Italy's parliament has approved a €20B rescue fund to prop up embattled lenders after Monte dei Paschi (OTCPK:BMDPY) said its private sector rescue plan failed to secure an anchor investor. The admission means the world's oldest bank is at the mercy of a state bailout (which could take up to three months), with any losses set to be forced onto bondholders. BMPS shares suffered a rocky session on the news.
President-elect Donald Trump has named Carl Icahn as a special adviser to help him overhaul federal regulations with the aim of promoting business growth. The particular position isn't officially a government job and Icahn won't get paid. Trump's transition team also announced that Peter Navarro, a University of California at Irvine economics professor and a frequent critic of China's trade practices, will lead a new trade council inside the White House.
Pre-market action suggests that the drive to hit 20,000 on the Dow may not happen so quickly, with thin trading expected as traders pack up for Christmas. But some of the year's final economic reports could help turn the tide for stocks, after a lackluster session on Wednesday. Today's data includes durable goods, the final Q3 GDP figure, jobless claims and personal income statistics.
German officials had deemed the Tunisian man being sought in a manhunt across Europe a threat long before a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin - and even kept Anis Amri under covert surveillance before halting the operation. The issue puts new pressure on Angela Merkel's re-election efforts, as critics lambast her for allowing hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers into the country without proper security checks.
The Constitutional Court of Korea will begin hearings on a motion to impeach President Park Geun-Hye today, a process that could take up to six months despite demands by citizens for a speedier decision. At least six of the nine judges on the court, an independent body that specializes in matters of the South Korean constitution, must approve the motion within 180 days.
Doubling its level from the start of 2016, bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) has crossed the $875 mark to record a new market cap all-time high of around $14.05B on the Bitstamp exchange. Analysts cited several reasons for the continued surge in prices, which range from a falling Chinese yuan, the increasing demonetization of cash and the recent restriction on physical assets.
It's a record, but will it be Trumped? Federal health officials are touting a record 6.4M customer sign-ups on HealthCare.gov so far this open enrollment season (not including re-enrollments and individual markets), topping last year's pace by 400K customers. Trump has said he wants to replace Obamacare after its repeal with something "better," but it's still not clear what such a replacement would look like. Related tickers: UNH, AET, ANTM, CI, HUM, WCG, CNC, MOH, GTS, HQY
Johnson & Johnson has re-entered the race to acquire Actelion (OTCPK:ALIOY) and is now in exclusive talks with the Swiss biotech firm, sidelining Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) from the bidding process. However, Actelion - which has fended off takeover attempts in the past - cautioned that there could be "no assurances" that its talks with J&J (NYSE:JNJ) would result in a deal. Actelion shares +7.5% in Zurich.
Disney is the latest media company to pursue millennials via a hookup with Snap (Private:CHAT), signing a deal to create shows for the Snapchat service. The deal with the ABC Television Group (NYSE:DIS) starts early in 2017 with a program based on The Bachelor franchise. The recap series Watch Party: The Bachelor will debut Jan. 3, a day after the ABC show begins its 21st season.
Baidu is considering listing video-streaming site iQiyi.com in either Hong Kong or the U.S. next year and could raise about $1B through the IPO, sources told WSJ. Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is planning to issue a convertible bond or similar instrument to raise funds from investors before the offering, although the size and timing are not yet clear.
Apple and Nokia have filed competing lawsuits over patents used in the iPhone and other Apple products. The suits, filed in the U.S. and Germany, mark the second time in the past seven years the companies have squared off in a dispute over intellectual property. In 2011, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) settled a two-year case with Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and agreed to pay licensing royalties for use of some Nokia patents in iPhones.
Although it hasn't made the list in years, Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) Taobao has been put back on the U.S. Trade Representative office's blacklist of notorious marketplaces. "While recent steps set positive expectations for the future, current levels of reported counterfeiting and piracy are unacceptably high," according to USTR. Inclusion on the list doesn't carry any direct penalties, but it could hurt Alibaba's credibility.
