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Google goes to DC; Brexit chaos; Spotlight on Huawei

1. Google in DC: Google CEO Sundar Pichai will make his debut testifying before Congress on...

Posted: Dec 11, 2018 9:25 AM
Updated: Dec 11, 2018 9:25 AM

1. Google in DC: Google CEO Sundar Pichai will make his debut testifying before Congress on Tuesday.

Pichai will testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where he is likely to face questions from Republicans on whether the search company harbors political bias.

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Lawmakers could also ask him about plans to re-enter China and the company's data privacy initiatives.

Pichai will push back against allegations of political bias, according to written testimony published by the committee ahead his appearance.

"I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests," Pichai will tell the committee.

Shares in Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google, are flat so far in 2018.

2. Brexit chaos: The British Parliament was scheduled to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday. Instead, the vote was called off in the face of overwhelming political opposition.

The delay caused the pound to drop sharply on Monday. The currency has since stabilized, but it's difficult to see how May, who will tour European capitals on Tuesday, might secure the votes she needs in parliament.

"The only thing that's certain is that uncertainty will be prolonged into the New Year," said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale.

Investors are most worried about a scenario where Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal. That would snarl supply chains and push the UK economy into recession.

3. Spotlight on Huawei: The bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the jailed chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei, continues on Tuesday in Canada.

The United States alleges that Meng helped Huawei get around US sanctions on Iran by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company, according to Canadian prosecutors.

Meng's arrest has further strained the tense relationship between Washington and Beijing just as the two sides are trying to negotiate an end to their trade war.

The Chinese government has started to ramp up the pressure on the United States and Canada over the arrest, demanding Meng's release.

4. Markets overview: US stock futures were pointing lower. European markets opened higher, following the trend set in Asia.

The Dow staged a huge comeback on Monday after briefly plunging 500 points to below 24,000. It ended up closing 0.1% higher. The S&P 500 added 0.2% and the Nasdaq jumped 0.7%

US markets could be in for another wild ride, if the CNN Business Fear and Greed index is any guide. The gauge of market sentiment has swung into "extreme fear."

US oil prices tumbled 2.4% to just below $51 a barrel on Tuesday.

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5. Earnings and economics: DSW (DSW) will release earnings before the open. American Eagle (AEO) and Dave & Busters (PLAY) will follow after the close.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish its November Producer Price report at 8:30 a.m. ET. The number has been climbing and is likely to be a consideration at the next Federal Reserve meeting in two weeks.

6. Coming this week:
Tuesday — Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies in front of House Judiciary Committee; PPI report
Wednesday — CPI report
Thursday — Adobe (ADBE) and Costco (COST) earnings
Friday — US retail sales for November

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