Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to fall, Trump impeachment articles coming and USMCA deal near


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a second straight day of losses at today's open on Wall Street as Sunday's deadline for new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods looms. The Fed meets today and tomorrow in its final meeting in a year that saw three interest rate cuts. No rate action is expected. Stocks are coming off their first decline in four days, although they remain close to record highs. (CNBC)

China is buying more U.S. soybeans, as both countries try to reach an initial agreement on trade. Between September and November this year, Chinese imports of American soybeans increased 13 times from the same period last year, according to a data analysis. U.S. soybean exports to China dropped off sharply in the second half of last year after Beijing retaliated to U.S. tariffs with its own duties. (CNBC)

China says pork prices surged 110% in November due to the ravages of African Swine Fever (CNBC)

On today's U.S. economic calendar, the government is out with revised third-quarter productivity figures at 8:30 a.m. ET. Auto parts retailer AutoZone (AZO) is out with quarterly earnings this morning along with HD Supply Holdings (HDS). Dave & Buster's Entertainment (PLAY) and Gamestop (GME) release after the bell. (CNBC)


Democrats plan to announce two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, against President Donald Trump this morning. The House Judiciary Committee heard from lawyers on findings from the impeachment inquiry over allegations that Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. (NBC News)

Trump to rally in battleground Pennsylvania after Democrats unveil impeachment articles (USA Today)

Trump said a new report from the Justice Department's internal watchdog is "far worse than I ever thought possible," calling the findings of the report "a disgrace." The report, however, found no evidence of political bias in connection with the origins of the Russia investigation. (CNBC)

Trump family member, possibly Ivanka, had 'personal' relationship with dossier author Steele (CNBC)
* Ex-FBI Director Comey takes a victory lap after DOJ report on Trump-Russia probe (CNBC)

House Democrats and the Trump administration are nearing a deal to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement after more than a year of deliberations, sources told CNBC. The Democratic-held House could vote on approving the USMCA, United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, by Dec. 18.

* U.S., Canadian officials converge on Mexico City to seal final changes to trade deal (Reuters)

Documents and interviews obtained by The Washington Post revealed that the U.S. failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan that's lasted nearly two decades, and hid pessimistic assessments. The interviews underscore how the past three administrations and their military commanders haven't been able to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.

Lawmakers announced an agreement on a $738-billion bill setting policy for the Department of Defense, including new measures for competing with Russia and China, family leave for federal workers and the creation of Trump's long-desired Space Force. It also calls for sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system. (Reuters)

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, in a new transparency push, will reveal the identities of his campaign bundlers and the clients for whom he worked while a consultant at McKinsey nearly a decade ago. He'll also open up his campaign fundraisers to reporters. (CNBC)

* Scaramucci: Bloomberg would beat Trump if he clinches Democratic nomination (CNBC)
* Elizabeth Warren looks for a second act after slipping in the polls (NY Times)

Edward Pierson, a former Boeing employee who raised concerns about 737 production, will testify tomorrow at a House hearing on the FAA's review of the grounded 737 Max. Boeing said that "although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously." (Reuters)

Morgan Stanley (MS) is cutting roughly 2% of its workforce due to an uncertain global economic outlook, CNBC reported. The job cuts at the investment bank, the world's biggest equities trading firm and a leading mergers advisor, will hit technology and operations roles hardest.

The National Labor Relations Board has started a new investigation into Google's (GOOGL) labor practices. The probe will include whether Google violated labor laws when it recently fired four employees will also look at whether Google discouraged employees from engaging in union activity. (CNBC)

* McDonald's black franchisees are leaving the chain as cash flow disparity between them and white counterparts grows (CNBC)
* Nike workers protest company's treatment of women (WSJ)


Stitch Fix (SFIX) reported a breakeven quarter, compared to estimates of a 6 cents per share loss, with the online clothing styling service reporting better-than-expected revenue.

Chewy (CHWY) lost 20 cents per share for its third quarter, 4 cents wider than analysts had been anticipating. However, the online pet products seller did report better-than-expected revenue, and also raised its full-year sales guidance.

Pershing Square Capital Management took a new position in testing equipment maker Agilent Technologies (A), according to an SEC filing. The stake is currently worth about $246 million.

Sanofi (SNY) announced plans to stop investing in diabetes research. The French drug maker is trying to focus on specialized disease categories such as cancer.

Norton LifeLock (NLOK) is drawing takeover interest from a number of companies, including cybersecurity software rival McAfee. That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which also said there is no guarantee a deal will be struck and that none is likely before the first quarter of 2020.

Comcast (CMCSA) plans to spend $2 billion on content and marketing for its Peacock streaming service, according to Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh. The NBCUniversal and CNBC parent will debut the Peacock service in April.

PG&E (PCG) plans to take a $4.9 billion charge against current quarter earnings, in connection with the $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims. That would bring the total fire-related charges for the utility to $25 billion.

Lululemon (LULU) Chief Operating Officer Stuart Haselden will leave the apparel maker in January to become chief executive officer at direct-to-consumer luggage company Away.


Merriam-Webster have declared "they" the word of the year based on a 313% increase in look-ups on the company's search site,, this year when compared with 2018. Merriam-Webster recently added a new definition to its online dictionary to reflect use of "they" as relating to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary. (AP)