Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to rise after first U.S. omicron case sparked a sell-off


Dow futures rose more than 200 points Thursday, giving up some larger earlier gains. Nasdaq futures turned lower as Apple dropped 3% in the premarket. Bloomberg reports that the tech giant, which snapped a two-day winning streak Wednesday, has told its component suppliers that iPhone 13 demand has weakened. Also before the bell, weekly jobless claims showed a lower-than-expected rise to 222,000 after the prior week's downwardly revised 194,000, the lowest level in more than five decades. (CNBC)

* Oil rises as investors focus on OPEC+ decision as Omicron fears mount (Reuters)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a near 1,000-point swing Wednesday following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmation of the first case of the Covid omicron variant in the U.S. The Dow was up 520 points at Wednesday's highs but closed off 461 points, or more than 1.3%, for its second down session in a row and the third since Friday's 2.5% omicron-driven plunge. The Dow which was 6.6% away from its Nov. 8 record close. (CNBC)

The House reached a deal on a short-term government funding bill that would prevent a shutdown before a Friday deadline. The measure would fund the government at current levels through Feb. 18. The House could vote on the legislation Thursday. Both chambers of Congress need to pass a spending bill by Friday to prevent a lapse in funding. (CNBC)

Dow stock Boeing (BA) rose 4.4% after China's aviation regulator cleared the Boeing 737 Max to return to flying on Thursday. That model was grounded for more than two years worldwide after two fatal crashes. Boeing described the directive as an "important milestone" toward the return of service in China. (Reuters)


The Biden administration is tightening travel rules to and within the U.S., requiring all in-bound international passengers to test for Covid within 24 hours of their departures and extending mask requirements on all domestic flights and public transportation through March 18. The changes, announced Thursday, were part of a broader Covid-fighting plan. (CNBC)

President Joe Biden on Thursday asked businesses to voluntarily move forward with the administration's Covid vaccine and testing requirements, even as the rules face court challenges. The Justice Department last week asked the U.S. Appeals Court for the 6th Circuit to immediately reinstate the vaccination and testing requirements. (CNBC)

Lab tests and a study on hamsters of the antibody-based Covid therapy that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is developing with U.S. partner Vir (VIR) has indicated the drug is effective against the new Omicron variant, the British drugmaker said Thursday. (Reuters)

Two days after stepping down as Twitter CEO on Monday, Square (SQ) CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday that the other company he co-founded was changing its corporate name to Block, effective Dec. 10, to reflect its crypto and blockchain aspirations beyond its smartphone credit card reader. Block will still trade under the ticker SQ on the New York Stock Exchange. (CNBC)

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement officially expired at midnight Thursday, and team owners voted to lock out players after failing to reach a new deal. It's the first work stoppage since a player strike in 1994 that lasted 232 days and saw the World Series canceled that year. (CNBC)

The Supreme Court's conservative majority on Wednesday appeared poised to side with Mississippi in its bid to uphold a 15-week abortion ban, a directly challenge of the abortion rights precedent established by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed by the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992. (CNBC)

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by late sex criminal and financier Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has testified that Epstein took her to meet Donald Trump, long before he was president, at his Florida club when she was 14 years old. The woman, in testimony at Maxwell's federal sex crimes trial, did not allege any improper conduct by Trump. (CNBC)

Actor Alec Baldwin said he did not pull the trigger on the gun he was holding before a live bullet struck and killed a cinematographer and injured a director on the set of "Rust," according to an excerpt from an "ABC News" interview released on Wednesday. Baldwin said he does not know how a live bullet wound up on the set of the Western.

Susan Arnold is taking over as Disney's (DIS) board chair. She'll succeed Bob Iger, who stepped down as Disney CEO early last year. Iger, who served as chairman since 2012, is set to leave the position effective Dec. 31. Arnold has been on Disney's board for 14 years and has served as the independent lead director since 2018. (CNBC)

Dollar General (DG) fell 1.7% after the company revealed plans to open 1,000 Popshelf stores by the end of the 2025 fiscal year. The vision for Popshelf, aimed at wealthier suburban shoppers, was announced a year ago. There are currently 30 Popshelf stores in six states. (CNBC)


Snowflake (SNOW) jumped more than 14% after the company reported quarterly results that beat revenue estimates. The cloud data platform provider also reported sales of $334 million during the third quarter, which exceeded the $306 million expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Okta (OKTA) added 2.5% following the company's quarterly results. The identity company brought in a quarterly loss of 7 cents per share, which is narrower than the 24 cents per share loss estimated by analysts. It also beat revenue estimates and issued fourth-quarter guidance above estimates.

Signet Jewelers (SIG) gained about 3% in the premarket after the company posted a better-than-expected earnings report. Signet notched a profit of $1.43 per share, 71 cents higher than the Refinitiv consensus estimate. Revenue also came in higher than projected. Signet raised its fiscal 2022 guidance.

Five Below (FIVE) gained more than 9% after reporting quarterly results that beat on both earnings and revenue. It also reported an increase in comparable-store sales of 14.8%, smashing the estimates of 5.3%, according to Refinitiv.

Lands' End (LE) sank more than 14% in early morning trading after reporting lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue of $375.8 million. Lands' End earned 22 cents per share, in line with projections. The company also issued fourth-quarter earnings and revenue guidance below expectations.


It looks like almost nothing is safe from inflation this year, and that extends to the gifts your true love might get you for the 12 days of Christmas. PNC's annual Christmas price index estimates the grand total at $41,205.58, an increase of 5.7% from 2019. (CNBC Acorns)