Morning Brief

What to watch today: Jobs Friday, 'Damning' Boeing messages and Trump hints at phase-two delay

BY THE NUMBERS

Barring any negative surprises in this morning's December employment report, more records are indicated at the Wall Street open. U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open for the week's final session, following record closes Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The Nasdaq is on track for a fifth consecutive week of gains, while the S&P 500 is on pace for its sixth weekly gain in seven weeks. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the Department of Labor's jobs report is out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Investors will also be watching to see how wages change to get a sense of how healthy the labor market is. The government is out with November wholesale inventories at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, no quarterly earnings are on today's calendar. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Boeing (BA) employees boasted about bullying regulators to approve the now-grounded 737 Max without requiring pilots to undergo simulator training while others raised safety concerns and complained about lax standards. The contents of the internal messages present a fresh crisis for Boeing, which is struggling to regain its reputation after two fatal crashes. (CNBC)

An Iranian surface-to-air missile brought down a Boeing passenger plane bound for Kyiv, Ukraine, shortly after takeoff from Tehran this week, killing all 176 people on board, officials from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. said. But Iran on Friday denied allegations of the missile strike and asked for the U.S. and Canada to share any new information. (CNBC & AP)

* House passes resolution to limit Trump's war powers against Iran (CNBC)
* Iraqi prime minister tells US to decide mechanism for troop withdrawal (AP)

President Donald Trump may not reach the second part of a trade pact with China until after the 2020 election. The president said his administration will start "right away" negotiating the next piece of an agreement after striking a so-called phase one deal, which officials plan to sign Wednesday, but "it'll take a little time." (CNBC)

Trump said he would support witnesses testifying in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, as long as it meant his legal team could summon Adam Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and the anonymous whistleblower whose 2019 complaint sparked the probe that ended in Trump's impeachment. (CNBC)

* Pelosi stands firm on Trump impeachment articles: 'I'll send them over when I'm ready' (CNBC)

As 2020 presidential hopefuls swarm early primary and caucus states, polls suggest at least four Democratic candidates have a real shot to claim the race's first two prizes. Polls show virtual ties in both Iowa and New Hampshire, with Bernie Sanders, Biden and Pete Buttigieg leading the pack, and Elizabeth Warren not far behind. (CNBC)

* Andrew Yang's staff become latest campaign workers to unionize (CNBC)

Buttigieg unveiled a trillion dollar infrastructure plan today, pledging to direct federal funds to state and local governments to revitalize the nation's transport networks, clean water supply and broadband internet. The plan will be paid for by reforming the capital gains tax and repealing the 2017 GOP tax overhaul, and raising the estate tax, with a top rate of 65% for billionaires. (CNBC)

Billionaire Democratic candidate Tom Steyer unveiled today an immigration proposal seeking to make immigrants fleeing the effects of climate change eligible for legal entry into the U.S. Steyer wants to establish new categories of legal U.S. immigration to ensure that refugees fleeing the effects of rising seas and climate-related disasters abroad can enter the U.S. legally. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Deepak Ahuja, a former Tesla (TSLA) executive who spent two stints at the electric-car maker and helped take it public, is joining Alphabet's (GOOGL) Verily as its CFO.

Shares of Grubhub plunged in the premarket after it denied reports that the online food delivery company was considering a possible sale or acquisition.

Amazon (AMZN) is in talks to sell some of its ad inventory on services other than its own Fire TV platform, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Shares of Urban Outfitters (URBN) fell over 9% in early trading after the retailer reported falling holiday sales and warned of weaker margins.

Synnex (SNX) plans to split into two separate publicly traded companies, with the IT solutions company expecting the split to be completed in the second half of this year. The announcement came at the same time Synnex reported its latest quarterly earnings, which came in above analyst forecasts.

NortonLifeLock (NLOK) declared a $12 per share special dividend, representing a return of more than $8 billion to shareholders in the cybersecurity company. The company said the payout would let it reach its goal of returning more than 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of its enterprise security business to Broadcom (AVGO).

KB Home (KBH) reported quarterly earnings of $1.31 per share, 2 cents above estimates, but the home builder's revenue came in below Wall Street forecasts. Orders came in above forecasts, but the average sale price was slightly lower.

WATERCOOLER

Frito-Lay is bringing Cheetos Popcorn to the market in two flavors: Cheddar and Flamin' Hot. "We've seen the way Cheetos lovers don their red- and orange-dusted fingers like a badge of honor, and we're always looking for ways to help them step up their snacking game," a company spokeswoman said.