Morning Brief

S&P 500, Nasdaq set for more records at the open as earnings season continues

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were modestly higher this morning, making it likely that the S&P 500 and Nasdaq will set intraday record highs at the open. The Dow is just 35 points from another all-time intraday high, despite a slight drop in Tuesday trading. (CNBC)

United Continental (UAL) shares fell 6 percent premarket after the company said it planned to increase capacity in a move that could impact its profit margins. The airline, however, posted fourth-quarter earnings that outpaced analyst estimates. (CNBC)

It's a busy morning for corporate earnings, highlighted by Dow components United Technologies (UTX) and General Electric (GE) as well as NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMCSA). Automaker Ford Motor (F) leads this afternoon's list of after-the-bell earnings. (CNBC)

Disney (DIS) announced it will pay over 125,000 employees a one-time cash bonus of $1,000 because of the passage of a tax bill. The company will also make a $50 million investment into a new employee education program. (CNBC)

Weekly reports out today include the Mortgage Bankers Association's report on mortgage applications at 7 a.m. ET. The National Association of Realtors will be out with its December look at existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)


Anti-capitalist protestors marched through Swiss cities last night, in protest against President Trump's scheduled visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Demonstrators were seen holding signs such as "No Trump, no coal, no gas, no fossil fuels." (CNBC)

Speaking at WEF, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a weaker dollar is good for the U.S. The U.S. dollar dipped slightly after his comments and hit a session low. The British pound hit a post-Brexit vote high. (CNBC)

Canada announced it will join 10 other countries in signing a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership in March. Canadian PM Trudeau emphasized the importance of NAFTA and Canada's openness to including more nations in future trade deals. (CNBC)


Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly wants to question President Trump in the coming weeks. He wants to ask the president about his decision to oust National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey. (Washington Post)

* Jeff Sessions questioned in special counsel's Russia probe (CNBC)
* In looking for loyalty, Trump asked FBI official how he voted (NY Times)

Trump will pick tax lawyer Charles "Chuck" Rettig to head the IRS, according to Politico. No connection between Trump and Rettig was apparent. He did, however, defend Trump's decision to shield his tax returns from public scrutiny while audited.

* Jerome Powell gets final approval from Senate to take over as Fed chairman (CNBC)

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he withdrew his offer to provide funding for Trump's border wall with Mexico. In a late-night tweet, Trump claimed there could be no fix to DACA without funding for his wall. (Reuters & CNBC)

* Why road ahead on "Dreamer" deal is rocky (USA Today)

South Korea has asked the U.S. to hold talks as early as next week on tariffs Washington imposed on imports of washing machines and solar panels. South Korea and China condemned the move, with Seoul calling it "excessive." (Reuters)

* Trump's anti-China sentiment 'detrimental' to world: Baidu president (CNBC)

Toys R Us is planning to close roughly 180 stores across the country, or about one-fifth of its U.S. store fleet. The closures are scheduled to begin in early February and run through mid-April as it restructures and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy. (CNBC)

Badoo, the majority owner of the dating app Bumble, is seeking a sale that could value the company at $1.5 billion. Badoo's eponymous dating app has been one of the most downloaded dating apps in the world. (CNBC)

After recently disclosed vulnerabilities, Apple (AAPL) took a step toward protecting Mac users by releasing Meltdown patches for its three most recent versions of the operating system. The company said earlier it was working to mitigate vulnerabilities. (CNBC)


Wells Fargo (WFC) increased its share buyback program by 350 million shares.

Texas Instruments (TXN) matched Street forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.09 per share, with revenues in line as well. Revenue growth was the slowest in four quarters, amid expectations that increasing demand for automotive-related chips would drive growth.

Sirius XM (SIRI) added $2 billion to its stock buyback program, bringing the satellite radio operator's buyback program to a total of $12 billion since it began in 2013.

Valero Energy (VLO) increased its quarterly dividend to 80 cents per share from 70 cents, and also approved a stock buyback program worth up to $2.5 billion.

Capital One (COF) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.59 per share, missing the consensus estimate of $1.88, while the credit card issuer's revenue was slightly below forecasts. Results were impacted by credit losses, and the company reported an overall loss on a $1.77 billion charge related to the recent tax law change.


Hands-free Netflix (NFLX) usage just got a lot easier. Google (GOOGL) announced that it's expanding the Voice Match feature on Google Assistant to support separate Netflix profiles. It will also know where you left off on a show. (The Verge)

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