Morning Brief

Stocks set to bounce | Oil sinks | Moonves won't get $120 million severance


U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after a Monday sell-off that saw the Dow and S&P 500 off to their worst December start since 1980, and just slightly above what would be their worst December start since 1931. (CNBC)

* Market on pace for worst December since Great Depression (CNBC)
* Cramer: Four things need to happen for the stock market to bottom (CNBC)

Oil prices fell 4 percent today, for a third consecutive session, amid reports of swelling inventories and forecasts of record U.S. and Russian output combined with a sharp sell-off in global stock markets. (Reuters)

The Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day policy meeting today, with investors anxiously anticipating the central bank's interest rate decision and policy statement tomorrow afternoon. Markets are expecting a rate hike tomorrow. (CNBC)

On the data front early this morning, the government is out with November housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a 0.7 percent decline after a 1.5 percent increase in October. (CNBC)


President Donald Trump's first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is set to be sentenced by a federal judge today — and despite a recent dispute with Robert Mueller, there's good reason to believe he will get a light punishment. (CNBC)

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed his nation this morning to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's "reform and opening up." He struck a relatively defiant tone in response to calls for changes to the economy. (CNBC)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is gathering a group of Democratic party financiers tomorrow for a private breakfast as he looks to amass a 2020 presidential campaign war chest. (CNBC)

Goldman Sachs (GS) ignored warning signs in dealings with Malaysian investment fund 1MDB, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper cites internal documents and people involved with 1MDB transactions.

* Goldman says it was lied to in 1MDB scandal that has plagued its stock (CNBC)

CBS' (CBS) board of directors announced it would not pay former chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves a $120 million severance package, after completing an investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Moonves. (CNBC)

A judge ruled that CBS (CBS) and Viacom (VIAB) controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone be placed under court-appointed guardianship due to his difficulties in speaking. However, the trust that controls the media giant remains under Redstone's sole control until he dies or is deemed incapacitated.

A federal government committee and other top regulators in the U.S. have approved the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, paving the way for a union between the country's third- and fourth-largest wireless operators. (NYT)

* Elon Musk's Boring Co. to show off Los Angeles transportation tunnels (USA Today)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced a $5 billion stock buyback and reaffirmed its full-year 2018 guidance. It came amid the controversy surrounding the company's talc products and whether they contained cancer-causing asbestos. (CNBC)

* J&J CEO: 'We unequivocally believe' our baby powder does not contain asbestos (CNBC)

The U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory today urging new restrictions, including taxes and indoor vaping bans to combat youth e-cigarette use. More than 2 million middle school, high school and college teens use e-cigs. (USA Today)

Democratic-led states urged U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas to clarify that Obamacare is still in effect and can be enforced while they challenge a ruling that a central feature of the health law is unconstitutional. (WSJ)

* Health-care stocks plunge after federal judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional (CNBC)


Oracle (ORCL) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 80 cents per share, beating forecasts by two cents, with the business software maker's revenue also beating Wall Street forecasts. Investors are particularly encouraged by signs of strength in Oracle's cloud-computing business.

Boeing (BA) increased its stock buyback program to $20 billion from $18 billion, and also announced a 20 percent dividend hike to $2.055 per share.

Qualcomm (QCOM) said it believes Apple (AAPL) is violating the terms of a China court order to stop selling iPhones in that country. Apple said it pushed a software update to its iPhones that resolves patent infringement issues and puts them in compliance with the court order.

Kroger (KR) Chief Financial Officer J. Michael Schlotman will retire from the supermarket operator April 3, although he will remain as executive vice president until he retires at the end of 2019. Gary Millchip, the chief executive of Kroger's Personal Finance unit, will take over as CFO.

NCR (NCR) was upgraded to "top pick" from "outperform" at RBC Capital Markets, which cites a number of factors including more efficient cost management for the maker of automated teller machines and point-of-sale terminals.


Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer-turned-YouTube star, has received praise online after designing a booby trap to avenge all those who've fallen victim to a new wave of neighborhood crime: doorstep delivery theft. (CNBC)