AT&T has launched an in-house smartphone app called Call Protect, which can help its paying customers block robocalls before they ring. At least for now, the complimentary service only works with iPhones or Android devices that are compatible with AT&T's (NYSE:T) free HD Voice technology. Another great feature? The app can also be used to block any phone number for 30 days at a time.
Breaking App Store records, Super Mario Run has been downloaded more than 40M times in its first four days of availability on iOS. However, the news has failed to halt the recent decline in Nintendo's (OTCPK:NTDOY) share price. According to analysts, only 8% of those who try the game end up making the $10 purchase to buy the full version. Nintendo closed down 3.8% in Tokyo.
Current Hershey COO Michele Buck has been chosen to succeed retiring CEO John Bilbrey, as the chocolate maker pins its hopes on a company veteran to continue its recovery in North America. Buck joined Hershey (NYSE:HSY) in 2005 and was the architect of the firm's expansion into broader snacking categories.
A Europe-wide system to track cigarettes should be run by tobacco companies with independent third parties, according to a draft report by the EU, dealing a blow to the industry, which hoped to run the system itself. The program, expected to be running by May 2019, is designed to prevent the smuggling and counterfeiting of cigarettes, which the European Commission says costs €10B a year in lost revenue. Related tickers: MO, BTI, LO, PM, RAI
Four months after he seemed to have changed his mind about his planned crackdown, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the closure of "all online gaming." Philippine's gambling industry is one of Asia's most freewheeling, attracting many online foreign companies over the last decade to set up servers aimed at overseas punters and has lured investments of billions of dollars in casino resorts. Related tickers: AYA, OTC:BTFRF, OTCPK:EIHDF, OTC:PDYPF, OTC:PHWBF, OTC:PYTCF, OTC:WIMHF
"Goldman Sachs Ties To Scandal-Plagued 1MDB Run Deep," reads a headline from WSJ. The article states Goldman (NYSE:GS) courted the Malaysian state fund now at the heart of global embezzlement probes, earning high fees for selling its bonds. DOJ investigators are trying to determine if the bank had reason to suspect misuse of the money and want to know if it should have reported suspicious activity.
Amazon has received a "countermeasures" technology patent that will give it extra anti-hacking protections when drones are out doing deliveries, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In the filings, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) states its Prime Air drones could be targets of a "malicious person" using a wireless signal jammer and it indicates there could be "a variety of adverse effects including the UAV crashing."
"We're committed to working with the president on a deal," announced Boeing (NYSE:BA) CEO Dennis Muilenburg after meeting with Donald Trump in Palm Beach. During the meeting the Boeing chief said he could build the new Air Force One for less than the originally-quoted $4B, according to Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci. Does that mean the original price was indeed "a bit of a number" on the American taxpayer?
Initially arguing the vehicles didn't need testing permits because a front seat driver could take the controls, UBER has pulled its self-driving cars from San Francisco streets after the state's DMV revoked their registrations. Uber has made a habit of testing the limits of laws, and has often been successful, backed by the belief it can drum up support from customers who quickly begin to rely on its services.
More self-driving news... Honda (NYSE:HMC) is in talks with Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) Waymo to add self-driving technology to its vehicles. The talks, which come just one week after Waymo became an independent company, could see Honda become the firm's second partner after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) agreed in May to add the technology to its minivans.
Wednesday's Key Earnings
Accenture (NYSE:ACN) -5% cutting profit guidance.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) -2.6% AH missing estimates.
Micron (NASDAQ:MU) +9.9% AH improving pricing, robust outlook.
In Asia, Japan -0.1%. Hong Kong -0.8%. China +0.1%. India -1%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -0.5% to $52.22. Gold -0.2% to $1131.40.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.55%
Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Durable Goods
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 GDP Q3
8:30 Corporate Profits
8:30 Chicago Fed National Activity Index
9:00 FHFA House Price Index
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:00 Personal Income and Outlays
10:00 Leading Indicators
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Kansas City Fed Mfg Survey
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet