Morning Brief

Dow set to resume march to 20,000

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were higher, pointing to the Dow once again on the march towards 20,000. During a week when the Fed hiked interest rates for the second time in a decade, the Dow turned in a sixth weekly gain in a row, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted slight weekly losses. (CNBC)

This morning, gold was higher, after a sixth consecutive week of losses for the first time since November 2015. The dollar index was drifting, after hitting last week its highest level since 2002. The 10-year Treasury yield was cooling off, after hitting a September 2014 high last week. (CNBC)

The U.S. Electoral College today is expected officially select Republican Donald Trump as the next president, in a vote that's usually routine but takes place this year amid allegations of Russian hacking. (Reuters)

A bipartisan group of senators, including Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican John McCain, are calling for a special panel to investigate cyberattacks against the U.S. (Reuters)

Trump picked deficit-hawk Rep. Mick Mulvaney as Budget director, as 50 percent of Americans approve of the president-elect's transition moves, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Trump is not behaving like someone who will soon become "master of the White House," according to China's state-run Global Times. "He bears no sense of how to lead a superpower," the paper added. (CNBC)

Iran expects to get its first new jet within weeks under a multi-billion-dollar deal with Airbus for 100 planes. Iran has also finalized a deal to buy 80 jets from Airbus rival Boeing (BA)

Apple (AAPL) plans to appeal this week the European Commission's August ruling that the U.S. tech giant pay $13.6 billion in back taxes to Ireland, which claims EU regulators were interfering with national sovereignty. (BBC)

Volkswagen's (VLKAY) diesel emissions scandal costs could rise another $1 billion. The automaker is said to be close to a deal to resolve claims related to larger diesel vehicles. (WSJ)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, is preparing to test self-driving minivans, after taking delivery of 100 modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids. (CNBC)

Canada-based BlackBerry (BBRY) plans to open an autonomous driving research center today, in a further step by the fallen smartphone pioneer to try to remake itself as indispensable to the auto industry. (Reuters)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk took to Twitter this weekend to sketch out a new plan to disrupt traffic on American roadways by digging tunnels underground to circumvent congestion. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) is looking to develop an Uber-like mobile app to schedule and track truck shipments of its products with a few taps or clicks, in the e-commerce's latest move to disrupt delivery logistics. (WSJ)

The ground delivery deadline for pre-Christmas arrival at UPS (UPS) is today, with air still available Wednesday and Thursday. FedEx (FDX) and the U.S. Postal Service also have last-minute options this week.


A busy week for economic data starts on Wednesday, but investors hope for more clues on growth and jobs, when Fed chair Janet Yellen speaks at 1:30 p.m. ET at University of Baltimore's midyear commencement.

Homebuilder Lennar (LEN) this morning reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat expectations.


British American Tobacco reportedly plans to increase the cash portion of its $47 billion cash-and-stock takeover deal to buy Reynolds American (RAI).

Allied World Assurance (AWH) has agreed to sell to Toronto-based Fairfax Financial (FFH) for $4.9 billion in cash and stock, valuing the Swiss insurer at an 18 percent premium to Friday's close.

BP (BP) struck a deal to buy a 10 percent stake in United Arab Emirates oilfields for $1.8 billion. BP will pay about $2.2 billion in stock to gain access to those fields.

Danone (DANOY) issued a revised 2016 sales growth forecast that is slightly below its original outlook. The French food company attributes the downward revision to weakness at its European dairy business.


"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" topped the weekend box office, scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million in North America, and $290.5 million worldwide, despite the spin-off not opening in China until the new year. (AP)

Disappointment over early reviews and sales of the smartphone game "Super Mario Run" sent Nintendo shares 7 percent lower in Tokyo trading overnight. (WSJ)