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Morning Brief

Stocks swing lower | Google invests in NYC | Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were both positive and negative as the recent volatility on Wall Street continues. Friday's 2-percent declines in the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq turned all three measures negative for the week, and sent the Dow and S&P 500 back to May and April lows, respectively. (CNBC)

Cramer on the sell-off: Negativity shouldn't stop you from careful stock-picking (CNBC)

Ahead of Monday's open, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were also all in correction territory. But the small-cap Russell 2000 was off about 19 percent from its recent highs, about 1 percent away from a bear market. (CNBC)

* It's now or never for a market down nearly 3% for the year with just 2 weeks to go (CNBC)

On the economy, The New York Fed issues its Empire State manufacturing index at 8:30 a.m. ET. The National Association of Home Builders releases its December housing market index. No major earnings are out this morning, but Oracle (ORCL) and Red Hat (RHT) are out after the bell. (CNBC)

Legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller and former Fed Gov. Kevin Warsh wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that central bankers should pause their "double-barreled blitz of higher interest rates and tighter liquidity."

The Federal Reserve holds its final monetary policy meeting of the year tomorrow and Wednesday. Central bankers are expected to hike interest rates for the fourth time in 2018. The new path for rates in 2019 will be key the markets. (CNBC)

Today marks one year since bitcoin hit an all-time of $19,783. Since then, it has been a painful ride down to about $3,000 for cryptocurrency believers who this time last year were betting heavily on the disruption. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Google said today it'll invest $1 billion in a new campus in New York City called Google Hudson Square. Amazon recently announced Queens as one of its HQ2 sites. Last week, Apple revealed a $1 billion investment in a new complex in Austin, Texas. (CNBC)

* Amazon targets unprofitable items, with a sharper focus on its bottom line (WSJ)

Goldman Sachs (GS) is the target of criminal charges in Malaysia, stemming from the 1MDB scandal. Charges were also filed against two former Goldman employees in the case involving alleged money laundering at the state-run fund. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump retains strong support from fellow Republicans, but Americans overall express growing unease about his potential involvement in criminal wrongdoing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

* Trump names OMB's Mulvaney acting White House chief of staff, replacing John Kelly (CNBC)

Facing a Friday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown, Trump, Democratic leaders, and the GOP-controlled Congress are at a stalemate over the president's border wall. (NY Times)

The percentage of high school seniors who used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days nearly doubled to 20.9 percent from last year, according to the results of an annual survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (Reuters)

Colin Kroll, co-creator of six-second video appVine and the wildly popular game app HQ Trivia, has died of a suspected drug overdose in New York City. Kroll briefly worked at Twitter, which bought Vine in 2012 and closed it down last year. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

HCA (HCA), Humana (HUM), UnitedHealth (UNH) and other major health care stocks top this morning's watch list, after a federal judge ruled that Obamacare was unconstitutional, in a case that's could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
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Best Buy (BBY) shares were under pressure after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to underperform (the firm's equivalent of a sell rating), citing slowing sales of electronics, including the iPhone.

Lululemon (LULU) was upgraded to buy from hold at Stifel Nicolaus, which sees positive sales momentum, putting the athletic apparel maker on target for double-digit revenue growth. Shares were higher.

Swiss engineering company ABB (ABB) is selling an 80.1 percent stake in its Power Grids division to Japan's Hitachi for $11 billion. ABB, which also makes industrial robots, wants to offload its least profitable division.

Boeing (BA) and Embraer finalized the terms of a joint venture first announced in July, in which Boeing will pay $4.2 billion for an 80 percent stake. The partnership, which still needs Brazilian government approval, would be comprised of Embraer's commercial aircraft and services operations.

California regulators said PG&E (PCG) falsified natural gas pipeline safety records for years. An investigation found PG&E did not have sufficient staff to fulfill required inspections, and pressured employees to complete the work. PG&E said it's taking actions in response to the state's findings.

WATERCOOLER

The animated "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" debuted atop the domestic weekend box office, with $35.4 million in ticket sales. Clint Eastwood's "The Mule" came in second with $17 million. (Variety)

"Aquaman," which opens in the U.S. Friday, passed $250 million internationally, with a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories. The superhero movie has seen the biggest returns in China. (Variety)