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U.S. STOCKS LITTLE CHANGED AS GLOBAL RALLY STALLS

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DAILY MARKET REPORTS

  • Major indexes in Hong Kong and Japan posted their biggest declines in months.
  • Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average had its worst day since March, falling 2% as the yen strengthened and mining stocks declined.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which is adding to market volatility.
  • Private payrolls grew by 190,000 in November and U.S. productivity surged in the third quarter while labor costs fell further, another sign of subdued inflation pressures despite a sturdy economy.

US FINANCIAL MARKET

UnitedHealth to Buy Large Doctor Group for $4.9 Billion

  • UnitedHealth will buy DaVita’s physician group for about $4.9 billion in cash, in the latest sign of how the parent of the biggest U.S. insurer is rapidly expanding its role as a health-care provider.
  • UnitedHealth’s deal for one of the nation’s biggest doctor groups, coming the same week as pharmacy giant CVS Health sealed its $69 billion deal to buy insurer Aetna.
  • DaVita Medical Group includes around 280 clinics offering primary and specialist care, as well as 35 urgent-care centers and six outpatient surgery centers. It operates in states including California, Washington and Florida. The group employs around 2,200 health-care providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Home Depot to Launch $15 Billion Share Buyback Program

  • Home Depot aid it would launch a $15 billion share buyback program and pledged to accelerate investments in its business as the retail landscape continues to change.
  • Home Depot, which confirmed its fiscal 2017 sales and earnings targets, said it plans to invest in its supply chain and delivery capabilities, employees, stores and customer experience.

T-Mobile announced $1.5 billion stock buyback plan

  • T-Mobile announced a $1.5 billion stock buyback program on Wednesday morning.
  • It’s the latest firm to announce such plans ahead of President Trump’s tax reform.
  • T-Mobile said its parent company Deutsche Telekom AG won’t participate in the buyback.

JPMorgan, Bank of America Say Trading Revenue to Fall in Fourth Quarter

  • Banks expect trading to drop 15% as volatility remains near all-time lows.

Wal-Mart’s New Name: It’s Not Just a Store Anymore

  • World’s biggest retailer, with 11,700 stores, to shorten its legal name from Wal-Mart Stores to just Walmart Inc.
  • The move highlights the company’s shift away from building traditional stores toward competing online with rival Amazon.com Inc.
  • “We felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer,” said Wal-Mart Chief Executive Doug McMillon.

Walgreens Takes Stake in Chinese Pharmacy Chain

  • Walgreens announced Wednesday it agreed to take a 40% minority stake in Chinese retail-pharmacy company Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores.
  • The Chinese company is a subsidiary of China National Accord Medicines Corp. and has over 3,500 stores and employs close to 20,000 people. Walgreens is acquiring the stake for about 2.767 billion yuan ($418 million), the company said. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions.

Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices, escalating spat

  • A rare public spat in the technology industry escalated on Tuesday when Google said it would block its video streaming application YouTube from two Amazon.com Inc devices and criticized the online retailer for not selling Google hardware.
  • The stakes are high: many in the technology industry expect that interacting with computers by voice will become widespread, and it is unclear if Amazon, Google or another company will dominate the space.
  • In a statement, Google said, ”Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products.
  • Amazon said in a statement, “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”

UPS sees some delivery delays after surge in online holiday orders

  • The world’s largest package delivery company has been preparing all year for the crucial peak shipping period. It also unveiled a number of surcharges in recent years, seen as a way to manage the higher costs associated with e-commerce and unwieldy packages.
  • UPS said the vast majority of the 750 million packages it delivers during the holiday season “will be delivered in accordance with the service commitments for the specified time-in-transit.”
  • That’s about 40 million more packages than last year, UPS said.

Facebook Tops List of Best Places to Work, Survey Says

  • Companies that workers consider more upfront about those concerns—such as Facebook, Google and World Wide Technology Inc.—were rated by current and former employees among the best places to work in 2018.

