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Geopolitical worries drag down stocks, oil; Starboard pressures Yahoo; Oculus Rift goes on sale

It shaping up to be another ugly day for Wall Street. Stocks (^DJI^GSPC^IXIC) are sharply lower across the board as geopolitical worries mount following claims by North Korea that it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Crude prices (CLG16.NYM) are hovering near multi-year lows as investors remain focused on the tensions between Middle East producers Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hiring in the private sector picked up last month. Payroll processor ADP reported that companies added 257,000 workers in December, exceeding estimates. This comes ahead of Friday’s closely watched government jobs report.

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Apple (AAPL) shares were lower in early trading after falling 2.5% yesterday on reports that it's scaling back production of its iPhones because of weaker-than-expected orders.  

Yahoo (YHOO) shares fell this morning after activist investor Starboard Value delivered a letter to Yahoo management urging the company to accept that major shakeups are needed, including management changes, board composition, strategy, and execution. Starboard owns less than 1% of Yahoo.  
Yahoo is the parent company of Yahoo Finance. 

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) appointed former CFO and board member Howard Schiller to run the company on an interim basis, while CEO Michael Pearson remains hospitalized for severe pneumonia. 

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) is sharply lower in early trading. The oil and gas producer plans to sell 12 million new shares to fund expansion amid low oil prices.  

Verizon (VZ) is in focus after Reuters reported that the company is launching an auction to sell its data centers. A sale would represent Verizon's latest effort to streamline its portfolio.

CES kicks off

And as doors to the consumer electronics show open in Las Vegas … Oculus Rift will begin taking preorders for its virtual reality headset at 11a.m. ET. The Facebook (FB)-owned company has still not given any clues on the price or the official launch date.