BY THE NUMBERS
U.S. stock futures were little changed in early trading, as investors await the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision and policy statement this afternoon. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have each fallen for the past two trading days, although all remain close to their Nov. 27 record highs.
* Gundlach says long-term rates are headed higher, Trump re-election is base case (CNBC)
The Fed is expected to conclude its December meeting this afternoon and will release its post-meeting statement at 2 p.m. ET. It’s not expected to make significant changes in its statement from its previous meeting. It will, however, release its interest rate forecast and latest economic projections at the same time, and it could show some improvement particularly after November’s increase in payrolls of 266,000. (CNBC)
Also on today’s economic calendar, the government releases the November consumer price index at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Energy Department releases its weekly oil and gasoline inventory numbers at 10:30 a.m. ET. American Eagle (AEO), Children’s Place (PLCE) and Vera Bradley (VRA) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, while Lululemon (LULU) and Tailored Brands (TLRD) release quarterly numbers after the bell. (CNBC)
* Refinance boom pushes weekly mortgage applications higher (CNBC)
Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest initial public offering, surged past expectations as it debuted on the country’s stock exchange this morning. Shares of the state-owned oil company rose 10%, giving it a valuation of $1.88 trillion and makes it the largest listed company in the world, comfortably ahead of Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL). (CNBC)
Chevron (CVX) will take a $10 billion to $11 billion charge this quarter to write down the value of its assets, due to lower commodity prices caused by a supply glut. The energy giant is also considering selling some natural gas projects. Chevron expects writedowns related to a deepwater Gulf of Mexico project and shale gas in Appalachia. (Reuters)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Edward Pierson, a former Boeing employee who raised concerns about 737 production, will testify today at a House hearing on the FAA’s review of the grounded 737 Max. The aircraft was pulled in March after two fatal crashes in five months of each other killed 346 people. (Reuters)
House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, declaring he “betrayed the nation” with his actions toward Ukraine. Voting is expected in a matter of days by the Judiciary Committee, which begins deliberations today, and by Christmas in the full House. (AP)
* White House will wait for Senate trial to address impeachment charges (Reuters)
* Trump mocks impeachment effort, talks up trade deal at rally (AP)
Attorney General William Barr said that he still believes that FBI operated in “bad faith” in its investigation of possible Russian coordination with Trump’s 2016 campaign, a day after the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found no evidence of political bias in the opening of the probe. (CNBC)
Entrepreneur and 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang has qualified for the next Democratic debate a week from tomorrow. Yang will former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and billionaire Tom Steyer. Notably, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t meet the DNC’s donor requirement to qualify for the debate. (NY Times)
* Buttigieg discloses ex-clients as fundraising swing begins (AP)
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she plans to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing plan, urging House Democratic leaders to take a more progressive stand on high health-care costs. The House is expected to vote this week on Pelosi’s bill, a sweeping proposal that would allow the U.S. government to negotiate lower prices on the costliest drugs each year. (CNBC)
* Investors fear Pelosi’s drug price plan will kill small biotech firms (CNBC)
Trump will sign an executive order today targeting antisemitism on college campuses. The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government’s definition of antisemitism and instruct it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses. (AP)
This year is on track to see the highest number of CEO departures on record. In November, 148 chief executives left their posts, and only five more need to depart for 2019 reach the record. Alphabet, United Airlines, Expedia and SoulCycle are just a few of the companies that lost CEOs in recent weeks, continuing the record-setting pace of exits this year. (CNBC)
Amazon’s (AMZN) minority investment into the food delivery service Deliveroo “raises competition concerns” and may require further investigation. The U.S. tech giant led a $575 million funding round for the London-based start-up earlier this year. (CNBC)
General Motors (GM) unveiled new versions of its highly-profitable Chevrolet full-size SUVs last night that are larger, more tech-advanced and offer a wider range of choices for customers. Profits from the vehicles are viewed as keys to assisting the automaker in funding its plans for autonomous and all-electric vehicles. (CNBC)
Gerrit Cole, the top free agent pitcher on the market, is headed to the New York Yankees, according to reports. Once official, Cole’s nine-year, $324 million contract will be the fourth largest deal in MLB history. The deal comes a day after the Washington Nationals announced a contract for 2019 World Series Most Valuable Player Stephen Strasburg, a seven-year deal valued at $245 million. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Shares of GameStop (GME) was tanked as much as 20% during extended trading after the video game retailer reported a large third-quarter earnings miss. The company cited the “unprecedented decline in new hardware sales seen across the market” as consumers await the release of next-generation gaming consoles.
Dropbox (DBX) announced that Chief Customer Officer Yamini Rangan will step down. She will remain with the cloud storage company until Jan. 3 to assist with the transition.
Activist investor Starboard Value has nominated a slate of directors at health care services company Mednax, according to the Wall Street Journal, and is pushing the company to explore a sale.
AT&T (T) has entered into an accelerated $4 billion share repurchase program, with the goal of retiring 100 million shares during the first quarter of 2020.
IHOP is launching its first fast-casual restaurant in Atlanta next year. The Dine Brands’ chain will launch Flip’d by IHOP, which is half the size of a typical IHOP, in April. IHOP is also exploring additional sites in New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and San Francisco. (CNBC)