Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to drop on tech weakness, a day after strength in the sector

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures fell Friday as two old-guard tech components, Intel and IBM, came under heavy pressure after releasing quarterly results. During the regular trading session, tech strength, particularly from Apple, led the Nasdaq to another record high close. The S&P 500 eked out another record close , while the Dow just closed slightly lower after Wednesday's record high close. (CNBC)

* Trading volume is up so far from 2020′s breakneck pace (CNBC)

Bitcoin tumbled below $30,000 late Thursday as the world's biggest cryptocurrency continued its 2021 slide after quadrupling in value last year. Bitcoin has dropped more than 30% since peaking at an all-time high of $41,940 earlier this month. The latest plunge, which comes without any clear reason, underscores the volatility in the digital currency. (CNBC)

Shares of IBM (IBM) fell 7% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the company reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue of $20.37 billion. Software sales declined as pandemic-induced uncertainty kept some customers from striking long-term deals. IBM's adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.07 per share did beat estimates. (CNBC)

Intel (INTC) said it released quarterly results earlier than expected, minutes before Thursday's market close, because an infographic got out. Intel shares closed the regular session nearly 6.5% higher after earnings and revenue beat estimates. But after hours, the stock fell about 4% after incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger said the majority of the chipmaker's 2023 products will be made in house rather than outsourced. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the National Association of Realtors is out with existing home sales for December at 10 a.m. ET, with forecasts calling for a 2% drop to an annual rate of 6.55 million units. Sales of previously owned homes fell 2.5% in November. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Joe Biden on Friday plans to sign two executive orders to provide stopgap financial relief to millions of Americans while lawmakers begin to consider his massive $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus package. The orders will increase food aid, protect job seekers on unemployment and clear a path for federal workers and contractors to get a $15 hourly minimum wage. (AP)

* Biden already faces pressure to scale back Covid relief plan (CNBC)

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday, at his first White House press briefing in months, that he feels liberated that he can "let the science speak" under the Biden administration. Fauci added he took "no pleasure" in contradicting some of former President Donald Trump's claims. (CNBC)

New data shows that Covid vaccines may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the virus, Fauci also said Thursday. Some variants identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil appear to be more transmissible but not necessarily more deadly. (CNBC)

* UK health experts have advice for the U.S. on fighting the new Covid strain (CNBC)
* J&J plans to have 100 million vaccines for Americans by spring, board member says (CNBC)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in the United States, Hollywood is once again shuffling its movie releases. On Thursday, MGM and Sony both announced that major films from their 2021 slate would be postponed. Among those titles are the latest James Bond flick "No Time to Die" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." (CNBC)

* 'Bridgerton' renewed for second season on Netflix (CNBC)
* 'Game of Thrones' prequel 'Tales of Dunk and Egg' in early development at HBO (Variety)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Trump's impeachment trial to February to give the former president time to prepare and review his case. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot have signaled they want to move quickly to trial. (CNBC)

* Capitol Police probing whether GOP Rep. Andy Harris tried to bring gun on House floor (NBC News)
* House committee asks FBI to review role of Parler in U.S. Capitol attack (Reuters)

Amazon (AMZN) won't be forced to immediately restore web service to Parler after a federal judge ruled against a plea to reinstate the fast-growing social media app, which is favored by Trump followers. The did not dismiss Parler's "substantive underlying claims" against Amazon, but said they fell short in demonstrating the need for an injunction forcing it back online. (AP)

EVgo Services has agreed to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal that values the electric vehicle charging station provider at $2.6 billion. The deal is the latest SPAC merger in the EV market, which has seen firms such as Nikola (NKLA) and Fisker (FSR) become publicly traded companies in similar fashion. (Reuters)

Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced that he's donating $100 million towards a prize for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide. Musk, who overtook Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person this month, made the announcement on Twitter late Thursday, saying he would share more details next week. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Ford (F) is recalling 3 million vehicles for an airbag-related issue, including 2.7 million in the United States. The recall involves airbag inflators that could potentially rupture. The recall will cost Ford $610 million.

Sierra Wireless (SWIR) CEO Kent Thexton plans to retire on June 30, with the IoT solutions company launching a search for his successor. Thexton became CEO of Sierra Wireless in May 2018. The stock gained nearly 10% in premarket trading.

Schlumberger (SLB), the oilfield services firm, reported quarterly earnings of 22 cents a share, beating estimates by 5 cents a share. Revenue also came in above analysts' forecasts. Schlumberger's bottom line was helped by a rebound in demand as oil prices rose, as well as cost cuts.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) reported quarterly earnings of $3.58 per share, compared to a consensus estimate of $3.12 a share. Revenue came in above estimates as well. The maker of robotic surgical systems saw a pickup in procedure volume, although it placed fewer of its systems in hospitals due to the pandemic. The shares fell nearly 2% in premarket trading as of 7:43 a.m. ET.

CSX (CSX) came in 3 cents a share above estimates, with quarterly earnings of $1.04 per share. The railroad operator's revenue beat estimates as well, helped by a 4% increase in freight volume as the economy continued to rebound.

Seagate Technology (STX) earned $1.29 per share for its fiscal second quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of $1.13 a share. The hard drive maker's revenue was above forecasts as well. Both gross and operating profit margins fell from a year ago, however. The stock dropped more than 3% in premarket trading.

Liberty Media Acquisition Corp. (LMACU) will begin trading today on the Nasdaq after pricing its IPO at $10 per share and raising $500 million. Liberty Media Acquisition is a special purpose acquisition company backed by Liberty Media.

MicroStrategy (MSTR) is under pressure in premarket trading, as its significant bitcoin holdings drop in value. The business analytics company made over $1 billion in bitcoin purchases during 2020.

PPG Industries (PPG) beat estimates by a penny a share, with quarterly profit of $1.59 per share. The paint and coatings maker's revenue came in above forecasts as well. PPG said reduced levels of driving due to the pandemic continue to weigh on its car paint business.

WATERCOOLER

A lucky lottery player could claim the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history when the next Mega Millions drawing takes place tonight. The lottery's jackpot has climbed for months without a winner, reaching $970 million for the upcoming drawing. The odds of winning that jackpot are one in 302.5 million, according to Mega Millions. (CNBC)

CNBC's Jim Cramer offered investment strategies to the owner or owners of Wednesday's winning $731 million Powerball lottery ticket. "Don't invest in anything that has any risk for the vast majority of your newfound fortune. Who needs risk when you're already rich?" the "Mad Money" host said. "No need to hit the jackpot a second time," he added. (CNBC)