Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street set to continue its record run

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures rose Friday, one day after the Nasdaq closed at a record high. The Dow and S&P 500 also closed Thursday at records. Both benchmarks were tracking for weekly gains despite Monday's sharp drops, the first negative starts to a new year since 2016. The Nasdaq was also solidly higher for the week as Wall Street powered higher over the past two days despite Wednesday's deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol and its fallout. (CNBC)

* Traders mull the disconnect between Washington and Wall Street (CNBC)

Job creation came to a halt in December as Covid-19 restrictions brought on by surging cases hammered virus-sensitive industries. The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000; the first monthly decline since April. That compared to expectations for a 50,000-position increase. (CNBC)

The nation's unemployment rate last month was unchanged at 6.7%, slightly better than the 6.8% estimate. In December, employment in leisure and hospitality was crushed, with positions declining by 498,000. The 10-year Treasury yield remained above 1% after the disappointing jobs data. Overall jobs growth in November was revised strongly higher to 336,000.

Bitcoin, which topped $40,000 on Thursday for the first time ever, passed $41,000 on Friday. The world's largest cryptocurrency has been up more than 30% in the first days of 2021 and 400% over the past 12 months. The value of the entire crypto market, which is made up of bitcoin and other digital coins, topped $1 trillion Thursday for the first time. (CNBC Pro)

* Bitcoin rally FOMO has retail investors flocking to crypto (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) shares marched higher in Friday's premarket after rising 10 sessions in a row, surpassing Facebook in market value, and making CEO Elon Musk the world's richest person. Thursday's increase in Tesla's share price pushed Musk past Amazon's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos, who had been the richest person since 2017. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump late Thursday admitted, for the first time in his own words, despite vowing never to concede, that a "new administration will be inaugurated" on Jan. 20. In a nearly three-minute video, posted after his Twitter lockout ended, Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name. It came a day after the outgoing president sparked the riot that saw a mob breach the U.S. Capitol in protest of the election. (CNBC)

* Federal prosecutor doesn't rule out charging Trump for inciting Capitol riot (CNBC)
* White House fires State Department official who said Trump 'entirely unfit to remain in office' (CNBC)

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are calling for Trump's removal, accusing him of inciting "insurrection." Schumer said that if Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet do not move to invoke the 25th Amendment, Congress should reconvene to impeach Trump. Pelosi said Congress "may be prepared" to impeach Trump if executive branch officials do not act. (CNBC)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the Cabinet secretaries who discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, three sources told CNBC. They determined the process of elevating Pence to the presidency could take more than a week, diluting its effects.

* Two Cabinet members, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, resign (CNBC)
* Ex-Attorney General Barr blasts Trump for orchestrating mob, calls it 'betrayal of his office' (CNBC)

Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday, a day after clashing with a pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol. Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police force in 2008, is the fifth person to die from Wednesday's violent clash, including Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and ardent Trump supporter who embraced conspiracy theories. (NBC News)

* Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob (AP)

The violence at the U.S. Capitol is intensifying scrutiny over security at Biden's inauguration, which has already been reshaped by a pandemic. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths from the Capitol's West Front, one of the locations where a violent mob overpowered police and stormed the building. (AP)

The U.S. had its first day of over 4,000 deaths from Covid-19. In the single worst day of the pandemic Thursday, 4,085 people died from the virus. The latest coronavirus surge saw record seven-day averages of new daily infections and deaths running at 228,497 and 2,764, respectively. As of Thursday, the number of people hospitalized with Covid fell slightly from Wednesday's record high levels. (JHU & Covid Tracking Project)

A coronavirus vaccine developed by U.S.-based Pfizer (PFE) and Germany's BioNTech (BNTX) appears to be effective against a key mutation in the more infectious variants of the coronavirus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa. The research by Pfizer has not been peer reviewed. The World Health Organization said last month that health authorities were "urgently investigating" whether the virus mutation affects vaccine performance. (CNBC)

* Moderna coronavirus vaccine becomes the third approved for use in the UK (CNBC)
* EU agrees new Pfizer Covid vaccine deal and secures nearly half its annual output (CNBC)
* Israel’s Covid vaccine rollout is the fastest in the world. Here are some lessons (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Micron Technology (MU): Micron reported quarterly earnings of 78 cents per share, 7 cents a share above estimates. The chipmaker's revenue also topped Wall Street forecasts. Micron gave upbeat current-quarter guidance, saying that the market for dynamic random access memory chips (DRAM) appears to have bottomed and is on the rebound. Micron's shares rose 3.5% in the premarket.

Boeing (BA): Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department, in which it admits employees misled regulators about safety issues that preceded two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max jet.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT): Sarepta said its gene therapy treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy did not meet one of its main goals in a study, sending the shares plunging 47% in premarket trading.

Apple (AAPL): South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor is walking back earlier confirmation of electric car talks with Apple, saying it was in talks with "potential partners" while removing references to Apple. Its comments follow reports that the two companies were discussing a joint venture involving electric cars and batteries. Apple shares rose 1.2% in the pemarket.

SolarWinds (SWI): SolarWinds — the IT management software company that was victimized by hackers in a widespread breach — has hired a new consulting firm run by former U.S. cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs and former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos.

Niu Technologies (NIU): Niu shares are rising in the premarket after the China-based electric scooter maker reported a more than 40% jump in fourth-quarter sales compared to a year earlier.

PriceSmart (PSMT): PriceSmart reported quarterly earnings of 90 cents per share, beating the 68 cents a share consensus estimate. The shopping warehouse club operator's revenue came in above estimates as well. Sales rose more than 8% as customers continued to stock up on staples amid the pandemic.

F5 Networks (FFIV): F5 Networks announced the acquisition of privately-held cloud software company Volterra for $500 million. The networking technology company also raised its long-term financial targets.

Goodyear Tire (GT): The tire maker was upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" at KeyBanc, which sees better-than-expected sales as well as profit margin expansion for Goodyear. The company's shares rose 4% in the premarket.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): The business analytics company continues to see its stock rise as its bitcoin holdings surge in value. MicroStrategy made more than $1 billion in bitcoin purchases during 2020. MicroStrategy shares climbed 6.7% in premarket trading.

DR Horton (DHI): The home builder was upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC Capital Markets, saying the company was well-positioned to capitalize on continued strength in the new housing market. The company's shares were up 1.3% in the premarket.