U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher Wall Street open on Friday after the S&P 500 closed above 3,200 for the first time ever, pushing 2019 gains to nearly 28%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq also finished Thursday at record highs, with yearly advances of 21.6% and almost 34%, respecitvely. For its best year since 1997, the S&P 500 would need rise 43.76 points from Thursday's close to 3249.13. The Federal Reserve's favorite inflation measure is out at 10 a.m. ET. The core personal consumption expenditures price index for November is expected to increase 0.1% at annual rate of 1.5%. The Fed tracks core PCE for its 2% inflation target. (After this edition, "5 things to know before the stock market opens" goes on holiday hiatus and returns on Dec. 30.)
The new North American trade deal, a major economic priority of President Donald Trump, is expected to be approved by the Senate next year. The House passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday, ending a more than yearlong grind to iron out Democratic concerns about the pact. The exact timing of the Senate vote remains up in the air as the GOP leadership tries to figure out when the chamber is going to hold the Trump impeachment trial. However, the Senate did pass on Thursday two spending bills to prevent a government shutdown. The president needs to sign the bills by Friday to keep federal departments running.
A question about the House impeachment of Trump kicked off Thursday's night's Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles. Six out of seven candidates on stage — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire Tom Steyer — focused on what they described as the president's corruption. Only entrepreneur Andrew Yang broke with his rivals, saying Democrats must stop focusing on Trump and try to explain how they will make life better for the American voter. Biden remains the front-runner in national surveys, though Buttigieg has recently surged in first contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Boeing's Starliner has not achieved proper orbit, jeopardizing its trip to the International Space Station. However, NASA said the space capsule is in a stable orbit. The unmanned Starliner launched at 6:36 a.m. ET on Friday from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Both Boeing and SpaceX, Elon Musk's private space venture, have been developing capsules for NASA's Commercial Crew program. In 2014, NASA awarded contracts to Boeing for up to $4.2 billion and SpaceX for up to $2.6 billion. Issues with Starliner come as Boeing grapples with the fallout from two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max commercial jets and the worldwide grounding of the entire fleet.
Dow stock Nike was slipping about 1.5% in the premarket Thursday after hitting an all-time high during Wednesday's regular trading session. After-the-bell, Nike reported quarterly earnings and sales that beat expectations, as more customers flocked to its stores for limited-edition Jordan sneakers and ordered athletic apparel from its website. The company said its Jordan brand had its first ever billion-dollar quarter. "I've never been more optimistic about the future of this company," said outgoing CEO Mark Parker, who steps down in January. Parker will then become Nike's executive chairman. John Donahoe, a current Nike board member and outgoing ServiceNow CEO, takes over for Parker in 2020. Donahoe was also formerly the CEO of eBay.