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Syria talks and Congress avoids shutdown — 5 things to know today

Let's hope the talks go better than the body language.Photograph by Dominick Reuter — AFP/Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are starting the new quarter on a brighter note after the worst three-month period in over three years. Tentative signs of the Chinese economy bottoming out have helped sentiment today, putting a bit more bounce into commodity prices and other ‘risk assets’. Crude oil future are up over a dollar at $46.08, while the dollar is flat against the euro.

Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Erin Griffith and it looks Twitter (TWTR) co-founder Jack Dorsey’s history with the company and why he was once pushed out of the CEO role that he has now reportedly reclaimed.

Here’s what else you need to know to start the day.

1. U.S., Russia to clear the air(strikes) over Syria

The U.S. and Russia are to hold talks about their respective air campaigns in Syria. Russia Wednesday started its biggest military action outside the former Soviet Union since its withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, but drew American ire for targeting, among others, CIA-backed rebels against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, rather than the jihadists of the so-called Islamic State. The lack of coordination between the two powers (the U.S. refused a Russian request to clear Syrian airspace yesterday) has raised fears of an accidental clash between their airforces.

2. No government shutdown today

After weeks of debates and partisan posturing, Congress ended up passing a temporary spending bill that will keep federal agencies funded through December 11, averting a government shutdown that would have started today with the beginning of a new fiscal year. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner helped shepherd the bill through the approval process, winning the support of a number of Democrats due to the heavy opposition within the Republican party that paved the way for Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker, effective at the end of October.

3. Micron Technology earnings

Semiconductor chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) reports fourth-quarter financial results today and the Boise, Idaho-based company is expected to post quarterly profit that falls below Wall Street’s expectations. Lower prices for computer chips have hurt Micron, which makes chips for computers as well as memory chips used for storing music, pictures and other data. With demand expected to pick back up in 2016, Micron’s stock recently rebounded from two-year lows following an analyst’s positive outlook.

4. Auto sales and jobless claims

U.S. automakers will report sales figures for the month of September, with an expected 17.6 million sales of car and light trucks that would represent an increase from the 16.5 million sold during the same month last year. Meanwhile, another report that could shed more light on the trajectory of the U.S. economy will come from the Labor Department, which is expected to show that the number of Americans who filed new applications for unemployment benefits increased by 3,000 to 270,000 last week.

5. Retailers face credit card chip deadline

Today brings the credit card industry’s self-imposed deadline for retailers to switch provide point-of-sale terminals that can read consumers’ chip-enabled cards. Announced two years ago by credit card companies, the deadline marks the transition from consumers sliding their credit cards’ magnetic strips to dipping their chip-enabled cards into a similar machine. However, only about 40% of credit card holders have started using their new chip cards, according to, while it’s also possible that only about a quarter of U.S. merchants will have their equipment upgraded in time to meet today’s deadline. In other words, the swipe might not be dead yet.

— Reuters contributed to this report.