Morning Brief: CVS Health to buy Aetna for $69 billion

Monday, December 4, 2017

What to watch today

Investors will monitor progress on tax reform after the Senate in the overnight hours on Saturday passed its version of a tax bill. The Senate and the House will now work to reconcile their bills to present a unified plan to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

Markets will also keep an eye on any new developments in the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election after Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian officials. This news initially roiled markets, sending the Dow down by as many as 400 points on Friday, though the major averages recovered through the day and closed the week mixed as the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost ground while the Dow and S&P 500 both logged gains.

The final jobs report released in 2017 will greet investors as the biggest economic story in the week ahead. The November jobs report is due out Friday and is expected to show the second-to-last month of the year enjoyed strong payroll growth with economists forecasting nonfarm payrolls grew by 200,000 in November. The unemployment rate is also forecast to hold steady at 4.1%, a 17-year low.

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Top news

CVS is buying Aetna for $69 billion:  Pharmacy chain CVS Health (CVS) is acquiring health insurance giant Aetna (AET) in a $69 billion deal that could reshape American health care. Aetna shareholders will receive approximately $207 per share, $145  per share in cash and 0.8378 CVS shares for each share of Aetna. [Yahoo Finance]

Trump obstruction of justice case developing, senator says:  A Senate investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election suggests a potential case of obstruction of justice is developing against the president, Senator Dianne Feinstein said. [Bloomberg]

Economists expect modest boost from tax cuts: Economists  are increasingly worried that a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement will take a toll on growth. The National Association of Business Economics survey found that forecasters expect tax law changes to add 0.2 percentage points of growth to the U.S. economy, down slightly from what they expected in the previous NABE survey in September. [AP]

Venezuela to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked to the world of digital currency to circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions, announcing on Sunday the launch of the “petro” backed by oil reserves to shore up a collapsed economy. The leftist leader offered few specifics about the currency launch or how the struggling OPEC member would pull off such a feat, but he declared to cheers that “the 21st century has arrived!” [Reuters]

Musk isn’t joking about sending a Tesla to Mars: Elon Musk fully intends to put a red Tesla Roadster into an enormous rocketship made by SpaceX and then fire both into Mars orbit. The car, as it hurtles into space, will be playing a song by David Bowie on repeat. [Bloomberg]

Pope Francis kisses a child as he meets with sick people and staff of the Mother Teresa House in Dhaka’s Tejgaon neighborhood, Bangladesh, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)
Pope Francis kisses a child as he meets with sick people and staff of the Mother Teresa House in Dhaka’s Tejgaon neighborhood, Bangladesh, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)

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