Morning Brief

Trump's news conference takes on new urgency on Wall Street

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, after another record high for the Nasdaq, which logged a six-session winning streak. The Dow and S&P 500 on Tuesday continued to under perform. (CNBC)

The U.S. led by Donald Trump is unlikely to get its AAA credit rating back any time soon, a top Standard & Poor's officer told CNBC in an interview this morning. S&P downgraded the nation to AA status in 2011.

Trump holds his first formal news conference as president-elect at 11 a.m. ET this morning, against a backdrop of unverified reports that Russia has compromising information about Trump. The Kremlin calls the allegations "pulp fiction." (Reuters)

Trump labeled the reports as "fake news," as NBC News reported that materials prepared for the president-elect included those allegations of his dealings with Russians that initially circulated among his opponents.

Trump's pick for secretary of State, former Exxon chief Rex Tillerson, is expected to face tough questions at his confirmation hearing this morning, over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)

The confirmation hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney General, continues this morning. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao begins her confirmation progress. (NBC News)

China's President Xi Jinping's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week is said to be open to a meeting with Trump's team. Xi is expected to his his keynote speech to call for "inclusive globalization." (AP)

Mexico's new foreign minister said there's "no way" his country will pay for Trump's border wall. The president-elect said last week that any money the U.S. spends on the wall will be later paid back by Mexico. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama said farewell to the nation last night, after eight years in the White House, making his case for why he's leaving America better than when he took office. (NBC News)

Volkswagen (VLKAY) confirmed it's in advanced talks involving a $4.3 billion settlement with the Justice Department over its diesel emissions cheating, and it would plead guilty to criminal misconduct. (Reuters)

After a lengthy probe, the DOJ has not found evidence that merits an antitrust case against the airline industry for collusion between carriers to control flight capacity to keep airfares high. (WSJ)

Wells Fargo (WFC) put a new compensation plan in place, following the controversy and massive settlement involving its sales practices. The new plan puts incentives in place that center on customer service rather than sales goals.


DoubleLine Capital chief Jeffrey Gundlach Capital, warns of "trouble for equity markets" if the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield moves beyond 3 percent. The yield was trading around 2.4 percent this morning.

The S&P 500 slid on Tuesday, but most investors probably didn't notice. That's because the large-cap index fell just 0.0002 percent — its smallest-magnitude move in nearly two decades.

Mortgage rates in the new year pulled back a bit after a month of marching higher, and that's helped drive home loan application volume higher by 5.8 percent this week. Refis were up 4 percent.

Oil was higher this morning, lifted by reports of Saudi supply cuts to Asia. U.S. industry data showed a bigger-than-expected crude inventory build. The government reports its weekly stockpile data at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The World Economic Forum's annual report of the most significant global concerns highlights rising income inequality, geopolitical risks, questions about commitments on cooperation, tech disruption, and climate change.


Chris Lattner, head of Apple's (AAPL) Swift programming language is leaving the tech giant to join Tesla (TSLA) to lead the electric automaker's autopilot software efforts.

Ford (F) said this year would be less profitable than 2016. The automaker also declared a special dividend of 5 cents per share in addition to its regular quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share.

Boeing (BA) warned of involuntary layoffs of engineers, part of a cost-cutting drive as the U.S. aerospace and defense giant responds to increasing competition amid slowing aircraft sales.

United Continental (UAL) raised revenue projections for the just-concluded fourth quarter and fiscal year 2016, thanks to stronger performance in November and December.


Nintendo's smartphone hit Pokemon Go and other augmented reality games are unlikely to be rolled out in China anytime soon. The state censor said potential security risks still need to be evaluated. (Reuters)