Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to drop, Trump threatens Iraq sanctions, and Weinstein trial begins


U.S. stock futures are pointing to another sharply lower Wall Street open following the market's worst day in a month, as investors and traders continue to monitor tensions with Iran. The rising concerns are weighing on stock markets around the world, and sending investors flocking to safe havens like the Japanese yen and gold. The Friday sell-off sent the Dow and S&P 500 into modestly negative territory for the week, ending a five-week win streak for the S&P and a three-week streak for the Dow. (CNBC)

Additionally, international oil prices rose a further 1.5% on Monday, pushing Brent briefly above $70 a barrel, as rhetoric from the U.S., Iran and Iraq fanned tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian military commander. The region accounts for nearly half of the world's oil production, while a fifth of the world's oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. oil prices were higher too. (Reuters)

No U.S. economic reports are on today's schedule, although the calendar will get busy later in the week and culminate in Friday's December employment report. Meanwhile, Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), the nation's largest egg producer, reports quarterly earnings this morning. (CNBC)

Several Wall Street firms raised their price targets on Apple (AAPL), including Evercore to $315 per share and Needham to $350. However, Needham actually downgraded its rating on Apple to a buy from a strong buy due to the stock surpassing the firm's previous price target. Apple shares closed Friday at $297, and are under pressure in the premarket, though only a few points off Thursday's all-time highs.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will introduce and vote on a war powers resolution this week to limit President Donald Trump's military actions regarding Iran. Democrats have complained that Trump did not notify lawmakers or seek advance approval before carrying out a U.S. airstrike on Baghdad that killed Iran's Qassem Soleimani on Friday. (CNBC)

* China calls for restraint, urges US to seek dialogue with Iran instead of 'force' (CNBC)
* Iran will no longer abide by uranium enrichment limits under 2015 nuclear deal (CNBC)
* Huge crowds in Iran for Soleimani's funeral (Reuters)

The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for the government to expel foreign troops from the country in the wake of the airstrike. Trump later threatened to slap sanctions on Iraq after the resolution passed. "If they do ask us to leave, if we don't do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before ever," he said. (CNBC)

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he wants the Republican-led Senate to launch an impeachment trial of Trump within days and wrap it up this month, even if it means changing Senate rules. The Democratic-led House voted last month to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstructing the House's impeachment probe. (Reuters)

* Lincoln Chafee files to run for president as Libertarian (AP)
* Three swing-district Democrats back Joe Biden's presidential bid (Reuters)

Boeing (BA) and the FAA confirmed they are reviewing a wiring issue that could potentially cause a short circuit on the grounded 737 Max. The New York Times first reported Boeing is reviewing whether two bundles of wiring are too close together, which could lead to a short circuit and potentially result in a crash if pilots did not respond appropriately. (Reuters)

McDonald's (MCD) new CEO is determined to make changes at the top to move the company away from a culture that tolerated partying and fraternizing between some senior managers and rank-and-file employees. That's according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Australia's government said today it is committing an extra $1.4 billion to help communities recover from deadly wildfires that have ravaged the country. Nationwide, at least 24 people have been killed and 2,000 homes destroyed by the blazes, which have so far scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. (AP)

The rape trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein begins this week. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York. He faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. In all, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. (Reuters)

The Dallas Cowboys will not retain head coach Jason Garrett after 10 seasons, GM Jerry Jones said. Garrett's five-year contract, which is valued at $30 million, expires Jan. 14, as rumors have been swirling about the Cowboys possibly hiring college coach Urban Meyer, who last coached Ohio State in 2018. (CNBC)


Exxon Mobil (XOM) will see fourth-quarter operating results decline from a year ago. Exxon sees a loss in its chemicals unit and a sharply lower operating profit in refining. The energy giant is due to report fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 31.

Axon's (AAXN) already-completed acquisition of rival Vievu is being challenged by the FTC, which said the deal allowed the maker of Taser stun guns and body camera systems to increase prices substantially.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) signed a deal to sell about half its real estate to private equity firm Oak Street Real Estate Capital and then lease it back, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said the deal would generate more than $250 million for the troubled home goods retailer.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) is planning more store closures and cost cuts, along with plans to cut its debt load, according to a Bloomberg report.

Nordstrom (JWN) was upgraded to "neutral" from "underweight" at J.P. Morgan Chase, which cites valuation while increasing its price target on the stock to $41 per share from $26.

Alphabet (GOOGL) was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Pivotal Research, which expects that the stock will outperform its peers. Pivotal also raised its price target on the Google parent's stock to $1,650 per share from $1,445.

One Medical, a chain of primary care clinics that touts a "technology-powered model" and has raised money from Alphabet (GOOGL), just filed to go public on the Nasdaq. (CRM) was upgraded to "top pick" from "outperform" at RBC Capital, while doing the reverse regarding shares of customer service software company ServiceNow (NOW).


Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" won in the comedy or musical category as well as earned the director and writer a best screenplay award at last night's Golden Globes. Sam Mendes' "1917" earned the drama category's top prize and he took home the Globe for best director. Meanwhile, Laika Entertainment's "Missing Link" won the prize for best animated feature, upsetting Disney and Universal. (CNBC)

* 6 must-see moments including host Ricky Gervais' scorching monologue (USA Today)