Morning Brief

Stocks set to rise | Trump and Dems clash over the wall | New concerns over iPhone demand



U.S. stock futures were slightly higher this morning after the Dow and S&P 500 on Tuesday notched their first three-day win streaks since November. The Nasdaq also saw gains, seeing its eighth positive session in nine. (CNBC)

* Gundlach sees rising yields hitting stocks, trouble in junk bonds and a possible bitcoin bounce (CNBC)

Oil prices were 2 percent higher today, climbing above $50 per barrel, as the extension of United States-China talks in Beijing raised hopes that the world's two largest economies would resolve their trade standoff. (Reuters)

* Sharp drop in rates sparks 23.5% spike in weekly mortgage applications after unusually weak holidays (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) shares were 1.5 percent higher in premarket trading despite a report from the Nikkei Asian Review that the company is cutting down its current production plans for new iPhones by about 10 percent for the next three months.

* Tim Cook: 'I'm very optimistic' about US-China trade talks (CNBC)
* Apple's wearables revenue is already exceeding peak iPod sales, Cook says (CNBC)
* Cook teases new Apple services: Our 'greatest contribution' will be 'about health' (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve is expected to release minutes from its most recent policy meeting today at 2 p.m. ET. Following the Dec. 18-19 meeting, the Fed raised its benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent. (CNBC)

* Trump is probably going to get his way with the Fed this year (CNBC)
Fed's Bullard warns more rate rises could lead to a recession (WSJ)


President Donald Trump, in a prime-time TV address last night, made his case for a wall and strengthened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, highlighting multiple grisly examples of Americans allegedly murdered by illegal immigrants. (CNBC)

* Democrats blast Trump for 'malice' and 'fear' in his border wall appeal (USA Today)

Democrats today are set to test Republicans' resolve in backing Trump's drive to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The party is eager to force the GOP to choose between funding the IRS or voting to keep it partially shuttered. (Reuters)

The United States is in danger of losing its triple-A sovereign credit rating later this year, Fitch said today, warning an ongoing government shutdown could soon start to negatively impact the country's debt ceiling. (CNBC)

Robert Mueller accused former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort of lying about sharing polling data with an alleged Russian spy during the 2016 campaign, a new court filing by Manafort's lawyers has accidentally revealed. (CNBC)

CNBC has learned that Wall Street executives have heard from several potential 2020 Democratic candidates for president, including Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, as recently as last month.

BP's investment in next-generation technology just paid off to the tune of a billion barrels of oil. The British energy company has discovered 1 billion barrels of crude at an existing oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico. (CNBC)

A judge is giving Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert another chance to buy the company out of bankruptcy and save roughly 50,000 jobs. Lampert's hedge fund is now required to pay a $120 million deposit by 4 p.m. today. (CNBC)

More than a dozen former Facebook (FB) employees detailed how the social media company's leadership and its performance review system has created a culture where any dissent is discouraged. (CNBC)

Juul, the e-cigarette company that has become ubiquitous among teens, is launching its first television ad campaign targeting adult smokers as it faces criticism that its fruity flavors are designed for underaged users. (CNBC)


Homebuilder Lennar (LEN) reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.96 per share. Revenue of $6.46 billion was slightly below estimates. Lennar said low unemployment, higher wages, and low inventory levels remain favorable factors.

Herbalife (HLF) said CEO Richard Goudis is stepping down after the discovery of comments he made before taking the helm in 2017 that are contrary to the company's business practices. Herbalife named CEO Michael Johnson as its interim leader.

JCPenney (JCP) said same-store sales during the holiday season fell 3.5 percent, adding it plans to close three more locations this spring. But the embattled retailer reaffirmed guidance for positive cash flow and inventory reduction.

Goldman Sachs is upgrading Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), saying the beverage company has high earnings potential and improving margins. Goldman's 12-month price target is now $30 per share, about 15 percent higher than Tuesday's close.

Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of Tilray (TLRY) with an overweight rating and $90 price target. Tilray is well positioned to be one of "several likely winners" given its relationships in medical, in the U.S., and in beverages, the firm said.

Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) updated its first quarter 2019 guidance, lowering revenue projections to $970 million from $1 billion. It also lowered earnings per share guidance to a range of $1.81 to $1.84 per share, from an estimated $1.91 per share.


The "Game of Thrones" prequel pilot at HBO is taking shape, with several actors and actresses joining in series regular roles. As with all things GOT, the exact nature of each of their roles is being kept under wraps. (Variety)