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Dec 28, 2018

What News: Stocks Seesaw; No Progress to End Shutdown; New Year's Tax Resolutions

The Wall Street Journal.
Newspaper.
What’s News
Sun icon. Good Morning
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
Stocks seesaw. The Dow staged a dramatic comeback in the final 90 minutes of Thursday’s session, closing 1.1% higher after swinging more than 850 points. The S&P 500 rose 0.9% and the Nasdaq gained 0.4%. On Friday, global stocks drifted higher.
  • Buybacks come back to bite. Companies including Apple and Wells Fargo spent billions on repurchases this year, only to see prices sink.
     
  • An unlikely safe space. There aren’t many asset classes in positive territory as 2018 comes to a close. A rare refuge is Chinese bonds.
     
  • Lessons from a wild December. Our investment columnist assesses what he got right and wrong this year, and gives his advice for 2019.
Shutdown seen stretching into January. Lawmakers and the White House made no progress toward a deal to end the partial government shutdown, likely leaving the wall-funding fight as the first order of business for the new Congress.
Saudi king seeks to shore up heir. Saudi King Salman moved to bolster his son and heir apparent and contain political fallout after the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, elevating allies of the crown prince and surrounding him with experienced advisers.
Companies are giving away shale gas. In parts of Texas and New Mexico, there is now so much natural gas that it is sometimes worthless.

What's Trending

Mrugesh Patel, a cardiologist in Langhorne, Pa., said he felt pressure to keep referrals internal.
The hidden system that explains how doctors make referrals. More primary-care doctors work directly for hospitals, and they are being pushed to keep lucrative referrals for specialists, surgeries and MRIs in-house. That can mean a smaller pool of potential doctors to see and higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • $1 million in medical bills, what happened? A retired commodities trader got sick while on vacation. His travails reveal the broken pricing system at the heart of American health care.
U.S. exit complicates Iran strategy. Turkish forces are supposed to replace U.S. troops in northeastern Syria. One exception: a small, remote U.S. base that has made it more difficult for Iran to project power across the Middle East.
Gamble on carbon credits has yet to pay. Investors who bought natural resources hoping to make money from carbon credits and other responses to climate change have seen their bets flop.
Seven New Year’s tax resolutions for 2019. Don’t complain if you didn’t check your withholding and you get a tax bill or lower refund. Don’t sweat the new SALT limits. And more ideas from tax columnist Laura Saunders on how to navigate tax season. 
Teachers are quitting at the highest rate on record. Small raises, budget frustration and opportunities elsewhere are persuading public-education workers to move on.
McDonald’s bets on breakfast again. The fast-food chain is adding meatier sandwiches and $1 offers to its breakfast menu, focusing on mornings to address a softening in U.S. sales and rivals’ new breakfast offerings

News From Other Sources

One of the largest private landlords on U.S. military bases faces scrutiny. Closely held Corvias stands to earn $1 billion in fees on long-term contracts to house Army families. Some of those tenants accuse the company of renting them poorly maintained and hazardous homes.
via Reuters
As the euro turns 20, here’s an assessment of who fared the best. The euro has swung wildly since its debut on Jan. 1, 1999. This report card looks at how euro-area countries have performed in the last 20 years.
via Bloomberg
Hackers stole data on North Korean defectors. Personal information including names, birth dates and addresses of nearly 1,000 North Koreans who defected to the South was stolen from a resettlement agency's database by unknown hackers.
via the Guardian
 

This Day in History

Dec. 28, 1981
First American Test-Tube Baby Is Born
Elizabeth Jordan Carr became the first baby to be born via in-vitro fertilization in the U.S. The procedure was conducted under the direction of doctors Howard Jones and Georgeanna Seegar Jones, the first to attempt the process in the country. Elizabeth's mother, 28-year-old schoolteacher Judith Carr, was unable to conceive normally because of complications from earlier pregnancies and the removal of her fallopian tubes.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
 
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Todd Olmstead in London

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