Morning Brief

Wall Street under pressure to start the week that ends with Trump inauguration

Key Points


Caution seems to be the watchword at the start of this holiday-shortened U.S. trading week, as the World Economic Forum kicks into full gear in Davos and the world awaits Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump. (CNBC)

The Nasdaq was coming off another record high close and a nearly 1 percent gain for last week. The Dow and S&P 500 were little changed on Friday and for the week. (CNBC)

Earnings are also a major theme this week, as Dow component UnitedHealth (UNH) this morning reported profit and revenue that beat expectations, helped by an increase in its memberships. (CNBC)

In a continuation of results from financial firms, Morgan Stanley (MS) this morning issued earnings and revenue that beat estimates.

Oil was sharply higher this morning, due to skepticism over whether an output cut among international producers would actually curb global oversupply. U.S. crude prices fell 3 percent last week. (Reuters)

The CEO of Saudi Aramco sees demand for oil and gas continuing to grow for the next few decades, with any fall in capital investment for the industry causing "spikes" in prices. (CNBC)


As Chinese President Xi Jinping defends globalization at the World Economic Forum in Davos, state media in China warned Beijing would "take off the gloves" if Trump continues to provoke over Taiwan. (CNBC)

AT&T (T) Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told CNBC from Davos he sees opposition to the Time Warner mega-merger fading as the details emerge. (CNBC)

With the rich and famous flocking to Davos, a new Oxfam report shows eight billionaires, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are as wealthy as the poorest half of the world's population. (CNBC)


General Motors (GM), one of several automakers criticized by Trump for building vehicles in Mexico and shipping them to America, is adding more than a thousand jobs in the U.S. (CNBC)

Hyundai plans to increase its investment in the U.S. by 50 percent over the next five years, to $3.1 billion, as the South Korean automaker seeks to capitalize on pledges by Trump to boost the American economy. (FT)

Germany's vice chancellor has rejected threats by Trump to put tariffs of up to 35 percent on German automakers if they set up plants in Mexico and try to export cars to the U.S. from there. (AP)

Wal-Mart (WMT), the largest retailer in the U.S., plans to create about 10,000 American positions this year, touting job growth in the country ahead of Trump's inauguration. (WSJ)

Betsy DeVos, the wealthy GOP activist who Trump picked for secretary of Education, can expect tough questions from Democrats when she appears before a Senate panel this morning. (USA Today)

Trump's commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross earned a $2.5 billion fortune in part by running businesses that have offshored thousands of U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department data obtained by Reuters.

Trump has criticized a key plank of House GOP's corporate tax plan. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president-elect described the border-adjustment measure as "too complicated."


The U.K. government will put the Brexit deal it agrees to with the European Union to a parliamentary vote, Prime Minister Theresa May said in a wide-ranging speech today. (CNBC)

British American Tobacco (BTI) has agreed to buy the rest of U.S. rival Reynolds American (RAI) that it doesn't already own for a sweetened $49.4 billion. BAT already has a 42 percent stake. (Reuters)

China's Baidu (BIDU) has appointed a former Microsoft executive as chief operating officer, part of a push into artificial intelligence as earnings from its core search engine business slow. (Reuters)

The global smartphone install base is set to grow 50 percent in the next four years to six billion devices totaling $355 billion in revenues, according to a new IHS Markit study. (CNBC)


The only major economic number today comes at 8:30 a.m. ET, when the New York Fed issues its monthly Empire State Manufacturing Index.

Throughout the day, three Fed officials speak: New York Fed President William Dudley at 8:45 a.m. ET, Fed Governor Lael Brainard at 10 a.m. ET, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams at 6 p.m. ET.

Dow transport components United Continental (UAL) and CSX (CSX) report quarterly earnings after the bell this afternoon.


Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton steps down next month to focus on his chairman position at Snap ahead of the disappearing message app's upcoming IPO.

Facebook (FB) is trying to head off legislation in Germany that would subject the social network to tougher regulation. Top managers including COO Sheryl Sandberg visited Germany over the weekend.

Syngenta (SYT) CEO Erik Fyrwald told CNBC he expects regulatory approval for the planned $43 billion takeover of the Swiss-based chemical maker by ChemChina.

Clayton Williams Energy (CWEI) is being bought by Noble Energy (NBL) in a $2.7 billion cash and stock deal that gives Noble 120,000 acres of oil properties in West Texas.

Luxottica (LUX) is merging with France's Essilor in an all-stock deal that creates a global eyewear seller with annual sales of more than $16 billion.


"Hidden Figures," about African-American mathematicians in the 1960s space race, topped the domestic box office with $20.5 million in ticket sales over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend. (AP)