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 open a bit higher this morning, rising by 28 points at the opening bell. Beginning today, the government shutdown has at least one direct impact on investors: Our understanding of the performance of the economy is declining.

The Department of Labor's closely watched Employment Situation report, which was expected to show about 180,000 jobs were created in September, was not released this morning and will not be published until the shutdown ends.

European exchanges traded higher, and Asian markets fell slightly overnight as the standoff over funding the U.S. government entered its fourth day.

With those broader trends in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is back in the news, but for good reasons this time. Reuters reported this morning that Tesla is close to securing a second supplier for its lithium-ion batteries. The potential deal with Samsung would be a win for Tesla as it looks to diversify its supply chain and prepare for the addition of new car models beyond the Model S line that it produces right now. Its shares have had a rough week, falling by 9%. Still, that dip isn't much of a hit to long-term Tesla investors, as it puts the stock at roughly where it was late last month. Shares are up 1.4% in premarket trading.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Steve Ballmer didn't get the gold star this year. The company's board of directors awarded him a $550,000 bonus -- just 79% of his annual target. In explaining the shortfall, the board pointed to the 18% income drop at Microsoft's Windows division and the "slower than anticipated sales of Surface RT" tablets. Microsoft stock is unchanged in premarket trading.

Finally, (NASDAQ:AMZN) is making plans to sell its own TV-mounted streaming-video device. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new set-top box might be ready in time for Amazon to ship during the holiday shopping season this year. The online retailer could use the box to promote its profitable Prime membership service. However, as in tablets and its rumored smartphone ambitions, Amazon would be going up against strong, well-established competitors in the streaming-video hardware space. Amazon's stock is slightly higher in premarket trading.