Nasdaq seeking longest win streak in nearly two years

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, after the Nasdaq hit another record Wednesday. An eighth straight session of gains today would give the index its longest winning streak since early 2015. The S&P 500 closed within 2 points of a new high. (CNBC)

Oil prices edged higher this morning, with stronger-than-expected growth in U.S. crude and distillate stocks offset by evidence of supply cuts from major producers including Saudi Arabia. (WSJ)

The peso plunged to another record low on concerns that Trump's trade policy could end the nation's privileged status. But this morning, the Mexican currency was recovering somewhat against the dollar. (WSJ)

In confirmation hearings this morning, Secretary of State-nominee Rex Tillerson faces Day 2 on Capitol Hill, while Donald Trump's picks for Defense Secretary James Mattis, CIA Mike Pompeo, and HUD Ben Carson begin their journeys. (NBC News)

Steven Mnuchin plans to sell millions of dollars in investments and resign from an array of company boards if the Senate confirms him as Treasury secretary in Trump's new administration. (USA Today)

Trump is separating himself from his far-flung global business empire by transferring all assets into a trust and putting his two sons in charge, according to a lawyer for the president-elect. (Reuters)

Another Goldman Sachs (GS) executive, Dina Powell, is set to leave the firm to join the Trump White House as an advisor. Powell, a former George W. Bush aide, currently runs philanthropic activities for Goldman. (NY Times)

The transition plan announced by Trump falls short of the standards met by every president since the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, according to the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. (CNBC)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he spoke with Trump on Wednesday and told him the spy community did not leak information about that explosive unverified memo. (NBC News)

The 35-page memo containing allegations that Russia had information on Trump, which the president-elect at his news conference called a "complete fabrication," was written by a former British intel officer. (NBC News)

After debating seven hours through the night, the Senate voted early this morning to take the first real step toward repealing Obamacare, a top goal of congressional Republicans and Trump. (USA Today)

Toyota (TM) said the automaker's president met with U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Washington earlier this week, amid calls by the incoming administration to build more cars in American. (Reuters)

German drugs and pesticides maker Bayer, which needs regulatory approval for its $66 billion deal to buy U.S. seeds giant Monsanto (MON), said company executives had a productive meeting with Trump.

Apple (AAPL) is said to be planning to build a significant new business in original television shows and movies, a move that could make it a big player in Hollywood and offset slowing sales of iPhones and iPads. (WSJ)

Gaining ground on Android in the U.S., Apple's iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s accounted for about 31 percent of smartphone sales in America for the three months ended Nov. 30. (Recode)

BY THE NUMBERS

Forty million low-income Americans who rely on their annual tax refund to help pay their bills are going to have to wait a few weeks longer to get their check this year as the agency cracks down on fraudsters.

Two reports are out at 8:30 a.m. ET: The government's weekly initial jobless claims data and December import and export prices. The Energy Department issues its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Lots of Fed officials are speaking today, including Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan. Fed Chair Janet Yellen hosts a town hall at 7 p.m. ET.

KB Home (KBH) reported quarterly profit of 40 cents per share, a penny above estimates, while revenue came in slightly above forecasts. KB Home also issued better than expected numbers for orders and deliveries.

QVC (QVCA) reported a 6 percent quarterly drop in U.S. sales, the first year-over-year decline in seven years. The home shopping channel is being hurt by increasing competition from online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Amazon's (AMZN) Canadian unit has agreed to pay a $756,658 fine to settle an investigation by that country into allegations the website gave inaccurate data on how much consumers would save on given items.

Volkswagen's (VLKAY) cash flow is sufficient to fund its $4.3 billion settlement with the US Justice Department over its diesel emissions scandal, according to a Dow Jones report.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has a "significantly greater than 50 percent" chance of hitting its 2018 financial targets, according to the CEO who made the comments at a meeting with Wall Street analysts.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Swiss biotech firm Actelion have approached Swiss officials to get their opinion about whether the structure of a proposed takeover deal would pass muster.

Broadcom (AVGO) completed the largest corporate bond deal of the new year, selling $13.55 billion in new debt. That was more than the $10 billion to $13 billion the chip maker had initially signaled that it planned to sell.


WATERCOOLER

"I like numbers," Warren Buffett said in an upcoming HBO documentary about his life. "It started before I could remember. It just felt good, working with numbers," the billionaire reflected. (Reuters)