Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise, Trump's trade meeting, UK heads to the polls


U.S. stock futures are pointing to a slightly higher open and a second day of gains after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold and signaled a long pause in any future rate moves. Trading remains cautious, however, with the threat of new China tariffs on Sunday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq would go positive for the week if the projected gains hold up, and the Nasdaq would join the S&P 500 in positive territory for December. (CNBC)

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made it clear the central bank will not move on interest rates unless it sees a significant and persistent move in inflation, which has been stubbornly below the Fed's target. Markets took Powell's comments as dovish, meaning the Fed is leaning toward an easing policy and keeping interest rates low rather than a tightening policy, or raising interest rates. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the Labor Department releases its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. The November producer price Index is out at the same time. The European Central Bank will conclude Christine Lagarde's first policy meeting as ECB president with an interest rate decision and statement at 7:45 a.m. ET, followed by Lagarde's news conference. (CNBC)

Networking equipment maker Ciena (CIEN) is one of the few companies scheduled to release quarterly earnings this morning, while Adobe (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Costco (COST), and Oracle (ORCL) are out with quarterly numbers after the closing bell.


President Donald Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisors today to discuss planned Dec. 15 tariffs on some $160 billion in Chinese goods, Reuters reported. A decision to move ahead with those tariffs could roil financial markets and scuttle U.S.-China talks to end the 17-month-long trade war between the world's two largest economies for the remainder of Trump's term.

* China: envoys in 'close communication' ahead of US deadline (AP)

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives moved closer to impeaching Trump as a key House committee began debating formal articles of impeachment that are expected to be brought to the House floor next week. The committee is expected to approve the charges sometime today. (Reuters)

Voters across the U.K. are heading to the polls today for a general election that is likely to shape the country for decades to come. The election is being seen as a vote on Brexit, and indeed the snap vote was called by the government led by PM Boris Johnson because of a parliamentary impasse over the Brexit deal he had negotiated with the European Union. (CNBC)

* How does Britain's voting system work? All you need to know ahead of the election (CNBC)

A new study from the Wharton School finds that presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax on the richest Americans will generate at least $1 trillion less than what her campaign claims, potentially undermining the key funding source for Warren's plans to expand government-backed health care, education, and other programs. (CNBC)

* Mike Bloomberg unveils a plan to raise the earned income and child tax credits (CNBC)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has brokered a deal with a key block of Democrats that threatened to derail passage of her sweeping bill overhauling drug prices. The bill originally allowed U.S. health officials to negotiate the prices Medicare pays for at least 35 different prescription drugs but is now raised to a minimum of 50 drugs. (CNBC)

* U.S. watchdog finds $6.7 billion in questionable Medicare payments to insurers (Reuters)

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $738 billion defense policy bill providing the first paid family leave for all federal workers and the creation of a Space Force, a top military priority for President Trump. The bill is now being sent to the Republican-controlled Senate, which is expected to pass it by the end of next week. (Reuters)

Disney+ has been downloaded to mobile devices 22 million times since its launch in November, according to mobile app research firm Apptopia. Disney (DIS) announced in November that Disney+ had 10 million signups after its first day. (CNBC)


General Electric (GE) was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at UBS, which said GE stock is at a positive inflection point going into 2020. Debt repayment and better free cash flow are cited as the primary reasons for the upbeat outlook.

Lululemon (LULU) reported better-than-expected profit and revenue for its latest quarter. Its current-quarter earnings forecast came in largely below analysts' consensus, however, as the company invests in new product launches.

Continental Resources (CLR) founder and CEO Harold Hamm will step down, replaced by former ConocoPhillips executive and current Continental board member William Berry on Jan. 1. Hamm will become the energy producer's executive chairman.

Jack In The Box (JACK) hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart to help find candidates to succeed current CEO Leonard Comma. Comma has not specified his departure date from the restaurant chain but told the company's board that now is the right time to move forward with a succession plan.

Bill (BILL) will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, after the back-office automation software maker's initial public offering priced at $22 per share — above the expected range of $19 to $21 per share.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) union workers ratified a new four-year labor contract with the automaker.

Bausch Health (BHC) was upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at J.P. Morgan Chase, which points to increasingly solid fundamentals for the health-care products maker.


"Disney Plus" trended in the U.S. more than "Game of Thrones" this year. Google released its annual analysis of the top trending search terms around the world, and the term that topped the list in the U.S. was Disney's month-old streaming service, Disney+. (CNBC)