Morning Brief

It's D-Day for Yellen and the Fed. Can Dow eclipse 20K?

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, ahead of the conclusion this afternoon of the Fed's two-day December meeting. Policymakers are widely expected to hike interest rates for the second time in a decade. (CNBC)

The Fed issues its policy statement at 2 p.m. ET, followed by Fed chair Janet Yellen's news conference. Investors are keen to see the dot plot of projected rate increases for year next. (CNBC)

The Dow stands less than 90 points away from the 20,000 level, ahead of today's trading on Wall Street. While off the Tuesday's highs, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all posted record closes. (CNBC)

Oil was lower this morning, following a rise in U.S. crude inventories and an estimate that OPEC may have produced more crude in November than previously thought, potentially undermining a planned output cut. (Reuters)

Higher than anticipated demand for OPEC crude combined with the deal with non-OPEC nations to cut production is forecast to rebalance the market in the second half of 2017, according to OPEC's latest monthly report. (CNBC)

A 10-year Treasury yield above 3 percent would harm the stock-market rally and housing market, said Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of DoubleLine Capital. Earlier this week, the yield topped 2.5 percent. (Reuters)


IBM (IBM) chief Ginni Rometty, among the tech executives set to meet with Donald Trump today, said the company plans to hire 25,000 employees in the next four years in the United States. (Reuters)

Trump's tech guest list also includes Alphabet's Larry Page, Elon Musk, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and Microsoft's Satya Nadella. But Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has not been invited. (Recode)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google is said to be racing to hire more conservatives for its lobbying arm, after years of enjoying President Barack Obama's support and positioning itself for a Hillary Clinton presidency. (Reuters)

Trump has tapped House Natural Resources Committee member Ryan Zinke for Interior secretary. Meanwhile, as expected, the president-elect has formally picked former rival and ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry as Energy secretary. (NBC News & Reuters)

With Gary Cohn leaving Goldman Sachs (GS) to become a top Trump economic advisor, the bank plans to promote David Solomon and Harvey Schwartz to fill Cohn's No. 2 spot to CEO Lloyd Blankfein. (WSJ)

A majority of business leaders in the CNBC Global CFO Council survey expect Trump and Capitol Hill to find a way to bring cash held by corporations overseas back to the U.S. But they said don't tell us how to spend it.


Billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman's sold more than 3.4 million shares of embattled Valeant (VRX), generating a tax loss for clients with money in his Pershing Square hedge fund. (CNBC)

Hertz (HRI) said John Tague will step down as CEO, replaced in the new year by Kathryn Marinello. The move was praised by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who's the rental car firm's biggest shareholder. (CNBC)

Wells Fargo (WFC) would damage financial markets if it were pushed to bankruptcy, said U.S. regulators, as they imposed restrictions on the bank, which failed its "living will" review. (Reuters)

General Motors (GM) has asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that would open the automaker to potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits related to pre-bankruptcy claims over defective ignition switches. (The Detroit News)

United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) are straining to keep up with holiday shipping volumes that have blown past expectations, delaying the delivery of some of the millions of online orders. (WSJ)

Switzerland's Actelion (ALIOF) said it's in talks with an undisclosed suitor about a "strategic transaction," even as another potential acquirer, U.S. health care giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) bows out. (Reuters)

Nokia-branded handsets are making a return to the market, with the first announced device being a $26 dumb phone complete with the classic "Snake" mobile game. (CNBC)

Snapchat has quietly rolled out a group messaging function that lets users chat with up to 16 friends, as the company adds more features to challenge Facebook's (FB) platforms. (CNBC)

Spam emails loaded with ransomware — malware that scrambles data and demands a ransom to decode it — increased 6,000 percent this year compared with 2015, a new study from IBM Security found. (CNBC)

Despite a growing array of television content choices, a new survey from PwC found cord-cutting is not happening as quickly as expected, and plans to stick with the bundle is actually on the rise. (CNBC)

The average sales price of an apartment in Manhattan is expected to top $2 million this year for the first time, but prices are seen leveling off in 2017 after nearly doubling over the past decade. (Reuters)


Ahead of the Fed's rate decision, there's no shortage of economic numbers this morning, with November producer prices and retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET. November industrial production is out at 9:15 a.m. ET, while October business inventories are out at 10 a.m. ET.

With all the attention on the crude production cut promised by international producers, the U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly report on American oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Mining equipment maker Joy Global (JOY) this morning reported adjusted quarterly profit of 17 cents per share, matching estimates, while revenue fell short, as the commodity price slump continues to impact customers.

Rising mortgage rates appear to be the new normal, and the real estate market is still adjusting. Total home loan application volume fell 4 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.


Alan Thicke — father of pop-soul singer Robin Thicke and best remembered for his role in the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains" — died suddenly of a heart attack on Tuesday. He was 69. (LA Times)