Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Roaring to a record
Stocks are on a tear heading into the last full trading week of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched an intraday record high on Friday, as investors welcome expectations that the Federal Reserve could start to cut interest rates next year as inflation cools. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have all recorded seven-week winnings streaks. With few economic indicators due this week, earnings from FedEx on Tuesday and Nike on Thursday could help to drive markets in the days ahead. Follow live market updates here.
2. Steel deal
Japan-based Nippon Steel agreed to buy U.S. Steel for $14.9 billion, including debt. U.S. Steel shares spiked following the announcement Monday morning. The $55 per share price is about 40% higher than U.S. Steel’s close on Friday. The company had put itself up for sale as revenue and profit sagged, but now could stand to benefit from climbing steel prices and the resolution of the United Auto Workers strikes in the U.S.
3. Israel urged to cease fire
Some of Israel’s European allies are urging the country to agree to a cease fire and restart hostage negotiations with Gaza, after the Israeli military said it mistakenly killed three hostages. The deaths added to humanitarian concerns about Israel’s nearly two-and-a-half month offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, and displaced a massive share of its population. Hamas militants killed about 1,200 Israelis and took nearly 250 people hostage in their Oct. 7 attack on Israel. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Israel this week, as the Biden administration — a key ally and provider of military aid — expresses growing concerns about the civilian casualties in Gaza.
4. The year ahead in weight loss drugs
Weight loss and diabetes drugs vaulted into the public consciousness in 2023, as awareness and use of Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro spiked. Next year will bring major changes for the patients trying to access the expensive treatments, the companies making them and the competitors trying to enter the booming segment. Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegovy and Ozempic, and Eli Lilly, which produces Mounjaro and the recently approved Zepbound, will both try to ease supply issues created by soaring demand and expand the uses of their drugs. Pfizer will determine if it can move forward with its own once-a-day weight loss pill. And watch out for large drugmakers to buy or partner with smaller companies to make their way into the market.
5. Cruise blues
General Motors‘ recent ventures outside of its core business have struggled. Cruise could become the next one to fall to the wayside. The robotaxi unit has halted road operations and faced investigations following an October accident in San Francisco, when a Cruise self-driving vehicle dragged a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle. The issues culminated last week with Cruise laying off 24% of its workforce, or 900 people, and letting go of nine company leaders. GM has publicly expressed hopes it can save the business segment, as CEO Mary Barry said this month that the automaker is “very focused on righting the ship” at Cruise.
– CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Annika Kim Constantino and Michael Wayland contributed to this report.
— Follow broader market action like a pro on CNBC Pro.