Morning Brief

Will it be Groundhog Day on Wall Street or can stocks make a decisive move?

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, poised to wipe out Wednesday's mild advances for the Dow and S&P 500 on the first day of February. Since Election Day, the Dow has gained up 8.5 percent and the S&P has increased 6.5 percent. (CNBC)

Dow component Merck (MRK) leads a busy morning of corporate earnings, reporting profit that matched expectations but revenue that missed estimates. Amazon (AMZN) is out after the bell this afternoon. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) late Wednesday exceed estimates with earnings and revenue, as ad sales grew 53 percent. But Facebook's virtual reality company, Oculus, faces a $500 million penalty, after losing a key lawsuit. (CNBC)


National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said the White House was putting Iran "on notice", accusing Tehran of defying a U.N. resolution with its recent ballistic missile test. (NBC News)

President Donald Trump threatened Friday in a call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop "bad hombres down there" unless the Mexican military takes care of them. (AP)

Trump hung up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, after 25 minutes even though Saturday's call was scheduled for an hour. (Washington Post)

Germany's foreign minister is heading for Washington to meet newly sworn-in U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and convey what he calls an "offer of friendship and trust." (AP)

Trump's nomination of billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary may be in jeopardy after two Republican senators said they'll vote against her confirmation. (NBC News)

Trump has summoned the bipartisan leadership of Congress's tax-writing committees to the White House to meet today and start talking tax reform. (NY Times)

Anthony Scaramucci, an investment firm founder and a Republican donor, won't be taking a senior job at the White House as a liaison with the business community, as previously announced. (NY Times)

A protest at U.C. Berkeley over a scheduled appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos turned fiery and violent last night. In a tweet this morning, Trump blasted the school. (SFGate)

Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Apple (AAPL) and Facebook are among the companies working together on a letter opposing Trump's ban on entry into the U.S. of travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. (Recode)

Harley-Davidson (HOG) said its executives are set to meet with President Trump at the White House today. And speculation about a canceled Trump trip to a Milwaukee factory was not the case. (Journal Sentinel)

A federal judge in Florida has directed Trump National Golf Club Jupiter to pay $5.77 million to former members who claimed the club wrongfully refused to refund their deposits after Trump's company took over in 2012. (Reuters)


U.S.-based baby formula maker Mead Johnson (MJN) was soaring 20 percent in the premarket, after British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser disclosed takeover talks around $16.7 billion or $90 per share. (Reuters)

Shutterfly (SFLY) was losing about a fifth of its value in premarket trading, after missing estimates on earnings and revenue. The online photo service also warned on outlook. (CNBC)

Embattled Deutsche Bank (DB) reported a bigger than expected loss for the final quarter of 2016, with the German bank failing to match the strong rebound in bond trading posted by its rivals. (CNBC)

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) recorded its worst annual profit in more than a decade, as low oil prices continue to weigh on the industry. The CEO said he's pleased with 2016's $52 billion takeover BG Group. (CNBC)

Troubled Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) is promoting merchandising chief Fran Horowitz to CEO. A team led by the executive chairman had led the teen apparel retailer since the departure of Michael Jeffries in 2014. (Reuters)

In its broadest deployment so far, IBM's (IBM) Watson supercomputer will help H&R Block's tax professionals this filing season at branch offices across the country, where 11 million people file taxes. (NY Times)

For the first time under the FAA's commercial drone rules, the agency granted permission to operate a drone at an airport. Seven flights were conducted at busy Atlanta International. (Recode)


On today's Groundhog Day, investors are looking ahead to tomorrow's release of the government's January jobs report. On Wednesday, the ADP private payrolls report blew the doors off expectations.

The two government economic reports this morning are both out at 8:30 a.m. ET, with weekly initial jobless claims expected to drop to 251,000 for last week and fourth quarter productivity seen increasing 0.8 percent.

In addition to earnings from Amazon, Dow component Visa (V), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), GoPro (GPRO), and Amgen (AMGN) report quarterly results after the bell this afternoon.


Sony (SNE) cut its full year profit outlook, following a $1 billion writedown for the company's movie business.

Nokia (NOK) posted better than expected profits for the fourth quarter, with the maker of networking equipment helped by cost cuts as well as the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

Allstate (ALL) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.17 per share, well above estimates, though the insurer's revenue was very slightly below forecasts. Allstate was helped by a decline in casualty losses.

MetLife (MET) came in 6 cents shy of estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.28 per share, and revenue also missed estimates. The insurance company's results were impacted by losses in its hedging program.

Costco (COST) reported a comparable store sales increase of 7 percent for January, beating consensus estimates of a 3.9 percent rise.


A new report shows consumers wouldn't care if 74 percent of brands they use vanished, and they also say that 60 percent of the content produced by companies is poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver. (CNBC)

Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Thursday, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. (USA Today)