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S&P, DOW OPEN HIGHER ON TAX BILL HOPES

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DAILY MARKET REPORTS

  • The Nasdaq 100 Index sank more than 1 percent as signs of a rotation from the year’s leaders emerged anew.
  • The FANG block of megacap tech shares that paced gains throughout the year took losses of at least 1.8 percent, while all 15 members of the S&P 500 Semiconductor Index retreated, led by Applied Material and Nvidia.
  • Yellen repeated that she anticipates the Fed will continue gradually raising interest rates and trimming its balance sheet.
  • Strong economic data added to stocks’ momentum. Data showed U.S. economic growth in the third quarter was stronger than earlier thought, with gross domestic product expanding at 3.3% seasonally and inflation-adjusted annual rate.
  • Chipotle shares rose 4.6% after the burrito chain said founder Steve Ells will step down as chief executive as the company continues to struggle with food-safety concerns that have spooked customers.
  • Shares of design-software provider Autodesk fell 13% following the firm’s announcement that it will cut 13% of its workforce.

US FINANCIAL MARKET

Bitcoin Crosses $10,000, Then Quickly Tops $11,000

  • Bitcoin crossed the $10,000-mark Tuesday for the first time in its nine-year history.
  • By 9 a.m. Wednesday, bitcoin had surged past $11,000, recently trading around $11,250. For the year, it is up more than 1,000%, having started 2017 at $968.23.
  • Big institutions such as CME Group and Goldman Sachs Group have stoked enthusiasm about bitcoin’s place in the world by exploring products based on the virtual currency.
  • CME, the world’s biggest exchange group, is expected to launch a futures contract based on bitcoin as soon as the second week of December.
  • Most individual investors aren’t making much money from the rally. About 75% of bitcoin addresses, also known as wallets, have less than 0.1 bitcoin in them.

Chipotle Founder to Step Down as CEO

  • Mr. Ells, who founded the company in 1993, will become executive chairman after a new CEO is found.
  • Chipotle has struggled to regain lost customers this year, even with a number of food giveaways, but it had been on the cusp of a sales recovery when a new norovirus outbreak in Virginia this summer rattled customers.
  • The outbreak affected more than 135 patrons at a Sterling, Va., Chipotle restaurant.

Tiffany’s sales, profit beats Street on higher solitaire jewelry demand

  • New York-based Tiffany’s net income rose 5.4 percent to $100.2 million.
  • Total revenue rose 3 percent to $976.2 million.
  • Tiffany said sales in the Americas, its biggest market, rose 1 percent in the third quarter, while sales from Asia-Pacific jumped 15 percent on strong demand in mainland China.

NBC’s Matt Lauer Fired After Complaint About ‘Inappropriate Sexual Behavior’

  • Matt Lauer, the co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” show since 1997, has been fired for inappropriate behavior in the workplace, the show said Wednesday morning.
  • NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said in a memo that the company on Monday night “received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.”
  • “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Mr. Lack added.
  • Losing Mr. Lauer, the biggest star of NBC’s news division, is a major blow to the network at a time when it is leaning on “Today” as much as ever to be a financial powerhouse.
  • “Today” has taken back the No. 1 ratings position in the key demographic of adults 25 to 54 from ABC’s “Good Morning America” after falling behind in 2012.
  • Mr. Lauer was the highest paid journalist at NBC, reportedly earning $25 million a year in his latest contract.

Uber’s third-quarter net loss widens to $1.46 billion: source

  • The Silicon Valley-based company’s net loss increased to $1.46 billion in the third quarter from $1.06 billion in the previous quarter, the source said.
  • Quarterly net revenue rose 14 percent to $2 billion and gross bookings increased 11.5 percent to $9.7 billion, on a sequential basis, the person said.

Rather Than Add More Blades to Its Razors, Gillette Trims Prices

  • Gillette is launching a lineup of new razors that will be missing something notable: a higher price tag.
  • The Procter & Gamble brand, battling critics and new rivals, on Wednesday plans to announce a product overhaul that will include Fusion blades with new technology at no added cost as well as lower-end options priced in line with online upstarts like Dollar Shave Club.

AT&T, Time Warner Herald ‘Golden Age’ of TV in Defense of Merger

  • Antitrust officials at the Justice Department filed suit last week to challenge the deal, alleging AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner would give one company too much control in a rapidly evolving media landscape.
  • AT&T, in a formal written answer to the lawsuit on Tuesday, said the video marketplace is changing quickly and is “intensely competitive,” and that nothing about the Time Warner deal would harm that.
  • AT&T said online rivals like Netflix and Amazon.com were spending billions of dollars on developing and streaming video content, and that leading tech companies like Apple., Google and Facebook were doing the same.

