street's four-session rally this week. Vote-counting, jobs data, and spiking coronavirus cases are all factors for investors. (CNBC)

* On Friday morning, Democrat Joe Biden jumped to a slim lead in Georgia and narrowed President Donald Trump's lead in Pennsylvania.

* The government releases its October employment report at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the stock market opens.

* According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, new U.S. Covid-19 cases Thursday surged to a single-day record of more than 120,000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday rose 542 points or nearly 2%. The S&P 500 also climbed 2% while the Nasdaq advanced 2.6%. For the week so far, the Dow and S&P 500 were each up over 7% and the Nasdaq was up nearly 9%.

Economists expected the government's latest monthly employment report to show nonfarm job growth of 530,000 positions in October. The nation's unemployment report is seen dropping to 7.7%. Nonfarm payrolls rose by a lower-than-expected 661,000 in September, with an unemployment rate of 7.9%. (CNBC)

CVS Health (CVS) reported a better-than-expected 3.5% jump in third-quarter revenue and raised its full-year earnings guidance Friday as its plan to remake the drugstore chain into a health service company paid off. Adjusted Q3 earnings of $1.66 per share also beat expectations. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

On the road to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Biden was still 17 votes away. But in addition to pulling slightly ahead in Georgia, the former vice president led in Arizona and Nevada on Friday. The president's lead in Pennsylvania was narrowing. In the other battleground state yet to be called, Trump was still leading in North Carolina. (CNBC)

With multiple paths to the presidency, Biden has been urging patience with the vote counting, saying Thursday, "the process is working." By contrast, as Trump's chances for reelection appeared to dim further, the president Thursday leveled a barrage of election allegations without any evidence. NBC, ABC, and CBS all cut away during Trump's remarks. (AP)

* CNBC's Shepard Smith fact checks Trump's remarks on alleged voter fraud

Democrats will keep their House majority, according to NBC News. But after a series of rough early returns, the party will likely have fewer seats in January than it does now. House Democrats on Thursday cast blame on their election messaging and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the stumbles. (CNBC)

While the balance of power in the Senate remained too close to call, it does appear that Republicans will hold on to their majority. Several races are outstanding, but two Georgia runoffs could tip the scales. (AP)

The U.S. recorded 121,888 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, the highest single-day increase ever. New daily infections topped 100,000 for the first time Wednesday, with 102,831 confirmed. (CNBC)

Even the seven-day average was nearing 95,000 new daily cases, an almost 24% increase from the previous seven-day period. Twenty-seven states hit record high new cases Thursday. The U.S. has over 9.6 million total Covid-19 cases, with deaths from the disease approaching 235,000. (JHU)

* Doctors share their ideas on how to get people to pay attention to Covid restrictions (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

ViacomCBS (VIAC) earned an adjusted 91 cents per share for the third quarter, 11 cents above estimates, with revenue also coming in above analyst projections. Results were helped by stronger demand for streaming services CBS All Access and Showtime.

Coty (COTY) reported an unexpected profit for its latest quarter, with sales beating forecasts as well. The cosmetics maker's bottom line benefited from a jump in online sales.

Hershey (HSY) beat estimates by 14 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.86 per share, with revenue also beating estimates. Hershey saw strong Halloween sales, as well as higher demand for chocolate chips and cocoa powder by stay-at-home consumers.

Marriott (MAR) earned an adjusted 6 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to forecasts of 7 cent loss, while revenue was essentially in line with forecasts. Marriott did take a pandemic-related hit, with profit falling 74% from a year ago.

Uber (UBER) reported a quarterly loss of 62 cents per share, 3 cents smaller than analysts had forecast, but revenue was shy of estimates. Uber is seeing a slow recovery in its ride-hailing business, although demand is surging for its Uber Eats food delivery service.

Peloton (PTON) beat estimates by 9 cents with quarterly earnings of 20 cents per share, and revenue beat estimates as well on strong demand for Peloton's at-home exercise equipment. Peloton did warn of possible supply constraints due to that heavy demand.

Square (SQ) earned an adjusted 34 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to a 16 cent consensus estimate, with the mobile payment service's revenue coming in above forecasts as well. Square was helped by a rebound in payment volumes after a decline earlier in the year.

T-Mobile US (TMUS) reported quarterly profit of $1 per share, more than double the 43 cent consensus estimate, with the mobile operator's revenue also above estimates. T-Mobile also more than doubled consensus estimates for customer additions during the quarter.

Roku (ROKU) reported a 9 cents per share profit for the third quarter, compared to forecasts for a loss of 40 cents per share. Revenue also beat estimates. The streaming video device maker saw active accounts jump 43% compared to a year earlier, as more consumers bought devices amid the pandemic.

Electronic Arts (EA) is expecting holiday quarter sales of $2.35 billion, which would be up sharply from the most recent quarter but short of analyst forecasts. The videogame maker said it is seeing robust demand for its "Madden NFL 21" game, which was released in August.

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) raised its annual sales forecast after quarterly earnings beat Wall Street forecasts, based on strong projected demand for video games like "Grand Theft Auto V" and "NBA 2K21."

Zillow Group (ZG) more than tripled the consensus estimate of 11 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of 37 cents per share, and the real estate website operator also saw revenue beat forecasts. Zillow reported an unadjusted profit for the first time in 3 years and the largest in its history.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) lost an adjusted $7.04 per share for the third quarter, wider than the loss of $4.02 per share that analysts had been anticipating. The casino operator is seeing slow recoveries in its Las Vegas and Macau markets.

IAC (IAC) is considering spinning off its stake in video platform Vimeo, following a fundraising round that raised $150 million and values the unit at $2.75 billion.

Investor Carl Icahn raised his stake in Xerox (XRX) to 14.4%from the prior 12.9%, according to an SEC filing.

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