Morning Brief: A final look at the 2017 labor market

Friday, January 5, 2018

What to watch today

A holiday-shortened opening week of trading in 2018 will be capped by the jobs report, the final look at the labor market from the government in 2017. Expectations are for another strong report to finish what’s been a good year for U.S. workers.

Nonfarm payrolls are estimated to have grown by 190,000 in December while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.1%, according to estimates from Bloomberg. The unemployment rate is currently at its lowest level since December 2000.

Other figures that economists will keep an eye on in Friday’s report are the labor force participation rate and average hourly earnings. In November, earnings rose 2.5% over the prior year and expectations are this rate of growth won’t accelerate in December; over the prior month, wages are expected to rise 0.3%. The lack of wage growth in the economy given the low level of unemployment has been a surprise to many economists.

Stocks on Thursday surged to record highs with the Dow topping 25,000 for the first time. President Donald Trump told reporters, “I guess our new number is 30,000.”

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Top news

Uber ex-CEO selling nearly a third of stake in company: Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted as chief executive in June, is selling nearly a third of his 10% stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Kalanick’s sale is part of a deal struck by a consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp. which is taking a 17.5% stake in Uber, mostly by buying shares from early investors and employees. [Reuters]

How Big Tech has left you in the dark about massive chip security flaws:  Deep-seated processor vulnerabilities going by the names of “Meltdown” and “Spectre,” may be the biggest news in computing security in years, but you wouldn’t know that from the sites of some of the companies that should be your first line of defense. Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and Apple (AAPL) have known about these vulnerabilities longer than most–researchers told them last summer, after first detecting the issue. [Yahoo Finance]

Fed aiming to restrict credit, raising eventual recession risk: Federal Reserve policy makers have abandoned the notion that they can bring the U.S. economy in for the perfect soft landing — when inflation settles at its target, growth throttles back smoothly to trend and monetary policy shifts to neutral. Instead, they’re prepared to step on the brakes. [Bloomberg]

Trump isolates Bannon in feud as Mercer family cuts off money: Steve Bannon faces fresh doubt about whether he can pull off his populist revolution within the Republican Party after his top financial patron cut ties with him on Thursday in the wake of his feud with President Donald Trump. Rebekah Mercer rebuked Bannon in a statement on Thursday and said she and her father, Robert Mercer, the former co-chief executive officer of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, would not finance his projects. [Bloomberg]

For more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

A woman walks down snow-covered Maverick Street in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, as a huge winter storm roared up the East Coast with hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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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.