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Dow futures higher | Fed rate decision set | Pfizer, GSK agree to $12.7 billion deal

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

BY THE NUMBERS

Futures were higher this morning ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting. The major averages all finished higher yesterday to break losing streaks, but stocks finished well off their session highs. (CNBC)

The Fed's interest rate decision and policy statement will be released at 2 p.m. ET, and will be followed a half hour later by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's news conference. The Fed is still widely expected to announce a rate hike . (CNBC)

* Cramer: Fed needs to take 'wait-and-see' approach to rate hikes for stocks to get a 'sustained' rally (CNBC)

The National Association of Realtors is out with existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET. The government will issue the third-quarter current account deficit at 8:30 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

* Weekly mortgage applications drop 5.8% as stock market plunge unnerves potential buyers (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The sentencing of Michael Flynn was postponed after the judge told the ex-national security advisor " arguably you sold your country out " — and warned the fallen Army lieutenant general that he might be sent to jail if he didn't agree to the delay. (CNBC)

Federal judges reviewing complaints lodged against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh said that the allegations against him are serious but that they must dismiss them without determining their merits. (CNBC)

The U.S. Senate passed a bill changing sentencing guidelines for federal prisoners. The government will allow early release for potentially tens of thousands of inmates who were convicted of nonviolent crimes. (WSJ)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer (PFE) announced a $12.7 billion all-stock deal to combine their consumer health businesses in a joint venture that will be 68 percent owned by Glaxo. (Reuters)

Facebook (FB) said it did not give some companies access to user data without their permission . That follows a Times report that some companies were allowed greater access to user data, including Microsoft's Bing search engine.

With a modified Tesla (TSLA) Model X zipping through a Boring Company tunnel last night, Elon Musk took the wraps off his vision of a high-speed tunnel system he believes could ease congestion and revolutionize commutes. (CNBC)

Diego Piacentini, one of the most senior executives at Amazon (AMZN) who had previously led its international business, has left the company after a two-year hiatus , adding to a string of executive departures over the past year. (CNBC)

Japan's SoftBank Corp began trading today in Tokyo in Japan's biggest-ever IPO and one of the largest the world has seen. Shares open down 6.40 percent at 1,404.00 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (CNBC)

Blockchain startup Digital Asset's CEO and one of the most prominent supporters of the distributed ledger technology on Wall Street, Blythe Masters, is stepping down after about four years in the role. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

FedEx (FDX) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $4.03 per share, nine cents above estimates, with revenue also slightly above Street forecasts. However, the package delivery company also lowered its 2019 forecast on weakness In Europe and an overall decline in global trade.

Jabil Circuit (JBL) beat estimates by two cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 90 cents per share, and the electronics manufacturer also saw revenue beat forecasts. Jabil also gave strong current quarter revenue guidance, and said efforts to diversify into new markets were paying off.

Micron Technology (MU) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.97 per share, a penny ahead of estimates, but the chip maker's revenue fell short of Street forecasts. Micron also issued an outlook that was shy of estimates, pointing to a glut of memory chips on the market.

Boeing (BA) raised its forecast for jet sales in India, despite continuing losses by India-based airlines.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) will sell its French consumer health unit to Japan's Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings for $1.6 billion. Bloomberg had reported earlier this week that the two sides were near a deal.

Drug inspectors in India have seized samples of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) baby powder, according to a source quoted by Reuters. That follows an earlier Reuters report that the company knew for decades that its talc products contained asbestos.

Former Wall Disney Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs is the leading candidate to become the next CEO of CBS (CBS), according to the Wall Street Journal.

Japanese conglomerate Japan Post Holdings plans to take a roughly 7 percent stake in U.S.-based disability insurer Aflac (AFL). The purchase would need regulatory approval in the U.S. and Japan, which Aflac said it expected in the second half of 2019.

General Electric (GE) has filed confidentially for an initial public offering of its GE Healthcare unit, according to a Bloomberg report.

WATERCOOLER

With more people ringing up purchases online, the number of packages being returned is actually starting to spike ahead of Christmas, not after it. For the first time ever, UPS has forecast the busiest day for returns will be today. (CNBC)




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