Morning Brief

What to watch today: S&P 500 futures turn positive after sinking overnight on Iran's retaliation

BY THE NUMBERS

S&P 500 futures turned higher this morning, coming back from overnight lows of more than 1.6% after Iran retaliated for the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general. International oil prices initially surged 4%. But like stocks, crude steadied as the Iranian attacks were less than feared. (CNBC)

The direction of the Dow, which closed lower Tuesday on concerns about rising U.S.-Iranian tensions before the airstrikes, could be swayed by the ADP's December report on private sector employment this morning. The government issues its monthly employment report on Friday. (CNBC)

* Weekly mortgage applications fell in final weeks of 2019, but homebuyers were out shopping (CNBC)

Constellation Brands (STZ), Lennar (LEN), and Dow stock Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are out with quarterly earnings this morning. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Helen of Troy (HELE) are among the companies releasing numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

There are no reports of any U.S. service members being hurt after Iran last night launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against multiple bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. President Donald Trump tweeted: "All is well!" He plans to make a statement this morning. (CNBC)

* Iran supreme leader says missile attack was a 'slap on the face' for US but it 'wasn't enough' (CNBC)
* World leaders call for calm after Iranian attack on US forces (CNBC)
* Saudi Aramco shares hit lowest point since market debut as US-Iran hostilities escalate (CNBC)
* Airlines avoid Iranian airspace, cancel flights as Mideast tensions spike (CNBC)

A Boeing (BA) 737-800 passenger jet, not the grounded Max, operated by a Ukrainian airline crashed minutes after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday morning. There were no survivors. Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 had 167 passengers and nine crew members on board. (CNBC)

United Airlines (UAL) will take a $90 million charge against fourth-quarter earnings, due to Hong Kong disruptions from ongoing anti-government protests. United said the protests have reduced demand for travel to Hong Kong. (Reuters)

Fugitive ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's lawyers attacked the auto maker this morning, before he was scheduled to hold a highly-anticipated news conference, accusing Nissan of using a "flawed, biased" internal probe to engineer his arrest. (Reuters)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Senate Republicans are prepared to move forward on a Trump impeachment trial without agreeing first to rules about witnesses and without any Democratic votes. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) and eBay (EBAY) have removed hundreds of groups and accounts engaged in trading fake reviews, after the U.K. antitrust regulator flagged concerns over them in June. (CNBC)

Apple's (AAPL) App Store platform grossed around $50 billion in 2019, according to analysis by CNBC. But growth is slowing. However, at $50 billion in annual sales App Store alone would be No. 64 on the Fortune 500, ahead of Cisco and behind Morgan Stanley.

Baked goods, candies or other cannabis-infused edibles may not be as safe as people think, especially for first-time users, children and the elderly, according to a new paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. (CNBC)

* US cancer death rate drops by largest amount on record (WSJ)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Luckin Coffee (LK) announced a secondary offering of 7.2 million American depositary shares. Additionally, a shareholder of the China-based coffee chain is offering 4.8 million American depositary shares for sale. Separately, Luckin is expanding into vending machines to increase its share of the China market.

Alibaba (BABA) is undercutting Amazon (AMZN) in Europe by offering lower fees for sellers, according to sources who spoke to Reuters. The sources say the move by the China-based online retailer has had mixed results.

Macy's (M) has cut 70-plus workers at its Bloomingdale's chain and plans to announce larger layoffs in February, according to a report in Women's Wear Daily. The moves are said to be part of the retailer's restructuring plan.

WATERCOOLER

The Cowboys plan to introduce Mike McCarthy as the ninth coach in franchise history today. The former Green Bay Packers coach agreed to a deal with the organization Monday to be the next Dallas head coach. (USA Today)