Morning Brief

The Dow march to 20K stalls, but the Nasdaq powers higher

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were drifting this morning, as the Dow's march to 20,000 continued to stall on Monday. The Nasdaq, however, closed at another record high, logging five straight sessions of gains. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO) will change its name to Altaba and several Yahoo directors will step down, including chief executive Marissa Mayer, following Verizon's (VZ) $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo's core internet assets. (Reuters)

Alibaba is leading a $2.6 billion bid to privatize Intime Retail Group, which operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls in China, giving the e-commerce giant a firmer foothold in bricks and mortar. (Reuters)

Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, met with Donald Trump to pitch the U.S. president-elect on how the company can create one million small business jobs in America. (CNBC)

Sen. Cory Booker plans to testify before the Judiciary Committee against Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general. The confirmation hearing for Sessions begins today. (NBC News)

The confirmation hearing for retired Gen. John Kelly, Trump's pick for Homeland Security Secretary, also starts today, with immigration and border security expected to be hot topics. (USA Today)

Trump's pick for secretary of State, former Exxon chief Rex Tillerson, begins his confirmation hearing tomorrow. Meanwhile, documents show Tillerson has investments in Chinese and Russian firms. (NBC News)

Senior Republican and Democratic senators are set to introduce legislation today, seeking to impose a wide range of sanctions on Russia over its cyber activities and actions in Syria and Ukraine. (Reuters)

Trump plans to name son-in-law Jared Kushner a senior advisor. But Ivanka, Trump's daughter and Kushner's wife, won't be taking a White House position for now. (NBC News)

House Paul Ryan and top Trump advisors met last night to discuss a controversial plan to tax imports. Ryan and Trump generally agree that taxes should be cut for business. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama gives his farewell speech today in Chicago. He's expected to tell Americans not to lose faith in their future, no matter what they think about their next leader. (AP)

Vice President Joe Biden plans to start an organization aimed at changing the way the nation conducts cancer research and development and providing care to those with the disease. (AP)

Soon-to-be out-of-work Obama got a job offer from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to become "president of playlists." The president has previously curated playlists for the streaming music service. (CNBC)


Stocks and commodities could see a final 10 percent melt-up in the first half of the year, followed by a "meltdown" closer to 2018, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's research team.

The small business optimism index from the NFIB rose to 105.8 in December to its highest level since 2004, providing further evidence of new hope for economic prospects since Election Day.

The Labor Department issues its November JOLTS, or Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, while the Commerce Department releases November wholesale trade figures. Both reports are out at 10 a.m. ET.

Cybersecurity firm Barracuda Networks (CUDA) late Monday beat estimates on earnings and revenue, boosted by a 15 percent increase in active subscribers and a 13 percent increase in billings.

WD-40 (WDFC) fell short of expectations on earnings and revenue. The company cited uncertainties in Mexico and Russia among the factors hurting results, along with currency factors.


Valeant (VRX) is selling three skincare brands to France's L'Oreal in a deal worth $1.3 billion. Separately, Valeant is selling its Dendreon cancer business to China's Sanpower for $820 million.

Chemours (CC) has agreed to sell the historic DuPont Building to privately held real estate firm Buccini/Pollin Group. Chemours, spun off from DuPont in July, plans to then lease back office space.

Rent-A-Center (RCII) CEO Robert Davis has left, a month after the chief financial officer departed. The company's founder and chairman, Mark Speese, has taken over temporarily as chief executive.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit is in talks to sell its satellite business to satellite imagery startup Planet Labs, according to a Dow Jones report. Google bought the company for $500 million in 2014.

Columbia Banking System (COLB) is buying fellow regional bank Pacific Continental (PCBK) for about $644 million, or $27.85 per share in stock. Pacific Continental closed at $20.80 on Monday.

Hostess Brands (TWNK) voluntarily recalled its limited edition white peppermint Hostess Twinkies, because of concerns about Salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported, however.


A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with one second left in favor of Clemson last night, ending the Tigers 35-year college football title drought. (AP)

Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt have reached an agreement to handle their divorce using a private judge, a move often used in high-profile splits to shield negotiations from public fodder. (AP)