Morning Brief: Bitcoin crosses $15,000

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What to watch today

After a headline-heavy Wednesday, investors will face a lighter schedule Thursday with the economic highlight coming from initial jobless claims in the morning and Dollar General’s (DG) earnings serving as a focus for retail names. Also on the calendar are earnings from retailer Conn’s (CONN) and Smith & Wesson parent company American Outdoor Brands (AOBC). On the economics side, we’ll also get the October reading on consumer credit balances, and don’t forget that Friday is the all-important December jobs report with the next Fed meeting just a week away.

Markets will also keep an eye on shares of lululemon (LULU), which were surging in after-hours trade on Wednesday after the athletic apparel retailer reported earnings that beat on the top and bottom lines.

Bitcoin (BTC-USD), of course, should also be a fascination for markets as the digital currency broke through $12,000 overnight on Wednesday and then by the afternoon had topped $13,000 for the first time. On Thursday, bitcoin continued to soar, crossing $15,000.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on the media space, as reports late Wednesday suggested Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger would likely extend his contract for a sixth time, this time keeping him at the company until the beginning of next decade, to lead a combined Disney-Fox entity.

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Top news

Congress seems set to avert weekend government shutdown: Lawmakers and President Donald Trump still have longer-range disputes to settle over spending, immigration and other issues before they can declare budget peace. With many on both sides deciding a headline-grabbing federal closure would be a political blunder  the House planned to approve legislation Thursday financing federal agencies through Dec. 22. The Senate seemed ready to follow. [AP]

Banks may lose up to 15% of Europe stock trading revenue under MiFID: Total revenue from corporate and investment banking across Europe, the Middle East and Africa may slide 2.6% as a result of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID II, including the slump in cash equities, according to research firm Coalition Development Ltd. Fixed-income trading and banking, which account for the vast majority of revenue, will fall 4.2% and 1.7% respectively under the rules. Many companies are unprepared for the impact of MiFID, even as the sweeping overhaul of financial rules threatens to upend business models and add to legal and regulatory costs, analysts have said. [Bloomberg]

Citi could face $20 billion one-time hit if GOP tax plan becomes law: Citigroup would take a $20 billion upfront hit from the Republican tax bill should it become law, said the company’s Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach. The bank would take a big hit from writing off deferred tax assets it has held on its books, roughly $16 billion to $17 billion. And it would take a $3 billion to $4 billion hit from paying taxes on money it had held overseas. [CNBC]

Bitcoin miner reports hack, theft of its ‘wallet’:  The Slovenian-based bitcoin miner NiceHash says it is investigating a security breach and the possible theft of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoins. NiceHash said Thursday in a statement posted on its website that it had stopped operations for 24 hours and was working to verify how many bitcoins were taken. [AP]

Toymaker Lego wins Chinese copyright case:  Lego has won a landmark case in China against two companies that manufactured and sold toys almost identical to its LEGO Friends range but branded Bela, the Danish toymaker said. It is the first time that Lego has succeeded in a copyright competition case in China, where copies of its colorful bricks and figures have been a recurrent problem as it seeks to gain share in the $31 billion toys and games market. [Reuters]

Palestinian protestors burn an effigy of President Donald Trump following his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 7, 2017. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.