Morning Brief

2018 off to record-breaking start on Wall Street

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were mixed this morning after a record-breaking start to the year on Wall Street. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closed at record highs. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq have all gained in three of the past four sessions. (CNBC)

Ripple, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by value, hit a record high this morning. The digital coin reached $2.51, according to data from CryptoCompare. It marks a more than 39,600 percent rally in one year. (CNBC)

* How to buy ripple, one of the hottest bitcoin competitors (CNBC)
* There's a new hottest cryptocurrency of 2018 so far: stellar (CNBC)

American Airlines Group (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV) that they would give employees a $1,000 bonus due to the new tax law and a lower corporate tax rate. Southwest also announced an increased fleet investment with jetmaker Boeing (BA) as well as a $5 million charitable donation. (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its most recent policy meeting at 2 p.m. ET. At that meeting, policymakers raised the Fed's benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percent. (CNBC)

The first economic numbers of the year, the Institute For Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index and November construction spending, are out at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Mortgage Bankers Association is out with two weeks of mortgage applications data. (CNBC)


President Trump last night said that his "nuclear button" is "much bigger and more powerful" than the one controlled by North Korea's Kim Jong-Un. Earlier, Kim had said that the North's nuclear weapons can reach anywhere in the U.S. (CNBC)

* North Korea reopens cross-border talks with South Korea (AP)

Trump has escalated tensions with Democratic leaders over the fate of young undocumented immigrants known as "dreamers". He claimed lawmakers were "doing nothing" to protect them from deportation, even though he ended the program. (Washington Post)

* Homeland chief: Wait and see on citizenship for immigrants (AP)
* Trump to announce "most dishonest" and "corrupt media awards" next week (USA Today)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney changed his Twitter location from Massachusetts to Utah. Romney is reportedly considering a run for the open seat in Utah after Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement. (Axios)

A record-shattering freeze kept its grip on much of the eastern U.S. this morning, causing at least eight deaths and closing schools. Forecasters warned of a storm that could slam some areas with blizzard conditions later this week. (AP)

Amazon (AMZN) is in talks to let companies promote their products on Alexa, sources tell CNBC. Ads will focus on sponsorship opportunities within skills or use data about a buyer's shopping history to suggest products.

Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing last week for allegedly using thousands of songs without a license. Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs from artists including Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $1.6 billion along with injunctive relief. (Reuters)

Vice has suspended two top executives after a New York Times report on sexual misconduct at the digital media company. The company put its president, Andrew Creighton, and Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano on leave. (AP)


Alibaba's (BABA) Ant Financial Services affiliate has ended its agreement to buy payment services company MoneyGram (MGI), following objections by federal regulators. The companies were unable to garner the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for possible national security risks.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) will work with activist investor Elliott Management on filling a board seat. Elliott has built a stake in the drug maker and has been pushing for changes.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) and investor Bill Ackman have been asked to appear in court January 16 to discuss a proposed settlement in an insider trading lawsuit involving trading in Allergan (AGN) shares. The court said it has questions about whether a proposed $290 settlement is reasonable and fair.

Apartment Investment & Management Co. (AIV) had its lawsuit against Airbnb dismissed by a US district court. Aimco had claimed that Airbnb — which specializes in short-term rentals — allowed tenants to break leases through unauthorized sublets.

Novartis (NVS) received a "breakthrough therapy" designation for its breast cancer treatment Kisqali. The designation grants priority review to drugs with promising results in clinical trials.