Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise, Buttigieg's big endorsement and Boeing's new CEO



U.S. stock futures were pointing to a Wall Street rebound this morning that would erase most of Friday's losses, ahead of this week's signing of a U.S.-China phase one trade deal. The major averages set record intraday highs early in Friday's session, with the Dow topping 29,000 for the first time, but then slid the rest of the day to finish lower. Nonetheless, the S&P 500 has posted weekly gains in six of the past seven weeks, while the Nasdaq is up for five straight weeks. (CNBC)

* U.S.-China trade war taking a toll, but a minor one: Much of economy unscathed (WSJ)

No major economic reports are due today, but three Fed officials are set to make public appearances during trading hours: Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari. Meanwhile, no earnings reports are on today's calendar. (CNBC)

Boeing's (BA) new Chief Executive David Calhoun assumes the job today as the U.S. planemaker battles to recover from two fatal crashes of 737 Max planes that killed 346 people in five months and led to the model's worldwide grounding in March. Calhoun was named CEO in December after the board stripped Dennis Muilenburg of the title. (Reuters)

* Mnuchin: Boeing 737 Max crisis could slow US growth by a half point in 2020 (CNBC)


President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, NBC News reported. The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final sign-off on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

* Defense Secretary Esper 'didn't see' specific evidence of Trump claim that Iran planned embassy attacks (CNBC)

Trump expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters as they took to the streets of Tehran over the weekend, after the Islamic Republic admitted it accidentally shot down a Ukraine-bound airliner, killing all 176 people on board the Boeing aircraft. Trump also warned the Iranian government that the "world is watching."

* Iran denies shooting at protesters amid fury over downing of passenger plane (Reuters)

The U.S. has reportedly reached out to North Korea to restart diplomatic talks that stalled last October. Washington wants to get negotiations with Pyongyang "back on track" and implement leader Kim Jong Un's "commitment" to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, White House national security advisor Robert O'Brien told Axios. (CNBC)

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was endorsed by veteran Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, just three weeks before the party's nominating contest begins in Iowa on Feb. 3. Sen. Bernie Sanders gained the support of an influential labor union in New Hampshire, which holds the second primary contest. (Reuters)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is set to hold talks today with Prince Harry for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, unveiled their controversial plan to walk away from royal roles, a dramatic family summit meant to chart a future course for the couple. Harry and Meghan announced last week they wanted to "step back" as senior royals. (AP)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking for a female "life partner" to accompany him on Space X's maiden tourist voyage to the Moon. Meanwhile, Maezawa is due to announce which of his Twitter followers will receive a share of the $9 million he promised to give away as part of a social experiment. (BBC and CNBC's Make It)


Ford (F) sales in China fell 26.1% in 2019, marking the third consecutive year of sales declines in that country. Sales had fallen 37% in 2018 and 6% in 2017. Ford did say its market share in the premium segment stabilized during the year.

Boeing suppliers Hexcel (HXL) and Woodward (WWD) announced plans for an all-stock merger. Woodward shareholders will own about 55% of the combined company while Hexcel stockholders would own the rest.

Newmont Goldcorp (NEM) was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at B Riley FBR, which expects the mining company to outperform its large-cap gold peers.

General Electric (GE) was named a "catalyst call" buy at Deutsche Bank, which thinks GE could post a better than expected fourth quarter as well as upbeat guidance when it issues its next earnings report on Jan. 29.

IBM (IBM) was downgraded to "in line" from "outperform" at Evercore ISI, pointing to macro headwinds as well as market circumstances that set up a difficult first half of 2020.

The Peugeot family reportedly plans to raise the 6.2% stake it will have in the planned combination of Peugeot parent PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) as soon as possible.

Teladoc Health (TDOC) will acquire privately held InTouch Health for $600 million, in a combination of virtual health care companies.


Fresh off its Golden Globes best dramatic picture win, "1917" dominated the box office during its opening weekend with a $36.5 million haul. "1917" is expected to earn nominations in best picture in the drama category and best director at the Academy Awards as well as best cinematography, among other nods. (CNBC)

Correction: This article has been updated to give the correct year for when Ford sales in China fell 37%. It was in 2018.