IN THE NEWS TODAY
Stephen Paddock, the gunman responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, meticulously planned the Las Vegas attack. Authorities said the 64-year-old retired accountant spent decades acquiring weapons while he lived a secret life. (Reuters)
Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of the Las Vegas shooter, said she'll cooperate with investigators but also said she never witnessed anything that led her to believe Paddock was preparing for an attack. Investigators see Danley as key to the investigation. (WSJ)
*After Las Vegas mass shooting, 'bump stock' is hot at gun stores (Reuters)
*Republicans open to banning 'bump stocks' used in massacre (NY Times)
Republicans are focused on cutting taxes instead of deficits as they look to power a $4.1 billion budget plan through the House today. The budget promises deep cuts to social programs and Cabinet agency budgets but its chief purpose is to set the stage for action on tax reform. (AP)
*Democrats are the new deficit hawks in the age of Trump (CNBC)
The special counsel investigating whether Russia tried to sway the 2016 election has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy's dossier of allegations of Russian financial and personal links to President Trump's campaign and associates, sources told Reuters.
*Russia-Trump campaign collusion an 'open' issue: Senate panel chiefs (Reuters)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted he has "never considered leaving" his job and is committed to President Donald Trump's foreign policy goals after a report said he came close to resigning. Asked specifically whether he called Trump a "moron," Tillerson stopped short of denying it. (CNBC)
Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello urged bondholders to look past the dollars and help the island secure money to rebuild from Congress. Puerto Rican bonds plunged Wednesday after President Trump said Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt should be wiped away.
Three U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an ambush in Niger while on a routine patrol with Nigerien troops they were training. (Reuters)
Russia is rolling out the red carpet for King Salman of Saudi Arabia this week, with the monarch leading a high-profile and highly significant delegation to Moscow that will see billions of dollars' worth of joint investment deals. (CNBC)
Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are unlikely to testify before Congress early next month, when Facebook will face a grilling on how Russia-based groups used the company's ad-buying tech to influence the 2016 U.S. election, a source told CNBC.
Activist investor Bill Ackman told CNBC ADP (ADP) should be more productive than its competitors given its scale. Ackman is in the midst of a proxy fight, trying to gain seats on the board of directors.
Cigna (CI) ended health insurance coverage for opioid painkiller OxyContin. The change will take effect Jan. 1, with Cigna switching its coverage to Collegium Pharmaceutical's (COLL) extended-release oxycodone equivalent known as Xtampza ER. That treatment is less vulnerable to user abuse. Collegium were soaring about 14 percent in the premarket. (CNBC)
A stealth start-up called 3T Biosciences has raised more than $12 million in a massive seed round led by early Facebook investor Sean Parker and including venture capitalist Peter Thiel, according to a person familiar with the company's financing. (CNBC)
Nations around the world continued to improve their energy efficiency last year, but a slowdown in new policies threatens to derail the progress and hobble efforts to fight climate change, the International Energy Agency warned. (CNBC)
*Trump Interior Department will delay methane emissions rules (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
U.K. theme park operator Merlin Entertainments has reportedly approached SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) about a potential bid. Merlin is bidding for just part of SeaWorld, but SeaWorld is said to prefer a sale of the entire company.
Sonic (SONC) said its systems were compromised by a malware hack that may have allowed access to customer credit card information. The breach at the restaurant chain was first reported by cybersecurity blog KrebsOnSecurity last week.
Verizon (VZ) media chief Marni Walden is leaving the company in February, with her responsibilities divided among existing executives. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Walden decided to leave after it became clear she was unlikely to become Verizon's next CEO.
Coach (COH) was downgraded to "neutral" from "overweight" at Piper Jaffray, which cited the ongoing integration of Kate Spade and process of analysts becoming more comfortable with new reporting segments.
Apple (AAPL) rolled out a software update for the latest version of its Apple Watch, addressing some cellular connectivity issues that have affected users.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) saw its experimental Zika vaccine – developed in conjunction with South Korea's GeneOne Life Science – show promise in an early human trial, prompting anti-Zika immune responses in patients.
The Monopoly guy has gone to Washington. A person dressed in a black top hat and bushy white mustache, occasionally putting on a monocle or dabbing forehead sweat with giant paper money, sat in the audience of the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Equifax data breach. (CNBC)
Google hosted an event this week in California where it unveiled a bunch of new products. Here's a rundown of everything it announced, ranging from new smartphones to a laptop, a VR headset and even a brand new camera. (CNBC)