Pharma megadeal and Starbucks earnings — 5 things to know today

October 29, 2015, 11:00 AM UTC
A Starbucks cafe in Sanlitun.  For the third quarter of 2015
BEIJING, CHINA - 2015/08/08: A Starbucks cafe in Sanlitun. For the third quarter of 2015, Starbucks store sales increased by 11% for China. The Chinese market can serve as a long-term growth driver for the company. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Photograph by Zhang Peng — LightRocket via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are mostly lower after comments from the Federal Reserve suggesting that an interest rate hike in December is back on the table. That has driven the dollar higher again, and no-one needs reminding what a strong dollar has done for big corporate earnings recently. Crude oil prices have given up some of their gains after yesterday’s bullish U.S. inventory data, but are still comfortably above $45 a barrel.

Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Kristen Bellstrom and it looks at the recent trend of old media giants turning to young, female writers and content creators in order to better attract millennial women consumers.

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

1. When Viagra met Botox: Pfizer and Allergan consider merging

Viagra-maker Pfizer and Botox-maker Allergan are considering a merger that would create the world’s most valuable healthcare company, worth over $300 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. If it comes off, the deal would top off a blockbuster year for M&A in the pharmaceuticals sector this year that has seen over $800 billion worth of deals. A merger would allow Pfizer to realize its long-held ambition of cutting its tax burden by moving its tax domicile outside the U.S.. Allergan is domiciled in low-tax Ireland.

2. Starbucks investors hope for another beat

The coffee chain giant is expected to show strong growth in food and beverage sales for the fourth quarter as well as the company’s full fiscal year. Investors’ expectations will be high once again after Starbucks (SBUX) beat Wall Street’s expectations for the previous quarter over the summer.

3. U.S. GDP

It’s expected that U.S. economic growth slowed down in the third quarter after companies cut back on inventories and the strong U.S. dollar hurt foreign trade. Economists expect gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.6% in the third quarter after growing at a rate of 3.9% in the previous quarter.

4. Time Warner Cable earnings

The trend of customers leaving cable companies for cheaper streaming services continues to take a toll on Time Warner Cable (TWC), which is expected to report third-quarter profit that falls short of Wall Street’s expectations. While rival cable operator Comcast (CMCSA) managed to fare well last quarter in spite of cord-cutters, Comcast has a wide range of revenue-generating entertainment properties to help offset lost cable subscribers. Meanwhile, investors will be want to hear about Time Warner’s new Internet-only television service, announced earlier this week.

5. Weekly jobless claims

The Labor Department is expected to report that the number of people in the U.S. who filed new applications for unemployment benefits last week increased by 4,000 claims from the 259,000 claims reported for the previous week.


— Reuters contributed to this post.

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