* Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to assure legislators about the company's commitment to security and privacy with its planned digital currency Libra, depicting the project as key to ensuring U.S. leadership in the global movement toward digital payments. He acknowledged that Facebook "isn't the ideal messenger" for U.S. leadership of digital currency given high-profile controversies involving user privacy on its platform, but he stressed that Libra fit within Facebook's core mission.
* The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dropped investigations into Snap Inc. over claims that it misled investors before its public listing in 2017. The DOJ and the SEC started investigating after a group of Snap investors sued the Snapchat parent over claims the company did not detail the extent of its competition with Facebook's photo-sharing app Instagram LLC during the second half of 2016.
* Apple Inc. will be among a group of backers expected to provide financial support to cash-strapped display panel maker Japan Display Inc., the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Japan Display said a consortium of clients agreed to a ¥40 billion relief package for the company, with the iPhone maker set to be responsible for the majority of the lifeline, according to a source.
* Microsoft Corp. beat expectations for its 2020 fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 on the continued strength of its Azure cloud-computing services. The company reported total revenue of $33.06 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, up 14% from $29.08 billion in the prior-year period. Net income for the quarter totaled $10.68 billion, or $1.38 per share, up 21% from $8.82 billion, or $1.14 per share, a year ago.
Cable & Wireless
* Comcast Corp. is urging U.S. lawmakers to decide against Google LLC's plans to encrypt web traffic, Vice Media LLC's Motherboard reports. The Alphabet Inc. unit plans to implement encryption soon, which would enforce the encryption of DNS data made using Chrome, making it harder for internet service providers to determine users' browsing history.
* While cable operators are expected to continue losing video subscribers, analysts still expect a strong third quarter for margins at large U.S. cable companies as a broadband-first strategy continues to drive gains. Analysts also project that large U.S. cable operators will continue to experience the trend of shedding video subscribers.
* As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission weighs options for getting more mid-band spectrum in the hands of wireless carriers eager to launch next-generation 5G networks, industry executives stressed that a path forward is needed — and fast. The FCC is looking at how to open up the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz band, commonly referred to as the C-band, for wireless use.
Internet & OTT
* Walt Disney Co.'s upcoming streaming service, Disney+, is working on a sequel of 1993's fantasy comedy "Hocus Pocus," Variety reports. The service has already hired the writer and co-producer of "Workaholics," Jen D'Angelo, for the sequel.
* "Big Bang Theory" star Johnny Galecki is teaming up with writer and executive producer Anthony Del Broccolo to develop a multi-camera comedy about esports at NBC (US), called "The Squad," Variety reports. The show follows a new group of friends, who find companionship and common ground in their mutual love of competitive esports.
* Verizon Communications Inc. teamed up with telecom-equipment maker Corning Inc. and German software giant SAP SE to develop services based on 5G and internet of things-enabled data analytics, respectively. Corning will use Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband service to test 5G use cases for factory automation and quality assurance at its fiber-optic cable manufacturing facility in Hickory, N.C.
* RingCentral Inc. agreed to become the exclusive provider of unified communications as a service solutions to Avaya Holdings Corp. Under the agreement, the two entities will introduce a new service, called Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng jumped 0.87% to 26,797.95, while the Nikkei 225 was up 0.55% to 22,750.60.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.69% to 1,099.00, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.68% to 1,098.98.
On the macro front
The durable goods orders report, the jobless claims report, the PMI composite FLASH report, the new home sales report, the EIA natural gas report, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
The Daily Dose Europe: MásMóvil's rumored offer; Vivendi on Banijay's deal; Italy's broadband JV: MásMóvil Ibercom SA denied talks to buy Vodafone España SAU, Vivendi SA is willing to maintain a minority stake in a merged Banijay Group SAS-Endemol Shine Group Ltd. Shine entity, and up to 15 funds are looking to invest in a joint venture between Telecom Italia SpA and Enel Open Fiber SPA.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank/WeWork deal terms; Apple's Japan Display rescue; Indian telcos' merger: SoftBank Group Corp. will own approximately 80% of WeWork Companies Inc., Apple will be among a group of backers to provide financial support to cash-strapped Japan Display, and India will merge state-backed telcos BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.
Hires and Fires: Baker Media CEO joins LiveXLive board; Former DHX Media CEO resigns from board: LiveXLive Media Inc. appointed Baker Media CEO Bridget Baker to its board, while Michael Donovan, who earlier this year stepped down as CEO of DHX Media Ltd., resigned from the company's board.
Technology: Global smart homes: Decent growth in 2019, but penetration still skimpy: The number of global smart homes is increasing, although total penetration remains quite low, expected to be only 3% in 2019.
Technology: Fiber, 5G and FWA Headline Broadband World Forum: 10G PON – specifically XGS-PON's success and the "death" of NG-PON2 – and fiber-as-a-5G enabler were hot topics at the 2019 Broadband World Forum held Oct. 15-17 in Amsterdam.
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