After the signing of the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal, stock futures were pointing to gains strong enough to put the Dow Jones Industrial Average at all-time highs at Thursday's open on Wall Street. The Dow on Wednesday closed above 29,000 for the first time ever. The S&P 500 also finished at a record but the Nasdaq's advance was just short of a record. This week's flood of bank earnings continued before the bell, with Morgan Stanley reporting fourth-quarter profit and revenue that blew away estimates. Thursday's economic calendar is also packed with December retail sales and the Philadelphia Fed's January manufacturing index out Thursday morning.
President Donald Trump, who signed the "phase one" trade deal with China, said U.S. tariffs will remain unless the two sides can reach a new agreement. "In other words, we're negotiating with the tariffs," Trump said at Wednesday's signing ceremony at the White House. In the initial deal, China agreed to purchase an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years and to crack down on intellectual property protections and what the U.S. considers the forced transfer of American technologies. The U.S. gave China some tariff relief.
The president signed the China trade deal as the House prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. The House did indeed vote Wednesday to shift the Trump impeachment to the upper chamber for trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he thinks the impeachment trial could begin as soon as Tuesday. Seven House Democrats were named to serve as impeachment managers in the Senate trial. The 100 senators, in turn, will act as jurors. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to remove Trump from office.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar before a national television audience during a tense, post-debate exchange in which she refused to shake his outstretched hand, according to audio released by CNN. The Democratic presidential rivals are strong progressives who had steadfastly refused to attack each other for more than a year on the campaign trail. But that changed Monday, when Warren said that, during a private meeting between the two in 2018, Sanders disagreed with her that a woman could win the presidency.
Shares of Tesla, which have more than doubled since late September, were dropping about 4% in premarket trading. Morgan Stanley lowered its rating on Tesla stock to the equivalent of a sell Thursday, saying it thinks investors will be presented with a better chance to buy the stock in the future at a lower price. Separately, Tesla's overall vehicle registrations were cut nearly half in California during the fourth quarter as a tax credit for buyers of Tesla's electric vehicles ended in 2019.