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Wall Street’s drive for breakeven could stall today

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Futures point to a moderately lower open today following Monday's gains, leaving the Dow and S&P 500 with a shrinking amount of time to erase their 2015 deficits before the year runs out. With 6-1/2 trading days left in the year, the Dow is down 3.2 percent for the year with the S&P 500 having a 1.8 percent deficit. The Nasdaq is currently up nearly 5 percent for the year. (CNBC)

Oil prices came off multi-year lows touched in Monday's session as the northern hemisphere enters peak heating season, though mild weather is raising concerns about fuel demand. (Reuters)

The Japanese government plans to spend nearly $800 billion in 2016 in a bid to support its economy, Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday. The record $797.53 billion budget is slightly higher than this year's spending. (Reuters)


The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday it is investigating another, more recent outbreak of E. coli linked to Chipotle (CMG). The CDC is not certain if the cases in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma are linked to an earlier outbreak located mostly in Washington and Oregon. (CNBC)

Google parent company Alphabet (GOOG) and Ford (F) are in discussions to build self-driving cars, Automotive News reported, citing a source with knowledge of the project. The deal could be announced at January's Consumer Electronics Show, Automotive News said. (Reuters)

A judge on Monday rejected a petition to have Viacom (VIA) and CBS (CBS) executive chairman Sumner Redstone assessed by a psychologist to determine his mental capacity in a case brought by his former girlfriend and confidante. The judge will allow will depositions from current Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and two of Redstone's doctors. (NYTimes/CNBC)

U.S. authorities have charged two people in a $1 billion scheme to secure contracts with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA through bribery. (Reuters)

The SEC said Monday it would revise its case against billionaire hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen to reflect that it will only pursue a claim he failed to supervise convicted portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, and not Michael Steinberg, another former employee. (Reuters)

ConocoPhillips (COP) has sold its stake in a joint venture with Russian state oil company Rosneft, exiting the country after more than 25 years, the Financial Times reported. (Reuters)

BHP Billiton (BHP) on Tuesday revised the death toll resulting from a burst dam at a Brazilian mine last month to 17. The mining giant previously said 13 workers had been killed and six were missing. BHP Billiton and Vale (VALE) hired an outside investigator to determine what caused the burst. (WSJ)

A Texas grand jury will not indict anyone in connection with the jailhouse death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman who was found hanged in her cell in Waller County Jail. A special prosecutor said the jury had not decided whether the arresting officer should face charges. (USAToday)

The motorist accused of intentionally driving into pedestrian traffic on the Las Vegas Strip told police she was under stress after being chased from parking lots where she was trying to sleep. Lakeisha Holloway, 24, faces charges including murder with a deadly weapon related to the fatal incident. (USAToday)

The spotlight was once again on Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump after he described Hillary Clinton's primary loss to President Barack Obama in vulgar terms, saying she "got schlonged." He also called her bathroom break during Saturday's Democratic debate "disgusting." (NBC News)

BY THE NUMBERS

The government will be out with an updated reading on third quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with consensus forecasts calling for a 1.9 percent annual growth rate. The prior report a month ago had put Q3 GDP at a 2.1 percent annual rate.

At 10 a.m. EDT, the National Association of Realtors issues November existing home sales, seen falling 0.7 percent to an annual sales rate of 5.32 million units. In October, sales had fallen 3.4 percent.

Food producer ConAgra (CAG) and payroll processor Paychex (PAYX) are on the short list of companies issuing quarterly earnings this morning. Athletic footwear and apparel maker Nike (NKE) will be the last Dow component to issue an earnings report during 2015, with fresh numbers after today's closing bell, and will be joined by chipmaker Micron Technology (MU).



STOCKS TO WATCH

Steelcase (SCS) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 32 cents per share, 2 cents below estimates. Revenue was far below estimates as well, and the company's current quarter forecast also falls short of analyst projections. Steelcase has been hurt by falling profit margins, as well as larger incentives for dealers.

General Electric (GE) agreed to sell a 23.3 percent stake in Hyundai Capital Services to automaker Hyundai Motor and its Kia Motors unit. Hyundai Capital is an 11-year old joint venture between GE and Hyundai, but the move is part of a plan for GE to exit its entire 43.3 percent ownership.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) is taking a $150 million revenue hit on its distribution deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), according to the Wall Street Journal. That comes from an obscure part of the deal which sees Valeant taking title to drugs already on shelves at Walgreens drug stores.

Credit Suisse (CS) is accusing UBS (UBS) of raiding its U.S. brokerage staff. According to the Wall Street Journal, an arbitration claim said the UBS unit unfairly raided the Credit Suisse U.S. private banking business, with 70 of 300 brokers moving to UBS. Credit Suisse had announced in October it would wind down the unit.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) will pay $2.8 million to settle FAA claims that it violated safety rules affecting Boeing 737 aircraft between 2006 and 2012.

WATERCOOLER

Elon Musk's SpaceX on Monday celebrated its first successful round-trip commercial launch after its reusable booster returned safely from a mission to deliver satellites into space. Just six months ago, a rocket failure destroyed a SpaceX cargo ship.

NASA is partnering with the Peru-based International Potato Centre to grow potatoes in conditions similar to those on Mars with an eye towards cultivating interplanetary crops one day.