Stocks are on track to open higher, taking cues from the ECB not the Fed

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning despite Wednesday's decline on Wall Street after the Fed raised interest rates and indicated two more hikes are likely this year for a total of four, one more than the markets had been expecting. The European Central Bank this morning said its massive bond-buying program will likely end in December. (CNBC)

* Euro slides as Draghi delivers a 'dovish' end to ECB easy money (CNBC)
* US jobless rolls declined to a near 44-1/2-year low (CNBC)

Comcast (CMCSA) is offering $65 billion in cash for 21st Century Fox (FOXA) assets that Fox had already agreed to sell to Walt Disney (DIS). The bid by the NBCUniversal and CNBC parent represents a 20 percent premium over Disney's all-stock offer. (CNBC)

* How Netflix sent the biggest media companies into a frenzy, and why it thinks some are getting it wrong (CNBC)

Shares of Tailored Brands (TLRD) were tanking about 18 percent in the premarket after the parent of Jos. A. Bank, Men's Wearhouse, and other apparel chains missed estimates on same-store sales. Earnings and revenue actually beat. (MarketWatch)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Justice Department's internal watchdog is expected to release today a long-awaited report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation that she said contributed to her 2016 presidential election loss. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump is reportedly expected to meet with his top trade advisors today to decide whether to activate threatened tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods. (Reuters)

* China threatens to scrap US trade deals if the White House hikes tariffs (AP)

U.S., South Korean, and Japanese officials strove to present a unified stance this morning, in an effort to quell concerns about Washington's military commitment to Asia after President Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (CNBC)

* Japan considering Abe-Kim summit with possible Pyongyang visit (Reuters)

Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until the rogue nation completes denuclearization, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this morning, apparently contradicting Kim's view that the process agreed to at this week's summit would be phased and reciprocal. (Reuters)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders played down a report that she plans to quit the Trump administration at the end of the year, but she stopped short of a flat-out denial. (Newsweek)

* Stormy Daniels' lawyer Avenatti and ex-Trump aide Scaramucci go head-to-head on late night (NY Post)

Stephen Bannon, 10 months removed from the job as Trump's chief strategist and five months after his ouster from conservative news site Breitbart, is betting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can disrupt banking the way the president disrupted American politics. (NY Times)

* SEC's policy on cryptocurrencies is confusing. That may be cleared up (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) is closing the technological loophole that let authorities hack into iPhones, angering police and other officials and reigniting a debate over whether the government has a right to get into personal devices. (NY Times)

Microsoft (MSFT) is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores. That would represent a challenge to Amazon's (AMZN) automated grocery stores. (Reuters)

Players of hit game "Fortnite" have hit out at Sony (SNE) over a problem that has seen users have issues playing the title on a Nintendo Switch console after initially using it on a PlayStation 4. (CNBC)

SoftBank Group is reportedly in discussions to invest another giant slug of capital in WeWork, with a deal that would value the shared-office company at $35 billion to $40 billion. (WSJ)

Twitter (TWTR) has retooled its service to more prominently suggest news stories and real-time events for users to follow, in an attempt to stand out with advertisers by emphasizing what's happening now. (Reuters)

* Facebook used less for news as youngsters turn to WhatsApp (Reuters)

Elon Musk's Boring Company has won the bid to build a high-speed express train to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, beating a consortium that included an engineering firm that worked on a terminal at London's Heathrow airport. (CNBC)

* Musk buys 72,500 more Tesla shares, upping stake to $11.6 billion (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Gap (GPS) named former Billabong International and Eddie Bauer CEO Neil Fiske as president and chief executive officer of its flagship Gap apparel brand. Gap also owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta.

Unilever (UL) said it was "extremely unlikely" that the consumer product maker's stock would remain in Britain's FTSE 100 index once it moves its headquarters to the Netherlands. The stock was lower in the premarket.

France's finance minister is urging General Electric (GE) to stick to its commitment to create 1,000 jobs at Alstom. GE, which bought Alstom's energy business in 2015, said the target was out of reach.

WATERCOOLER

World Cup host Russia plays Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the soccer tournament today as Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meet ahead of next week's OPEC meeting. (USA Today & CNBC)

The U.S. Open, golf's second major of the 2018 season, begins with Round One today at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York. The 127-year-old course last hosted the Open 14 years ago. (NY Times)