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Morning Brief: Investors await final jobs report of 2018

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Friday, January 4, 2019

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WHAT TO WATCH

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the final jobs report of 2018 at 8:30 a.m. ET. The December data will be a crucial indicator of the health of the U.S. labor market and will offer a bit of insight into the unemployment rate, job additions, labor participation rate and wage growth.

The U.S. is expected to have added 184,000 in December, up from the 155,000 jobs added in November, according to economists polled by Bloomberg. Additionally, the unemployment rate is expected to have remained unchanged from 3.7% - the lowest rate in nearly 50 years, and average hourly earnings are anticipated to have grown at a 0.3% rate.

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TOP NEWS

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

China and U.S. to hold trade talks: China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on Jan. 7-8, as the two sides look to end a dispute that is inflicting increasing pain on both economies and roiling global financial markets. [Reuters]

House passes funding plan without wall: On their first day in the majority, House Democrats have passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump's promised border wall. [Associated Press]

Bankers arrested in Britain over alleged $2B fraud: U.S. authorities have arrested three former Credit Suisse (CS) bankers over their alleged involvement in a $2 billion (£1.6 billion) fraud in Mozambique. [Yahoo Finance UK]

Buffett's share buybacks fail to prevent Berkshire from sliding: Berkshire’s stock fell the most in 11 months on Thursday as some of its biggest equity holdings, Apple Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., cut revenue forecasts. The closing price has spent nearly a month below $312,806 — the average price Buffett paid for repurchases in August. The Class A (BRK-A) shares fell to $287,000 on Thursday, the lowest since February. [Bloomberg]

Square hires new CFO: Payments company Square (SQ) has tapped Amrita Ahuja as its new CFO. Ahuja is currently CFO at Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision ATVI Blizzard. [CNBC]

Southwest Airlines co-founder dies: Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and longtime leader of Southwest Airlines, revolutionized air travel by practically inventing the low-cost, low-fare airline. He died on Thursday at the age of 87. [Associated Press]

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