ESPN to Cut 150 More Jobs

  • Walt Disney’s ESPN said Wednesday it is laying off 150 employees, the sports TV giant’s latest round of cuts as it deals with pressures in the pay-TV business and aims to shift resources into new areas such as a planned direct-to-consumer streaming service.
  • In a memo to staff, ESPN President John Skipper said the majority of the jobs being eliminated are in studio production, technology and digital content, “and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and redirect resources.” ESPN has 8,000 employees.

Facebook reports progress in removing extremist content

  • Facebook said on Wednesday that it was removing 99 percent of content related to militant groups Islamic State and al Qaeda before being told of it, as it prepared for a meeting with European authorities on tackling extremist content online.
  • Eighty-three percent of “terror content” is removed within one hour of being uploaded, Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counter-terrorism policy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.
  • The world’s largest social media network, with 2.1 billion users, has faced pressure both in the United States and Europe to tackle extremist content on its platform more effectively.

Amazon says Cyber Monday topped this year’s Prime Day, marking its largest shopping day ever

  • Amazon said orders made via its app increased more than 50 percent on Cyber Monday, when compared with a year ago.
  • From Thanksgiving Day through Monday, Amazon said customers shopped at “record levels,” ordering “hundreds of millions” of products ranging from apparel to toys to electronics. From small businesses alone, nearly 140 million items were purchased on Amazon.com.

Amazon’s cloud service signs Disney, Expedia, NFL

  • Amazon has signed heavy-hitters Disney, Expedia and the NFL to its cloud services, the company announced Wednesday.
  • The contracts are the latest in a series of big wins for Amazon Web Services in the ongoing web services. The company announced Tuesday it had signed Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit.

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US ECONOMY & POLITIC

U.S. GDP Growth Revised Up to 3.3% Rate in Third Quarter

  • Gross domestic product, a broad measure of goods and services created across the U.S., expanded at a 3.3% seasonally and inflation-adjusted annual rate in the third quarter.
  • That was the strongest quarterly growth reading in three years, matching economists’ expectations and revised upward from the government’s initial estimate of 3.0%.
  • Output had expanded at a 3.1% rate in the second quarter.
  • The latest report showed more business investment in equipment and software compared with prior estimates, as well as stronger government spending.
  • Wednesday’s report showed personal-consumption expenditures, which accounts for more than two-thirds of total economic output, expanded at a 2.3% pace in the third quarter, down slightly from an initial estimate of 2.4% growth.
  • Fixed nonresidential investment rose at a 4.7% pace, up from an earlier estimate of 3.9%.
  • Government spending was revised higher, rising at a 0.4% pace versus an earlier estimate of a 0.1% decline.
  • Foreign trade was a tailwind in the third quarter, with net exports contributing 0.43 percentage point to the 3.3% growth rate for overall GDP.

Yellen Says Fed Will Continue Path of Gradual Rate Increases

  • Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Wednesday said the U.S. central bank will continue with its path of gradual increases in short-term interest rates, but offered no new signals about what the Fed will do at its meeting next month.

Federal Reserve starting to think about its own digital currency, Dudley says

  • William Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said at a conference Wednesday that the Fed is exploring the idea of its own digital currency, according to reports from Dow Jones.
  • Any product likely would be well off in the future, he said, adding that it would be “very premature” to estimate when the Fed would come up with its own offering.

U.S. pending home sales jump 3.5 percent in October

  • The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its pending home sales index rose to a reading of 109.3. September’s index was downwardly revised to 105.6.
  • Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.
  • Compared to one year ago, pending sales were still down 0.6 percent. Contracts surged 7.4 percent in the South as it snapped back after the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in August and September.

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EUROPE & WORLD

North Korea Says Nuke Push Complete as Entire U.S. in Range

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed a missile launch on Wednesday showed he can strike the entire U.S. with a nuclear weapon, signaling a new phase in his standoff with President Donald Trump.
  • Kim’s claims on his nuclear capabilities, yet to be verified independently, suggest he is seeking to push the U.S. into talks from a position of strength.

OPEC, Russia set for oil cut extension but wary of overheating market

  • OPEC and Russia look set to prolong oil supply cuts until the end of 2018 this week while signaling that they may review the deal when they meet again in June if the market overheats.

U.K., EU Edge Closer to Agreement on Brexit Divorce Bill

  • Britain and the European Union are close to reaching a financial settlement over Brexit but negotiations are continuing to finalize an agreement that can win backing from EU member states.
  • The financial settlement, which EU officials initially put at around €60 billion ($71 billion) in past British spending pledges to the bloc, has been an obstacle to advancing the negotiations.
  • The EU has said that without sufficient progress on the divorce bill, citizens’ rights and avoiding a hard border in Ireland, they won’t start working on a future trade deal with Britain.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May had already indicated Britain, which will leave the bloc in March 2019, will stand by upward of €20 billion in EU payments in 2019 and 2020.

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TODAY in HISTORY

  • Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died in Brussels before he could complete his opera “Turandot.'” (1924)
  • The United Nations voted to grant the Jewish people a homeland to be established in Palestine. (1947)
  • Atari releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game. (1972)

This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S&P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal.

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