Morning Brief

Stock futures mixed | Facebook surges 11% | Tesla's CFO leaves, again



Futures were mixed this morning after the Fed indicated that the pace of rate hikes would be slower. With the Wednesday surge, the Dow closed over 25,000 for the first time since Dec. 4, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted their highest closes since Dec. 6. (CNBC)

* Powell: Fed did not change course on interest rates in response to Trump (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) was 5 percent lower in premarket after it missed on earnings. Revenue did beat Street forecasts, however, and CEO Elon Musk expressed confidence that Tesla can be profitable every quarter. Separately, Tesla announced the departure of CFO Deepak Ahuja. (CNBC)

Meantime, Facebook (FB) shares were surging 11 percent in premarket after it reported earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations. The results are lessening investor concerns about increased spending on privacy and security-related matters. (CNBC)

* Alibaba shares soar as market looks past the company's record $41 billion spending spree (CNBC)

Another busy morning for earnings reports features Dow component DowDupont (DWDP), Altria (MO), AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Baker Hughes (BHGE) and more. Amazon (AMZN) grabs the spotlight in today's after-the-bell earnings. (CNBC)

* GE shares rise after revenue tops expectations, DOJ settlement (CNBC)
DowDuPont sales miss on foreign exchange effects and materials science weakness (Reuters)

The Labor Department is out with its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index comes at 9:45 a.m. ET. The government releases the shutdown-delayed new home sales report for November at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)


CNBC has learned that former Starbucks (SBUX) chairman and CEO Howard Schultz is gearing up to visit early caucus and primary states as he mulls an independent run for president in 2020.

* Schultz says he would improve Obamacare, force Big Pharma to negotiate on drug prices (CNBC)

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump was chosen by God to be president in 2016. The interview also covered immigration, anti-Semitism and the wall.

Special counsel Robert Mueller claimed that evidence in one of his criminal cases related to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign was recently used in an online disinformation campaign, apparently to discredit Mueller's probe. (CNBC)

China said today its manufacturing activity contracted for the second-straight month in January — another sign that China's economy is slowing down amid domestic headwinds and the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. (CNBC)

* China's powerful naval gun will be ready for warfare by 2025: US intelligence (CNBC)

Political tensions in crisis-stricken Venezuela are reaching boiling point. It comes after opposition leader Juan Guaido stood in the streets of the capital city last week and declared himself as the country's "acting president." (CNBC)

At least four people died after a polar vortex blasted the Midwest with the coldest Arctic air in a generation. The extreme weather has also forced widespread school and government office closures. (The Weather Channel)

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that e-cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as nicotine patches, gums and similar therapies in helping people stop smoking cigarettes. (CNBC)

* 3 major drugmakers targeted by Democrats on insulin prices (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg defended the company's data-collecting app, arguing the company made its market research program "very clear" to users. (CNBC)


Microsoft (MSFT) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.10 per share, beating consensus estimates by a penny. Revenue did fall slightly short of forecasts, however, despite a gain in its cloud-computing business as several other product areas saw slower growth.

Qualcomm (QCOM) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.20 per share, 11 cents above estimates, but the chipmaker's revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Qualcomm gave a forecast that was in line with analyst estimates, soothing some concerns about weakness in the China smartphone market.

Visa (V) beat estimates by five cents with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.30 per share, while the payment network's revenue beat estimates as well. Results were boosted by an 11 percent increase in payment volume, and the company also announced an $8.5 billion stock buyback program.

PayPal (PYPL) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 69 cents per share, two cents above estimates, with the payment service's revenue essentially in line with forecasts. However, PayPal gave a lower-than-expected revenue outlook for the current quarter.

Mondelez International (MDLZ) matched Street forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of 63 cents per share, and the snack maker's revenue was in line as well. The company's sales fell in the latest quarter, but higher prices helped boost bottom line results.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) earned an adjusted $1.06 per share for its latest quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.35. The casino operator's revenue did come in above Wall Street forecasts.

General Motors (GM) temporarily suspended production at 11 Michigan plants and its Warren Tech Center. The move comes after a local utility requested that users conserve natural gas during the extreme cold snap.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is suing to stop former executive David Smith from joining the new joint health care venture formed by Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM). UnitedHealth claims the move violates Smith's noncompete agreement.


Chicagoans are seeking comfort food amid the freezing weather. Orders for deep-dish pizza in Chicago have more than doubled during the polar vortex, which has blasted the Midwest with -66 degree wind chills. (Marketwatch)