Morning Brief

Wall Street’s cautious rally rolls on

Key Points


The gains haven't been spectacular, but Wall Street's major averages continue to advance. The Dow and the Russell 2000 are coming off record closes, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have been up for three-straight sessions. (CNBC)

The Dow is up in 17 of 21 sessions, but it has not registered a triple-digit gain since Nov. 10. Since then, the biggest daily gain for the Dow has been just under 0.5 percent on Nov. 21 (88 points), and most of the gains have been smaller than that. (CNBC)

Oil prices moderated Wednesday as investors increasingly took a "wait and see" attitude to whether OPEC and Russia would deliver on their promise to cut production and end a two-year supply glut. (Reuters)

Over 80 CEOs are attending the Business Roundtable conference in Washington today to discuss such issues as tax reform, infrastructure investments and regulations. Many of the attendees represent the top 50 companies in the Fortune 500. (CNBC)

Apple and Square announced a partnership to allow Square users to add money stored on its virtual card to their Apple Wallet. People will be able to spend money from the virtual account, called Square Cash, at places that accept Apple Pay. (CNBC)

IKEA reported a 20 percent rise in full-year net profit today, following sales growth in 27 of its 28 markets. The world's biggest furniture retailer said it will continue expansion, opening new stores in India and Serbia and widening its online presence. (MarketWatch)

Two of Asia's tech giants are reportedly looking to expand their U.S. businesses. Masayoshi Son, head of Japan's SoftBank Group, pledged $50 billion in U.S. investments, and Apple supplier Foxconn said it was in early talks to broaden stateside operations. (Reuters)

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shares were up nearly 9 percent Tuesday after reports that the international chipmaker signed a licensing deal with rival tech firm Intel (INTC). (Yahoo Finance)

The makers of Snuggie and other "As Seen on TV" products sued for trademark infringement, which they claim led to an "astronomical" number of counterfeit sales on Amazon's site. (Reuters)

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad accepted President-elect Trump's offer to be the United States' ambassador to China, sources confirmed. (Reuters)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Tuesday that Twitter was not responsible for Trump's win, but acknowledged that the president-elect was apt at using the platform to sway his audience. "America's responsible for Donald Trump being president," the CEO said. (CNBC)

Today is Starbucks' (SBUX) last investor day to be led by CEO Howard Schultz before he hands over the reins to Kevin Johnson. Analysts expect to hear more details about the coffeemaker's new upscale "Reserve" coffee bars. (USA Today)


The government releases two economic reports today, though neither is likely to be much of a market mover. The Labor Department is out with its JOLTS (Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover) report for October at 10 a.m. ET, while October consumer credit figures will be issued at 3 p.m. ET.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today that mortgage application volume fell just 0.7 percent last week. (CNBC)

The Energy Department's weekly look at oil and gasoline inventories hits the tape at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Brown-Forman (BFB), Korn/Ferry (KFY) and Vera Bradley (VRA) are on this morning's short list of corporate earnings reports, while Costco (COST), H&R Block (HRB), and Lululemon (LULU) will be out with quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.


MasterCard (MA) leads our list of stocks to watch, with the credit card issuer announcing a 16 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, to 22 cents per share from the prior 19 cents. MasterCard also announced a $4 billion share repurchase program.

Dave & Buster's Entertainment (PLAY) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 25 cents per share, beating estimates by 11 cents. The arcade and casual dining chain also saw revenue beat forecasts, and it raised its full-year revenue guidance.

Western Digital (WDC) raised its fiscal second quarter revenue guidance to $4.75 billion from $4.7 billion. The hard disk drive maker cited more customer enthusiasm for its product mix and revenue from a new cross-licensing agreement with Samsung.

Pfizer (PFE) was hit with a record $107 million fine by British officials for an epilepsy drug price increase of as much as 2,600 percent. The drugmaker said it plans to appeal the decision, and that the price was in fact 25 to 40 percent less than its counterpart from another supplier.

Sony (SNE) plans to release as many as six mobile phone gains in the coming fiscal year, as it tries to duplicate the success that rival Nintendo has seen with "Pokemon GO."

Apple (AAPL) said Apple Pay transactions are up 500 percent over a year ago, with apparel retailer Gap among the latest to add the service. And Apple Music subscriber rolls now total 20 million, up from 17 million in September.

Fitbit (FIT) is nearing a deal to buy rival fitness device maker Pebble, Bloomberg reports, although the a deal will focus on Pebble's software assets.


The price of Bitcoin may pop to more than $2,000 in 2017 in response to Trump's stimulus-driving policies, which could strengthen the dollar even more and skyrocket inflation. Bitcoin is currently trading at just over $750. (CNBC)

If you're a corporate executive, life is only getting better. Not only has average compensation for C-level executives at Fortune 100 companies jumped nearly 15 percent since 2013, to $7.4 million, but perks rose over 20 percent, to an average of over $120,000. (WSJ)