Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise on trade report, Alphabet CEO out and Harris ends campaign


Trade headlines continue to be the driving force behind market sentiment, responsible for both Tuesday's decline and this morning's rebound in U.S. stock index futures. Bloomberg reported that the U.S. and China will complete a Phase 1 agreement before new tariffs go into effect on Dec. 15, countering a decline Tuesday spurred by President Trump's comments that a U.S.-China agreement might have to wait until after the 2020 election. (CNBC)

The Dow is coming off its lowest close since Nov. 6 after its biggest one-day drop since Oct. 8, while the S&P 500's Tuesday close was its lowest since Nov. 12. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have all been down for three straight days, and a decline today would give all the averages their longest losing streaks in four months. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, ADP releases its November private sector payrolls report at 8:15 a.m. ET. The Institute for Supply Management is out with its nonmanufacturing index for November at 10 a.m. ET. Campbell Soup (CPB) is out with its quarterly earnings this morning, while Five Below (FIVE), H&R Block (HRB), RH (RH) and Slack (WORK) will be out with their quarterly numbers after the closing bell. (CNBC)

* Harsh housing forecast for 2020, especially in these big cities (CNBC)
* Weekly mortgage applications drop 9%, as refinances pull back (CNBC)


Alphabet (GOOGL) CEO Larry Page will step down from the role and Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over, adding to his current responsibilities. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated. The two will remain "actively involved" as members of Alphabet's board. (CNBC)

* Sundar Pichai will have to step it up to become the wartime CEO Alphabet needs (CNBC)
* Language-learning app Duolingo valued at $1.5 billion after $30 million investment by Alphabet's CapitalG (CNBC)

Democrats publicly released a new report accusing President Donald Trump of soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election for his benefit and obstructing the impeachment inquiry in the House. The House Judiciary Committee is expected today to draft formal articles of impeachment against Trump. (CNBC)

* Nunes, top intelligence panel Republican, had frequent contact with Giuliani, call records show (Reuters)

As the impeachment inquiry continues, Trump is continuing to meet with NATO allies in England. Trump meets today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on the sidelines of the NATO leaders' meeting. (AP)

Sen. Kamala Harris suspended her presidential campaign, after falling from the top tier of Democratic candidates and failing to resurrect a doomed fundraising operation. Some of her top bundlers expected her fourth-quarter totals to be a "disaster" and noticed that the "events were not going well," said a member of her finance committee. (CNBC)

Mike Bloomberg has outspent almost every other Democratic candidate on TV and digital ads since he entered the race just over a week ago. In the wake of Bloomberg's presidential campaign launch on Nov. 24, he's invested $57 million in TV advertising, putting him on track to overtake fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent just over $60 million since July. (CNBC)

Already strained relations between China and the U.S. were further muddied after U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill targeting Beijing's mass crackdown on ethnic Muslim minorities, less than one week after Trump signed separate human rights legislation on Hong Kong. (AP)

United Airlines (UAL) announced an order for 50 long-range Airbus jets, handing another victory from a U.S. airline to Boeing's (BA) European rival. The carrier is the latest of several U.S. airlines to opt for the planes. JetBlue (JBLU) and American Airlines (AAL) have both agreed to order some of the long-range single-aisle planes that Airbus is developing. (CNBC)

Postmates, the food-delivery start-up that competes with Uber (UBER), DoorDash and GrubHub (GRUB), has laid off dozens of employees and closed its office in Mexico City. The company, which had planned to join the ranks of hot consumer IPOs this year, has been forced to reckon with a rapid change in the capital markets following the struggles of Uber and Lyft (LYFT). (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is due to resume testifying in his own defense today at the trial for a defamation lawsuit filed by a British diver whom the Silicon Valley billionaire called "pedo guy" on Twitter. Musk apologized for the tweet during his first day on the witness stand. (CNBC)


Salesforce (CRM) shares bounced around in extended trading after the cloud software company reported better-than-expected results.

Mastercard (MA) announced a 21% increase in its quarterly dividend, to 40 cents per share from the prior 33 cents. It also announced a new $8 billion share repurchase program.

Qualcomm (QCOM) will appeal a South Korean High Court decision to uphold a record $873 million fine against the chipmaker. The fine had been imposed for allegedly unfair business practices.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said new tests had shown that its Johnson's Baby Powder product contained no asbestos. The Food and Drug Administration had said earlier this year that investigations had found trace amounts in the product.

Constellation Brands (STZ) sold its Ballast Point craft beer unit to Illinois-based Kings & Convicts Brewing for an undisclosed amount. Constellation had bought Ballast Point in 2015 for $1 billion, still a record sale price for a craft brewery.

GoPro (GPRO) said its new Hero8 camera saw record sales as the holiday season kicked off. CEO Nick Woodman said the strong holiday season start positions the company well to report a profit this year and increase sales and profits in 2020.


Ford (F) is taking a new approach to making its car parts. The automaker is using coffee chaff, the husk of the bean that comes off during roasting, from McDonald's. As a result, the car parts will be 20% lighter, better for fuel efficiency, and provide the company with up to 25% energy savings during the molding of the parts. (CNBC)