5 Things to Know Ahead of the Opening Bell

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 8 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) will begin the day solidly higher, gaining 100 points at the opening bell. With the default clock ticking, Congress finds itself in the exact same position it was in yesterday morning -- only with less time before tomorrow's fiscal default deadline.

Senate leaders are reportedly close to hashing out a short-term deal to fund the government and extend the debt ceiling today, after the House of Representatives, in what The Washington Post described as a "humiliating failure," could not craft a deal of their own yesterday.

Expect another day of volatile trading as politicians try to keep an embarrassing episode from becoming a full-blown fiasco.

With that bigger picture in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) earned $0.20 per share in profit last quarter on $21.7 billion in revenue. The company's strong earnings rebound continued, as it booked $2.5 billion in net income versus the $340 million it logged in the year-ago quarter. One big factor driving that bounce was the amount of earnings set aside for credit losses, which fell by almost $1 billion to just $296 million. Bank of America stock is up 0.4% in premarket trading.

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) saw a solid jump in earnings to $1.24 a share, as core revenue rose 3.3% in the quarter. Snacks outperformed beverages again this quarter, and the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the full year. Pepsi shares are up 0.3% in premarket trading .

Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK  ) shares could take a hit today after the company slashed its profit outlook, in part due to the continuing government shutdown. Profitability isn't growing nearly as fast as the company expected, leading it to cut earnings-per-share guidance to $4.95 from the roughly $5.50 it had forecast before. Still, Stanley's sales volumes were up 5%, and revenue climbed a respectable 10% in the quarter. Shares are down 11.4% in premarket trading.

Finally, Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP  ) is making a huge purchase. It announced plans this morning to buy privately managed General Parts International for $2 billion in cash. The deal will add about 1,600 locations to Advance's 4,000-store footprint and bring its total annual sales to over $9 billion, about the same as AutoZone's. Advance's stock is up 17.3% in premarket trading.

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