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Dow poised to make another run at 20K and a 6th weekly gain

FRIDAY MARKETS

U.S. stock futures were higher, after the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq closed off their highs on Thursday, falling to set new records. The Dow was on pace for a sixth weekly gain in a row. The S&P and Nasdaq were around breakeven for the week. (CNBC)

Oil prices were stable this morning, while gold was hovering around 10-and-a-half month lows, heading for a sixth weekly drop. The dollar index and bond yields were both backing off recent strength. (CNBC & Reuters)

Goldman Sachs today revised its oil price forecast for the second quarter of 2017, following a decision by OPEC members and other countries to cut production, amid growing demand from consumers. (CNBC)

China's central bank today set the mid-point rate for its currency at the lowest level in 8-and-a-half years. Meanwhile, China has been dethroned by Japan as the top holder of U.S. government debt. (CNBC & Reuters)

HACKING AMERICA

The Kremlin said today the U.S. should either prove accusations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election by hacking Democratic groups or drop the issue. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has promised a U.S. response. (Reuters & NPR)

President Obama is set to hold a news conference this afternoon, when he'll undoubtedly get questions about the latest Russian election hacking reports as well as the presidential transition.

The Obama administration didn't respond more forcefully to Russian hacking before the election, because they didn't want to appear to be interfering. Officials, who thought Hillary Clinton would win, also felt potential cyber war with Russia wasn't worth it. (NBC News)

Russian computer hackers targeted the databases of the Republican National Committee, but reportedly failed to penetrate its security defenses. The breach attempts were "less aggressive" and "much less persistent" than attacks on the DNC. (WSJ)

A government agency that assists states in improving voting systems and acts as a clearinghouse for electoral information may have been the target of a hacker. But the breach was blocked very quickly. (USA Today)

TRUMP TRANSITION

President-elect Donald Trump continues his "thank you tour" today, traveling to Florida today. On Thursday, he picked bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. (Reuters)

The leaders of tech were close-mouthed about their meeting with Trump, but Recode reports on what was said in the room and who said it. Sources also old Recode some in the meeting were taken aback by the attendance of Trump's children.


IN THE NEWS TODAY

As Facebook (FB) faces ongoing questions about the role that fake news played in the election, and criticism for not doing enough to crack down on it, the social giant is unveiling some new steps to address the problem. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO) shares were stable in the premarket, after falling 6 percent Thursday on increasing speculation that Verizon (VZ) may demand changes or cancel its $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo's internet assets following the revelation of another data breach.

Dow Chemical (DOW) gained the right to convert $4 billion of preferred stock into common shares, saving the company from paying $255 million per year to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, and $85 million to Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund. (Reuters)

Auto parts maker Harman (HAR) may see a higher takeover offer, according to the Wall Street Journal, as Samsung's current $8 billion deal faces shareholder opposition. The paper speculates that a Microsoft (MSFT) or an Alphabet (GOOGL) could show interest.

General Motors (GM) said it'll immediately begin testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Michigan, just days after the governor signed a package of bills legalizing it. (Fortune)

The winter storm that's coated the Pacific Northwest with ice is sweeping east, threatening more heavy snow across a huge part of the country from the Rocky Mountains through the Great Lakes. (NBC News)

Federal regulators extended the Dec. 15 deadline by four days to sign up for Obamacare coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1, as consumers fought to get through to call center operators and log onto Healthcare.gov. (USA Today)


BY THE NUMBERS

The Commerce Department reports on November housing starts and building permits at 8:30 a.m. ET. Forecasts call for a 6.8 percent drop in starts, reversing part of October's 25.5 percent gain. Permits are seen falling 1.6 percent last month, after an October rise of 2.9 percent.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Agio (AGIO) shares were tanking about 20 percent in premarket trading, after the drugmaker discontinued the development of a second treatment for a rare form of anemia.

Merck (MRK) has been awarded $2.54 billion in royalties by a federal jury in a patent lawsuit against Gilead Sciences (GILD), over the latter's blockbuster hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni.

Apple-supplier Jabil Circuit (JBL) saw shares soar about 10 percent in the premarket, after fourth quarter results and first quarter outlook topped analyst forecasts.

Oracle (ORCL) reported earnings and revenue that both slightly beat estimates. But the stock was under pressure in premarket trading on apparent disappointed over the cloud unit's growth rate.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) beat forecasts with its latest quarterly earnings and revenue. The software maker saw a 39 percent jump in subscription revenue, although it did warn on 2017 earnings.

PayPal (PYPL) has struck a new partnership with Citigroup to make it easier for customers to use mobile phones to pay at the checkout register, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Priceline Group (PCLN) named its strategy chief Glenn Fogel as CEO, effective the new year. Executive Chairman Jeff Boyd has served on an interim basis, following the firing of Darren Huston earlier this year.


WATERCOOLER

Walt Disney's (DIS) "Rogue One" is not expected to top the lifetime $2 billion-plus box office haul of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but the spinoff could bring in as much as $300 million worldwide in its debut this weekend. (LA Times)

Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal unit, parent of CNBC, plans to launch an Olympic television channel in the summer of 2017. NBC is teaming up with the International and U.S. Olympic committees. (Reuters)