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Morning Brief

Dow set to drop | Chinese economic data disappoints | Trump to meet about shutdown

BY THE NUMBERS

Futures were lower this morning after disappointing China economic data and general worries about growth and future Fed actions. The current pessimism runs counter to last week's performance, which saw Wall Street take the edge off a bearish month. (CNBC)

* Asian stocks see losses on the first trading day of 2019 (CNBC)
* Why 2018 suddenly fell apart on Wall Street, and what's ahead (CNBC)

Results of a private survey on China's manufacturing for the month of December showed factory activity contracted for the first time in 19 months, 49.7 percent from 50.2 percent in November, amid a trade dispute with the U.S. (CNBC)

There's no economic data on the calendar for today, and no corporate earnings. Investors are already looking ahead to tomorrow's ADP private sector employment report for December, and the government's December jobs report on Friday morning. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump has invited eight top lawmakers to sit down this afternoon and discuss the partial government shutdown and border funding. This would mark the first time Trump has met with leaders since the shutdown began. (CNBC)

House Democrats announced that they have put forward legislation to end the government shutdown when they take control of the chamber starting tomorrow. They'll vote on six appropriation bills to fund most agencies through Sept. 30. (CNBC)

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate and incoming U.S. senator from Utah, sharply criticized President Trump in an essay and suggested the U.S. leader had caused dismay around the world. (Reuters)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said earlier this week that she had formally launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid. She said corruption is "poisoning our democracy" and warned that the middle class is "under attack." (CNBC)

Russia's FSB state security service said it had detained an American citizen suspected of spying in Moscow and had opened a criminal case against him. Under Russian law, espionage can carry between 10 and 20 years in prison. (Reuters)

Streaming service Netflix (NFLX) has pulled an episode of "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" in Saudi Arabia after receiving a legal request from the country's government, according to the Financial Times newspaper.

The Wall Street Journal reported drug companies are ringing in 2019 by raising the price of hundreds of drugs, with Allergan (AGN) setting the pace with increases of nearly 10 percent on more than two dozen products.

NASA's New Horizons explorer successfully "phoned home" after a journey to the most distant world ever explored by humankind. The probe traveled 4 billion miles to come within 2,200 miles of Ultima Thule. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is firing Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann for cause "unrelated to the company's financial reporting", according to an SEC filing. The Wall Street Journal reports that Neumann will be named as the new Netflix (NFLX) CFO as early as this week, quoting a personal familiar with the matter.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit has won FCC approval for its new radar-based motion sensing device. Google was granted a waiver to operate the sensors at a higher power than is currently allowed under FCC rules.

Hertz Global (HTZ) agreed to pay a $16 million fine to settle an accounting case, according to an SEC filing. The car rental company had been accused of materially misstating pretax income due to accounting errors, although Hertz did not admit or deny the accusations in agreeing to the settlement.

Nokia (NOK) and Ericsson (ERIC) have struggled to capitalize on the issues facing Chinese telecommunications rival Huawei, according to a story in today's Wall Street Journal. European wireless providers tell the paper that the two companies have been slow to release telecommunications equipment that is as advanced as Huawei's offerings.

Tesla (TSLA) had over 3,000 Model 3 automobiles in inventory as of Sunday, according to the automotive news website Electrek.

Bausch Health (BHC) was upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at Piper Jaffray, which said the drug maker is exhibiting earnings stability as well as the potential for long term growth. Bausch is the company formerly known as Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Wells Fargo (WFC) was upgraded to "sector perform" from "underperform" at RBC Capital Markets, which cited valuation. The bank's shares fell about 25 percent in 2018.

WATERCOOLER

One lucky winner in New York will begin 2019 $425 million richer after matching all six numbers in yesterday's Mega Millions, according to the jackpot games' website. Seven other players won at least $1 million. (USA Today)