Morning Brief

The US stock rally is likely to extend to a third day as Republicans start voting on tax bill

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were higher this morning as Wall Street's record run continues. The Dow has now closed at 70 new highs this year, exceeding the most ever yearly records from 1995. The S&P 500 has closed at 62 all-time highs this year, equaling the number in 1964 which was the second most ever. (CNBC)

* Congress plays Santa for stocks with a mega tax package (CNBC)
* Cramer: A shortage in industrial stocks drives the group higher (CNBC)

Bitcoin CME futures were lower this morning after falling 2 percent on Monday in their first full day of trading since Sunday evening's debut on the world's largest futures exchange. Trading was less volatile than the 19 percent surge in Cboe bitcoin futures during their first full day of trading last week. (CNBC)

Shares of Longfin (LFIN) surged 1,342 percent in two days to a market value of $3.1 billion after buying a cryptocurrency company with no revenue. But the stock fell 25 percent in premarket trading this morning after the Longfin CEO told CNBC last night the market cap in his company "is not justified."

The iPhone cycle that drove Apple shares (AAPL) higher this year is near its end, according to one Wall Street firm. In a rare downgrade, Nomura Instinet lowers its rating on Apple to neutral from buy, citing the tech giant's current high valuation versus previous iPhone cycles. (CNBC)

The government is out with November housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, one of the two dissenting votes for the Fed's recent interest rate hike, has a public appearance in Roseville, Minnesota at 1:10pm ET. (CNBC)

Ahead of that speech, in a CNBC interview this morning, Kashkari said he keeps voting against interest rate hikes because of low inflation and troubling bond market signals. He also said the GOP's tax bill could help the Fed make its inflation target. (CNBC)

Earnings reports this morning include cruise line operator Carnival (CCL), Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants (DRI), and FactSet (FDS). After-the-bell reports include FedEx (FDX), chipmaker Micron (MU), Linux software provider Red Hat (RHT), and Steelcase (SCS). (CNBC)


Republicans on Capitol Hill were set to vote today to catapult their sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation through the House. Quickly following, a vote later in the day or tomorrow is expected in the Senate to seal the deal.

GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Susan Collins said they will support the tax plan, solidifying party hopes to pass a bill to overhaul the American tax code. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who won't be seeking re-election next year, is the only GOP senator publicly undeclared. (AP & CNBC)

* Pence delays Mideast trip in case his vote is needed on the tax bill (CNBC)
* Poll: Early half of Americans oppose GOP tax bill ahead of final votes (CNBC)

House GOP lawmakers have unveiled legislation that would approve $81 billion in disaster aid for victims of recent storms. The move, however, drew a backlash from conservatives about its potential impact on the federal deficit. (WSJ)

Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged collusion by the Trump campaign will continue through 2018 "at a minimum," the Washington Post reports, citing sources.

The Trump administration publicly blamed North Korea for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyberattack earlier this year, which crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe. It infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. (Reuters)

Iran said today President Trump could not cause its nuclear deal with six major powers to collapse. In October, Trump declined to certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement. (Reuters)

Cooperation between China and the U.S. will lead to a win-win outcome for both sides, China said today, but added confrontation will result in mutual losses. The comment came after the United States branded it a competitor. (CNBC)

At least three people have died after an Amtrak train derailed near Seattle on Monday and landed on Interstate 5. The National Transportation Safety Board said the train was travelling 80 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. (CNBC)

* Amtrak safety record under scrutiny even before deadly derailment (Reuters)
* Trump uses Amtrak crash to push infrastructure; then sends his condolences (CNBC)

Two new studies found that health treatment for African-Americans is often different than whites when they are dying, and that blacks report higher rates of discrimination when being treated for chronic diseases. (CNBC)


Jack in the Box (JACK) plans to sell its Qdoba restaurant franchise to private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO) for about $305 million in cash. Jack in the Box acquired the fast casual Mexican food chain in 2003.

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) agreed to be bought by McDermott International (MDR) in an all-stock transaction worth about $6 billion. The two companies provide construction and engineering services for the oil and gas industries.

MetLife (MET) is under scrutiny by regulators in both Massachusetts and New York, after the insurance company said last week that it had not paid pensions to thousands of retirees. MetLife did say the group missing out on payments represent less than 5 percent of those who receive some type of benefit from its retirement business, and that it's committed to fixing the issue. (CARS) now has activist investor Starboard Value as a 9.9 percent stakeholder. Starboard believes the online auto marketplace operator's stock is undervalued and that it can boost its profit margins, according to the Wall Street Journal. was spun off from Tegna (TGNA), the company formerly known as Gannett.

Roku (ROKU) shares could get a boost after an SEC filing revealed that Morgan Stanley (MS) has a passive 5.1 percent stake in the maker of streaming media devices.


NBC is reportedly in early talks to revive the popular American TV comedy "The Office." Actor Steve Carell, who portrayed the lead character for seven seasons before leaving, would apparently not be involved in the new installment. Comcast owns NBC and CNBC. (Variety)

There were nearly 7.2 million complaints about violations to the U.S. "Do Not Call" registry this year, a big surge from the more than 5.3 million complaints in 2016 and the the nearly 3.6 million complaints in 2015. (CNBC)

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