Dow Futures Rise as Amazon Goes on a Hiring Spree

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

According to stock index futures as of 7:15 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will open higher this morning, gaining a modest 39 points at the opening bell. World markets shrugged off the news that the U.S. government was shutting down after budget negotiations failed overnight. European stocks traded higher, and the Japanese Nikkei index rose as business confidence in the world's third-largest economy hit a nearly six-year high.

Closer to home, carmakers will be in focus today as sales figures are released for the month of September. The industry grew at a blistering 16 million-unit annual pace in August, and analysts expect last month's figure to come in slightly lower at around 15.5 million.

With those broader trends in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market. is expecting a busy holiday-shopping season. The online retailer announced this morning that it plans to hire 70,000 workers to man its fulfillment centers in the U.S. this year. That's a huge boost over last year's 50,000 seasonal hires, 7,000 of whom went on to become full-time employees. Amazon booked $21 billion in revenue during last year's holiday quarter, and Wall Street sees that figure jumping by 22% to $26 billion this year. Amazon's shares are up 0.5% in premarket trading, near their all-time high.

Walgreen announced earnings this morning that broadly met expectations. Revenue was up 5%, and profit jumped by 7.4% to $356 million. Market share in its critical pharmacy business also improved to 19.1%. Still, Walgreens saw customer traffic dip, which helped keep a lid on overall comparable-store sales growth. The stock is down 0.8% in premarket trading.

Finally, Paychex could see active trading today after it reported quarterly earnings that came in a bit higher than expected last night. Paychex' revenue and earnings both ticked up by 5%. The company has been expanding its payroll and HR services internationally, with Brazil and Germany the latest target markets. Paychex affirmed guidance for the full year that targets a 5% to 6% boost in revenue and an 8% to 9% improvement in net income. Shares are up 0.1% in premarket trading.

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