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Democrats Bring Sequester into Debt Debate; Netflix Talking to Cable; Twitter IPO Terms

Hot Stock Minute

Bond markets are closed for Columbus Day, but stock futures are down amid a new wrinkle in the debt wrangling. Democrats are moving the sequester front and center in the debate. Here's the latest: Senate Dems now say they'll refuse any deal that locks in budget cuts for next year. This is a change; Previously, they were pushing for a clean bill simply to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling; Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are speaking, and said to be inching closer to a deal, but keep in mind we're now just three days from hitting the debt ceiling, and 14 days into the government shutdown. Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli has more on market reaction in the video above.

Breaking news: three Americans have just been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in economics. Their pictures were flashed on a screen in Stockholm as the announcement was made. They're Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen (both from the University of Chicago) as well as Robert Shiller who you know from the Case-Shiller housing index. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences credits the three men with laying the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices through their separate research.

Netflix (NFLX) may soon be appearing beside the TV networks. The Wall Street Journal says the streaming service is in talks with several cable companies including Comcast (CMCSA). Netflix has already inked a deal overseas with Virgin Media in the UK. But the Journal says negotiations on this side of the ocean are still in the early stages. Netflix shares are up 227% so far this year. As for Comcast, its shares are up much more modestly, about 20%.

Twitter is setting some uncharacteristic terms for its IPO. Banks participating in the offering are set to get just 3.25% in underwriting fees. That would be the smallest percentage on any U.S. IPO in more than a year. Facebook (FB) paid an underwriting fee of just 1.1% in May of last year, but paid far more in total dollars because its IPO was much larger. Pandora (P) and LinkedIn (LNKD) both paid 7%.

STOCKS TO WATCH

J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) reports earnings today. The company is expected to post profits of 78-cents a share, up from 65-cents a year ago, That would be on revenue that's risen about 12% to 1.45-billion. Many analysts consider JB's trucking business a good indicator of the overall economy. By the way, BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage of the company last week with an outperform rating. Cleveland research however, lists the stock as a neutral. Shares of J.B. Hunt are up 21% so far this year.

Packaging Corp of America (PKG) reports its earnings after the closing bell. The Illinois-based maker of containers is expected to report earnings of 89-cents a share. That would be up from 55-cents a year ago. Rising profits are already reflected in the stock price. It's up 47% year-to-date, and hit an all-time high on September 19th.

General Motors (GM) opens a new parts plant in Arlington, Texas today. This is key because GM already has an assembly plant in Arlington, so the company predicts annual savings of about 40-million dollars in shipping costs. GM shares are up 21% so far this year. Not bad at all. However, Tesla, its newest American competitor, is up 405% in the same period.

A number of companies reporting tomorrow as earnings season begins in earnest. They include Citigroup (C), Coca-Cola (KO), CSX (CSX), Domino's (DPZ), Intel (INTC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and our own parent company Yahoo (YHOO).

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