Morning Brief

Stocks are set to open higher despite concerns about a looming government shutdown

Key Points


Stock futures were modestly higher this morning as investors kept a wary eye on a possible government shutdown. The averages are on track for a third straight week of gains, and the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on pace for January gains that exceed any month during 2017. (CNBC)

* Cramer tracks 4 growing market discrepancies: Rates, Trump, cryptocurrencies and stocks (CNBC)

IBM (IBM) shares were about 3 percent lower premarket this morning despite reporting better-than-expected earnings and returned to revenue growth. The company did warn that a higher tax rate for 2018 would impact its profits. (CNBC)

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury jumped to its highest level since 2014 this morning, according to data. J.P. Morgan predicts the 10-year will edge higher throughout the year as the central bank moves away from its financial crisis policies. (CNBC)

* The bond market is about to do something that could spell trouble for stocks (CNBC)

Bitcoin was trading higher at around $11,700 this morning after the cryptocurrency plunged more than 30 percent between Monday and Wednesday. The sell-off, which hit most cryptocurrencies, followed reports of regulation from South Korea and China. (CNBC)

* SEC says it's worried about 'significant' issues with cryptocurrency ETF plans (CNBC)

Regional banks are prominent on this morning's earnings calendar, with Citizens Financial (CFG), Regions Financial (RF), and SunTrust Banks (STI) set to report. There are no reports scheduled after today's closing bell.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will make comments on the economic outlook this morning at an event in Tennessee, while Fed Governor Randal Quarles appears at an American Bar Association meeting in D.C. this afternoon. Bostic is a voting member of the FOMC. (CNBC)

Only one economic report is on today's calendar, with the University of Michigan's preliminary January Consumer Sentiment Index out at 10 a.m. ET. Consensus forecasts call for a reading of 97, up from December's final 95.9. (CNBC)


The House passed a last-minute bill to avoid a government shutdown late last night, sending it to the Senate, where it faces a much higher hurdle on the way to President Donald Trump's desk. The Senate needs 60 votes in the affirmative to pass a spending bill. (CNBC)

* What happens during a US government shutdown (Reuters)
* Trump is the only person who doesn't seem worried about a shutdown (CNBC)

Trump scored a 39 percent approval rating, the lowest for any modern president one year into their term, a NBC/WSJ poll shows. The poll was conducted during the uproar over Trump's vulgar description of Haiti and African nations.

The Trump administration is reportedly acting quickly to transfer the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv by 2019. A move of the embassy, however, was not expected to happen until the end of President Trump's term. (NY Times)

* Trump to address US anti-abortion march, cementing U-turn on issue (Reuters)
* Trump called Tim Cook after Apple revealed its US investment plan (CNBC)

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that blocked Trump's move to end the Obama-era DACA program. In September, Trump moved to end the program unless Congress can come up with a fix by March. (Reuters)

* There are 3.6 million 'Dreamers'... a number far greater than commonly known (USA Today)
* Florida deal to detain undocumented immigrants gains sheriffs' support (WSJ)

Pope Francis accused victims of Chile's most notorious paedophile of slander. He said until he sees proof Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are "all calumny." (AP)

Washington, D.C. and Austin are shaping up to be strong contenders for Amazon's (AMZN) second headquarters, based on the criteria the company identified. Amazon narrowed down its list of places for its headquarters to 20 on Thursday. (CNBC)

* Netflix pitches fictional TV town as Amazon HQ2 possibility (GeekWire)

Co-founder and ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will get with $1.4 billion from SoftBank's completed investment agreement with Uber. SoftBank is officially Uber's largest shareholder and could value Uber at $48 billion. (CNBC)

Snap (SNAP) laid off two dozen workers in New York and London, half of whom worked producing content. The parent company of Snapchat has struggled as larger rivals like Facebook (FB) copies its features. (CNBC)


American Express (AXP) earned an adjusted $1.58 per share for the fourth quarter, beating estimates by four cents, while the financial services giant also saw revenue beat forecasts. However, the company did report its first overall quarterly loss in 25 years stemming from charges related to tax law changes. The company will maintain its quarterly dividend but has suspended share buybacks for the first half of 2018.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) reported better than expected profit and revenue for its latest quarter, and said it was considering strategic deals to boost shipments of crude oil by rail. The rail operator is also forecasting higher pricing this year on rising demand.

Texas Instruments (TXN) will promote Chief Operating Officer Brian Crutcher to chief executive officer in June, succeeding Rich Templeton. Templeton will remain the semiconductor maker's chairman.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit has struck a patent licensing agreement with China's Tencent Holdings in a move to expand its presence in China. This is Google's first such deal with a major Chinese tech company.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) Vice Chairman Ajit Jain reported an ownership stake of about $109 million in the company's stock. Jain is seen as a possible eventual successor to Warren Buffett.


United Airlines (UAL) announced it will launch a "premium economy" class later this year. Travelers can expect more space, free alcoholic beverages along with a blanket and pillows. The move follows Delta and American launching similar products. (CNBC)