Morning Brief

What to watch today: November jobs, China waives some tariffs and Warren's support falls


A rise in U.S. stock futures ahead of the Friday session holds out hope for a third straight day of gains, although the November jobs data could either change or enhance that outlook. The market has been slowly recovering from the Monday and Tuesday sell-offs, but the Dow is still on track for its worst week since mid-August and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on pace for their largest weekly losses since late September. (CNBC)

The government's latest monthly employment report is out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are expecting November job growth to appear strong as striking GM workers returned to the workforce. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 187,000 jobs were added in November, and Refinitiv's consensus forecast was 180,000. (CNBC)

Also on today's economic and earnings calendars, the University of Michigan's mid-December consumer sentiment index is released at 10 a.m. ET. At the same time, the government releases October data on wholesale inventories. Discount retailer Big Lots (BIG) and apparel and footwear seller Genesco (GCO) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, with no companies scheduled to release numbers after the closing bell. (CNBC)


China will waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the U.S., China's finance ministry said today. China imposed tariffs of 25% on both U.S. soybeans and pork last July as a countermeasure to tariffs levied by Washington over allegations that China steals and forces the transfer of U.S. intellectual property to Chinese firms. (CNBC)

* US and China disagree on the size of agriculture purchases, report says (CNBC)
* World Bank adopts $1 billion-plus annual China lending plan over US objections (Reuters)

Energy ministers from some of the world's largest oil producers will attempt to ratify a deeper round of output cuts today. Led by Saudi Arabia, the 14-member group agreed in principle to cut production by an additional 500,000 barrels per day through to the end of March 2020, which is much larger than many had expected. (CNBC)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the House committees investigating President Donald Trump to proceed with articles of impeachment as his "actions have seriously violated the Constitution." Pelosi's comments confirm what was widely expected: that the Democrat-controlled House will vote on whether to impeach the president. (CNBC)

* White House on Trump impeachment: 'We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate' (CNBC)
* Bloomberg reverses course and backs Trump impeachment (USA Today)

Support for Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren dropped nationally to its lowest level in four months, and nearly one in three potential Democratic primary voters say they do not know which candidate to pick with the first nominating contests less than two months away, according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll. (Reuters)

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said he believed that new tax policies were needed to "right the market" during a historic period of economic inequality. He also appeared to support a new financial transactions tax, which has been embraced by rival candidates Warren and Bernie Sanders, but which Biden did not include in his economic plan released this week. (CNBC)

* 'You're a damn liar, man!' – Joe Biden blasts Iowa voter, calls him 'fat' after man repeats Ukraine smear (CNBC)
* John Kerry, former secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, endorses Biden (USA Today)

Uber (UBER) released a report acknowledging 5,981 reports of sexual abuse between riders and drivers on the service between 2017 and 2018. The numbers come from the ride-hailing company's first U.S. Safety Report, which it plans to issue every two years in an effort aimed at showing its focus on rider safety. (NBC News)

* Here's what Uber is doing to solve its sexual assault problem after reporting more than 3,000 incidents last year alone (CNBC)

A contender for the top job at BlackRock (BLK) was ousted from the money-management giant for failing to disclose a relationship with an employee under his reporting line, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's the latest high-profile instance of executive misconduct at a major U.S. company.

Chime, the largest of a new breed of branchless U.S. banks, raised $500 million in a series E round it closed recently valuing the company at $5.8 billion, CNBC reported. It's a remarkable increase from its last round nine months ago, when it raised $200 million at a $1.5 billion valuation. (CNBC)

* SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has held talks to invest $150 million in home health-care start-up Honor, sources say (CNBC)


Tesla (TSLA) shares could rise to $500 per share if Morgan Stanley's "bull case" plays out, said analyst Adam Jonas. The firm's price target for the automaker's stock remains at $250, but his report said the bull case could play out if the Cybertruck is a success and a more optimistic scenario in China comes to pass. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) is reportedly in talks to lease a landmark Manhattan building in a deal that would make it one of New York's largest corporate tenants and would help offset the lack of Amazon's (AMZN) second headquarters earlier planned for the city. (WSJ)

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with revenue and comparable sales essentially in line with forecasts. Ulta's results were boosted by sales of its higher margin cosmetics products. Shares were up about 9% in the premarket.

Zoom Video Communications (ZM) earned an adjusted 9 cents per share for its latest quarter, 6 cents above estimates, while the video platform provider saw revenue beat Street forecasts as well. However, the shares are under pressure on signs that revenue growth is slowing.

DocuSign (DOCU) shares jumped nearly 14% after the online-signature platform posted third-quarter earnings that topped analysts' expectations. The company posted earnings of 11 cents per share excluding certain items on revenue $250 million, compared to the earnings of 3 cents per share and revenue of $240 million analysts forecast.

Shares of cloud-computing company PagerDuty (PD) tanked more than 17% after the bell, following its mixed third-quarter earnings and fourth-quarter guidance, plus a new leadership change. Separately, PagerDuty announced that former Salesforce (CRM) executive Dave Justice will join the company as chief revenue officer.


Yum Brands' (YUM) KFC is bringing back its 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog for those who want their homes to smell like the fastfood chain's secret fried chicken recipe. The firelog, which was introduced last year, will be exclusively sold at Walmart for $18.99. (Thrillist)