Morning Brief

Dow futures soaring 200 points in a continuation of Wall Street's best yearly start since 2003

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were sharply higher this morning after a three-day break on Wall Street. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are set to rewrite the record books once again at the open, after closing at all-time highs Friday, and the Russell 2000 and Dow Transports are also at record levels. (CNBC)

Bitcoin fell below $12,000 for the first time since December this morning, as investors monitored warnings from regulators and reports of an escalated crackdown on the cryptocurrency market in China. Ethereum was trading at $1,090.96, down more than 18 percent. (CNBC)

* Chinese central bank official says virtual currency trade needs to end (Reuters)
* European regulator warns: Investors could lose everything on cryptocurrency ICOs (CNBC)

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) was 3 percent higher premarket this morning after its quarterly results beat on the top and bottom line, driven by a one-time tax benefit. It also raised its 2018 EPS guidance.

Additionally, Citigroup (C) and Comerica (CMA) will release earnings this morning. CSX Corp. (CSX) is one of just a few companies set to release its earnings after today's closing bell. (CNBC & Reuters)

Only one minor economic report is on today's calendar, with the New York Federal Reserve releasing its January Empire State Manufacturing Index at 8:30 a.m. ET. It's expected to rise to 18.5 from December's 18 reading. (CNBC)


Congressional aides reportedly said they are expecting a short-term deal funding the government for a few weeks. GOP and Democratic leaders want a spending deal that is separate from an immigration deal on DACA. (WSJ)

* Democrats say 50 senators have endorsed legislation to overrule the FCC on net neutrality (Washington Post)

Trump blamed Sen. Dick Durbin for blowing up talks on a DACA immigration deal. Durbin said Trump used the term "s___hole" when speaking about Haiti and African countries during a meeting about immigration policy at the White House last week. (Reuters)

* Too old for DACA, man who spent 30 years of his life in the US is deported (USA Today)
* Trump says 'I'm not a racist' and keeps door open for a possible DACA deal (Reuters)
* GOP Sen. Jeff Flake plans speech comparing Trump's treatment of the media to Stalin (CNBC)

The House Intelligence Committee will reportedly question Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon after accusing the president's son and others of "treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign. (AP)

* US warned Jared Kushner about Wendi Deng Murdoch (WSJ)
* Report: Foreign governments, candidates, trade groups spent at Trump properties (Reuters)

The Pentagon is reportedly planning to develop two new nuclear weapons in response to China and Russia's growing capabilities. The move also comes as North Korea attempts to expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons. (WSJ)

* Now Japanese TV issues false alarm about a missile launch (Reuters)
* China tells Trump that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula must continue (Reuters)

The employee who set off a statewide panic in Hawaii over the weekend by sending out a false alarm about an incoming ballistic missile has been reassigned. Officials say there are no plans to fire him or identify him to the public. (NY Times)

The Philippines' most active volcano spewed lava that cascaded downslope and emitted ash that fell on nearby towns, prompting the government to shut more schools. Mount Mayon has shown increased restiveness since Saturday, displacing thousands of residents. (Reuters)

Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock (BLK), is going to inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than making profits. The firms needs to contribute to society as well if they want to receive support, he argues. (NY Times)

BP (BP) said today it expected to take a post-tax non-operating charge of around $1.7 billion in its fourth-quarter earnings results. The charge is part of the settlement of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the United States. (Reuters)

* GE to take $6.2 billion charge related to its legacy reinsurance businesses (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) was the only foreign brand to have a smartphone model in the top 10 best-selling handsets in China in 2017. The iPhone 7 Plus gained 2.8 percent of all smartphone sales in China, data shows. (CNBC)

BlackBerry (BB) launched cybersecurity software aimed at protecting driverless cars. The product was released Monday is called Jarvis and it identifies vulnerabilities in software used in cars. (CNBC)


Walt Disney's (DIS) board will be undergoing a few changes with Facebook (FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey not planning to seek reelection to the Disney board. Disney said the two are standing down due to growing conflicts of interest.

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has received a letter from four House Republicans, seeking more information about the company's recent disclosure about slowing down older iPhones to prevent shutdowns.

AT&T (T) is being pressured to cut all ties with China phone maker Huawei Technologies and to oppose China Mobile's plans to enter the U.S. market, because of national security concerns. That's according to Reuters, which quoted two congressional aides.

CBS (CBS) and Viacom (VIAB) are on watch today, following reports Friday that controlling shareholder Shari Redstone is seeking a merger between the two. However, the two are not said to be in active discussions about such a combination.

Wal-Mart (WMT) is planning to cut about 1,000 jobs primarily at its corporate headquarters, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cuts are expected to be completed by January 31, the last day of the retailer's fiscal year.

McDonald's (MCD) is switching to environmentally friendly packaging and offering recycling options at its restaurants. The company has set a goal of getting 100 percent of its packaging from renewable or recycled sources by 2025.


Ride-hailing company Lyft has launched its own craft beer in the Chicago area. The drink is available to order in bars only and comes with a code for a Lyft discount, so drinkers are more likely to use the app when going home. (Daily Mail)

The Honda Accord was named the North American Car of Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Roughly 60 jurors from print, online and broadcast news publications in the U.S. and Canada chose the winners. (CNBC)

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