Morning Brief

Wall Street looks to resume its record run ahead of Yellen Day 2

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after Fed Chair Janet Yellen's congressional testimony on Tuesday caused a bond market rout and helped drive stocks to more new highs. (CNBC)

Yellen returns to Capitol Hill for a repeat performance at 10 a.m. ET, reiterating her testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Investors keep watch on the Q&A for anything new. (CNBC)

What a difference a year makes. At this time in 2016, U.S. stocks had just bounced off the so-called "Dimon Bottom" after their worst-ever yearly start, staging a huge recovery that gained steam after the election. (CNBC)


Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway nearly quadrupled its stake in Apple (AAPL) and increasing its stake sevenfold in the four biggest U.S. airlines. (Reuters)

Nelson Peltz's Trian has taken a $3.5 billion stake in Procter & Gamble (PG). P&G represents Trian's largest-ever holding, as measured by dollar value. (Reuters)

Carl Icahn, also a special advisor to Trump, increased stakes in Herbalife (HLF) and Hertz (HTZ). He also reduced holdings in PayPal (PYPL) and Nuance (NUAN). (Reuters)

George Soros took new positions in financial stocks Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC) as the sector was boosted by Trump's victory. Soros got out of gold. (Reuters)

John Paulson reduced his stake in SPDR Gold Trust, as gold prices saw their weakest quarterly performance in 3-1/2 years. (Reuters)

David Tepper's Appaloosa Asset Management nearly tripled holdings of drugmaker Allergan (AGN) in the fourth quarter. Tepper also took new stakes in Teva (TEVA), Pfizer (PFE), and Mylan (MYL). (Reuters)


President Donald Trump meets today with CEOs of eight large retailers including Target, Best Buy, and JCPenney. They're expected to lodge complaints about the House GOP proposed border import tax. (Reuters)

Apple CFO Luca Maestri warned a border tax could hurt American consumers and stall the economy. The Trump administration has not committed either way on the provision. (CNBC)

Pilots at American Airlines (AAL) denounced CEO Doug Parker, citing his decision to skip last week's meeting that President Trump held with other major carriers. (Reuters)

Following a rough stretch for U.S.-Israeli relations during the Obama administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets today with Trump at the White House. (USA Today)

The White House kept Vice President Mike Pence in the dark for weeks concerning a warning about Michael Flynn from the Justice Department. Flynn resigned late Monday night as national security adviser. (NBC News)

Phone records and intercepted calls reportedly show members of Trump's campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. (NY Times)

Russia said it won't hand back control of Crimea to Ukraine, responding to comments from the White House that the United States expected the Black Sea peninsula to be returned. (Reuters)

An independent government ethics office is urging the White House to investigate and potentially discipline senior advisor Kellyanne Conway for supporting Ivanka Trump's clothing line during a TV interview. (CNBC)

While Trump and Republicans continue to grapple with plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, Humana is the first major insurer to say it's dropping out of the individual market for 2018. (CNBC)

With Trump promising up to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, a bridge construction group said nearly 56,000 spans nationwide, which vehicles cross 185 million times per day, are structurally deficient. (USA Today)


Another health merger appears to be on the rocks. Cigna (CI) is suing to terminate its merger agreement with Anthem (ANTM), and seeks a $1.85 billion break-up fee and additional damages exceeding $13 billion. (CNBC)

Humana (HUM) announced a $2 billion stock buyback and raised its quarterly dividend nearly 40 percent to 40 cents per share. The moves follow the end of its deal to merge with Aetna (AET). (MarketWatch)

Merck (MRK) is halting a late-stage trial of an experimental Alzheimer's drug after determining the treatment was ineffective. Merck was testing the drug sufferers with mild to moderate symptoms. (Reuters)

Japanese Internet and telecom giant SoftBank has agreed to buy U.S.-based private equity and asset management firm Fortress Investment Group (FIG) for about $3.3 billion in cash. (CNBC)

Stock options awarded to Bank of America's (BAC) top executives are set to expire worthless today, but options at Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) have by and large paid out. (WSJ)

Amazon's Echo or the Google Home could be used to make or receive calls, a functionality that would give the companies further control over consumers' digital lives at home. (WSJ)

CEO Jack Dorsey bought about $7 million worth of Twitter (TWTR) shares. Dorsey, in a pre-scheduled plan, sold more than $11 million worth of shares of Square (SQ) where he's also CEO. (CNBC)


It's a busy day for economic data, starting at 8:30 a.m. ET with January consumer prices and retail sales. January industrial production is out at 9:15 a.m. ET. February homebuilder sentiment comes at 10 a.m. ET. The Energy Department's weekly look at oil inventories is out at 10:30 a.m. ET.

A slowdown in refinancing pulled down the total mortgage application volume last week as changes to certain government-loan programs made refinances less lucrative.

Dow component Cisco Systems (CSCO) leads a jam-packed afternoon of after-the-bell earnings, along with CBS (CBS), GoDaddy (GDDY), Marriott (MAR), Kraft Heinz (KHC), and TripAdvisor (TRIP).


PepsiCo (PEP) beat estimates with quarterly earnings and revenue. But the beverage and snack giant warned on outlook, while also announcing a 7 percent dividend increase.

Express Scripts (ESRX) slightly beat estimates with quarterly earnings but missed on revenue. The pharmacy benefit manager also warned on outlook for the current quarter.

AIG (AIG) took a $5.6 billion charge against earnings to boost reserves for claims, dragging the insurer's quarterly loss well below estimates. AIG also announced a $3.5 billion stock buyback.

Fossil (FOSL) missed forecasts on quarterly earnings and revenue. The fashion watchmaker also issued worse than expected guidance for the current quarter.


Coming out of retirement, Rumor won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night. She's just the second German shepherd to win the event, which began in 1877. (NBC News)