CNBC's All-America Economic Survey, out today, saw optimism about the U.S. economy jump an unprecedented 17 points to 42 percent. Republicans and independents were the key drivers of the surge. (CNBC)
Retirement services company Athene Holding went public late Thursday, in the second-biggest initial public offering by a U.S. company in 2016. Shareholders raised over $1 billion, bringing the company's valuation to about $8 billion. (WSJ)
Manufacturing conglomerate 3M agreed to sell its identity management business to European digital security company Gemalto for $850 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017. (Reuters)
Spotify dropped its bid for rival music provider SoundCloud after months of takeover talks. Spotify reportedly feared that the acquisition would have a negative effect on its impending IPO. (CNBC)
Lionsgate finalized its acquisition of premium pay network Starz for $4.4 billion on Thursday, creating a vertically integrated media giant with a massive television business, a reserve of 16,000 film and television titles, and Starz's 25 million subscribers. (LA Times)
Time Inc. hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America to help the magazine publisher field takeover and partnership offers after a group of media investors expressed interest in its business. (WSJ)
Government regulators are looking into lifting restrictions on phone calls during flights, opening the door for airline passengers to make regular calls while flying. (WSJ)
President-elect Donald Trump's "Thank You Tour" will be in Louisiana and Michigan today, but the president-elect's approval rating has slumped, with just 41 percent of Americans surveyed saying he's done a good job during his transition — a historically low number. (USA Today)
Trump tapped Andy Puzder, a fast food magnate, to be Labor secretary. The chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings is a vocal supporter of deregulation and has opposed raising the minimum wage. (WSJ)
MGM confirmed that Trump will stay on as an executive producer for NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," the show that made him a household name. The next season will be hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Variety)
CEOs and public officials will meet at today's National Competitiveness Forum, hosted by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, to discuss emerging priorities. (CNBC)
Two economic reports are on today's calendar at 10 a.m. ET. The University of Michigan's preliminary December Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to come in at 94.8, which would be up 1 point from the final November reading. October wholesale inventories are expected to post a 0.4 percent decline following a September rise of 0.1 percent, according to consensus forecasts.
Vail Resorts (MTN) is among the companies on the short list of earnings reports due out this morning, with no earnings numbers expected after today's closing bell.
Restoration Hardware (RH) is among our stocks to watch this morning, reporting adjusted quarterly profit of 20 cents per share, 4 cents above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts, but the luxury furnishings retailer gave weak quarterly guidance due to promotional activity.
Duluth Holdings (DLTH) reported a profit of 1 cent per share, compared with forecasts of a breakeven quarter. But the casual-clothing maker saw revenue miss forecasts and gave weak full-year guidance, citing unusually warm weather and a highly promotional environment.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 39 cents per share, starting with 2017's first quarter.
Broadcom (AVGO) came in 9 cents above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $3.47 per share, while the chipmaker saw revenue come in slightly above Street forecasts. Broadcom also announced a doubling of its quarterly dividend to $1.02 per share.
AT&T (T) Vice Chairman Ralph de la Vega will retire on Dec. 31 after 42 years at the company. De la Vega was responsible for the company's launch of the first iPhone, which at the time was an exclusive contract for AT&T.
Monsanto (MON) was sued by Washington state for damages and cleanup costs related to PCB production.
Wells Fargo (WFC) reportedly chose four of its directors, including chairman Stephen Sanger and vice chair Elizabeth Duke, for a panel that will lead an investigation into the recent sales practices scandal.
Snapchat is pulling out all the stops to boost its revenue ahead of it's IPO, partnering with major retailers like Nordstrom and Target to create sponsored filters and video campaigns. TV broadcasts like NBC's "Hairspray Live" have also partnered with the social media platform. (CNBC)
Walt Disney's signed will and a collection of Disney art and memorabilia go on auction today at the Animation & Disneyana Auction in Los Angeles. The animation innovator's last will and testament is expected to sell for up to $60,000. (Reuters)