The 250 Most Effectively Managed U.S. Companies—and How They Got That Way

  • Amazon is on top, followed by Apple and Alphabet, in a landmark ranking, the Drucker Institute’s Management Top 250
  • To measure a business’s success in each dimension, the Drucker Institute—part of Claremont Graduate University outside of Los Angeles—scored how companies stacked up in 37 specific metrics, from market-share data to patent applications to employee ratings on the career-review site Glassdoor. The companies listed in the Management Top 250 are the highest scorers among 608 U.S. corporations studied that in the fall of 2016 belonged either to the S&P 500 stock index or Fortune 500 list or had a market value of more than $10 billion.

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US ECONOMY & POLITIC

ADP: U.S. Private Sector Adds 190,000 Jobs in November

  • Firms across the country added 190,000 workers to their ranks in November, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc.

U.S. Productivity Rebounds, Though Wages Lag

  • Productivity—a measure of goods and services produced in the U.S. per hour worked—rose at a 3% annual rate in July through September.
  • It was the biggest jump in three years.
  • Hourly compensation for workers climbed at a 2.7% rate in the third quarter, up from a meager 0.3% increase in the second.
  • Productivity is the biggest factor in raising Americans’ living standards. Higher productivity boosts companies’ profits and, in turn, their ability to invest and raise workers’ wages.
  • Productivity growth has been sluggish during the current expansion, stirring concerns about the economy’s long-term growth outlook, but it has picked up in recent quarters.

California Republicans Push to Preserve Income-Tax Deduction

  • California Republicans are pushing for an income-tax deduction in the final tax bill being worked out by lawmakers in a House-Senate conference committee on tax legislation.
  • In November, 11 of the 14 California Republicans in the House voted for the tax bill; New Jersey and New York GOP members, with similarly high state taxes, were much more willing to vote no.
  • The House will need to vote again, and Republicans need 217 votes to guarantee passage if no Democrats vote for the bill.
  • California Republicans would like the $10,000 cap to be higher. And they want at a minimum to let taxpayers deduct $10,000 against either property or income taxes, said Rep. Mimi Walters (R., Calif.).

Wildfire rages near Los Angeles

  • High winds continued to fuel the Thomas Wildfire in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.

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EUROPE & WORLD

Vladimir Putin will seek re-election for Russian presidency in 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announces he will seek re-election in March 2018.
  • Opinion polls show he is massively favored to win.

Chinese private fund assets hit a staggering $1.63 trillion

  • Assets under management of Chinese private funds rose 28 percent over the first 10 months of the year, to 10.77 trillion yuan ($1.63 trillion).
  • The funds target high-net-worth individuals, a group that has grown rapidly in China. The number of Chinese with at least 10 million yuan (roughly $1.5 million) in investible assets has multiplied more than eight times within a decade, to 1.6 million in 2016.

Munich prosecutors start initial inquiry into BMW emissions allegations

  • Munich prosecutors said on Wednesday they had opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations raised by Germany’s main environmental lobby that a BMW diesel model is fitted with engine software capable of cheating on emissions tests.
  • BMW’s 3-Series 320d model of the latest Euro 6 diesel generation emitted toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels up to seven times over the legal limit, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) said on Tuesday.

General Electric to cut 4,500 jobs in Europe

  • The cuts, which are linked to businesses GE bought from France’s Alstom in 2015, will affect employees in Switzerland, Germany and Britain, said French newspaper Les Echos, which first reported the news on Tuesday.

Luxury Brands Win Right to Block Sale of Goods on Amazon in Europe

  • Luxury brands can restrict retailers from selling their products on web platforms like Amazon.com Inc. and eBay to protect their image, the European Union’s top court ruled.
  • In its judgment, the European Court of Justice said companies are allowed to impose certain conditions in their contracts with retailers if the goal is to preserve a brand’s luxury image and as long as the company doesn’t discriminate among retailers.
  • A German court referred the case to the ECJ.

Canada scraps plan to buy Boeing fighters amid trade dispute

  • Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening dispute with the U.S. aerospace company.
  • Instead, the Liberal government will announce next week it intends to acquire a used fleet of older Australia F-18 jets, the same kind of plane Canada currently operates.
  • Canada and Mexico are locked into increasingly acrimonious negotiations with the United States over the NAFTA trade pact.

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TODAY in HISTORY

  • The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, banning slavery. (1865)
  • Construction of the Washington Monument was completed. (1884)
  • London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs. (1897)
  • A presidential address was broadcast on the radio for the first time when Calvin Coolidge spoke before Congress. (1923)

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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