Morning Brief: Comcast, Verizon eye 21st Century Fox's assets

Friday, November 17, 2017

What to watch today

At the end of what’s been a sneaky busy week in markets, investors will have a lighter schedule to contend with ahead of what will be a holiday-shortened trading week in the U.S. The main earnings highlight on Friday will come from footwear retailer Foot Locker (FL), which is set to report results before the market open. The economic calendar will also be fairly sparse, with the monthly reports on housing starts and building permits serving as highlights.

Markets will look to build off what was a positive day on Thursday, with the major U.S. indexes bouncing back after declines earlier this week as the Dow and S&P 500 each gained about 0.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.3%. Walmart (WMT) shares were a big winner on Thursday, rising nearly 11% to a new record high after earnings.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on reports late Thursday that both Comcast (CMCSA) and Yahoo Finance parent company Verizon (VZ) were looking at buying some of 21st Century Fox’s (FOXA) assets, which followed a report last week which said Disney (DIS) and Fox had held talks on the matter. According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast and Disney were both looking at most all of Fox’s assets save for its live sports, Fox News, and its broadcast network. As we noted last week, talk of a potential major consolidation in the media space will also likely bring with it discussions of the broader market and economic cycle, as mega media deals marked the top of both the tech bubble and pre-financial crisis bull runs.

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Top news

Senate panel approves tax plan as GOP leaders gird for battle: Hours after House Republicans jubilantly passed their tax bill, their colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee approved a far different version — one that postpones difficult questions as lawmakers rush to refashion much of the U.S. economy on a tight timeline. [Bloomberg]

Mulvaney to temporarily lead consumer agency: White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is expected to take on a second role in the Trump administration as acting director of a consumer financial agency created by the Obama administration, according to an administration official familiar with the plan. [AP]

Mueller subpoenaed Trump campaign for more documents: Special Counsel Robert Mueller served U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign a subpoena in mid-October, sources said, in the latest sign that his criminal investigation is aggressively pursuing links between campaign officials and Russia. [Bloomberg]

New Tesla Roadster speeds in front of electric big-rig truck: Tesla Inc (TSLA) Chief Executive Elon Musk said the new $200,000 sports car would be the fastest production car ever. The showmanship wowed the crowd although some analysts’ heads started throbbing at the variety of new projects launched as the company is struggling to produce the more affordable sedan upon which its future depends. [Reuters]

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days:  Bitcoin hit a new record high Friday, coming within touching distance of the $8,000 handle. The cryptocurrency was trading at $7,998.40 in the early hours, U.K. time, according to industry website CoinDesk. [CNBC]

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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. 

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