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Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Jan. 26:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were higher and stocks around the globe rose amid a string of solid earnings reports and after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 20,000 for the first time ever and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq recorded record highs.
The Dow rose 0.78% on Wednesday to close at a record 20,068. It closed with a second consecutive day of triple-digit gains, a streak not seen since the two-day rally following the presidential election in November. The S&P 500 gained 0.80% to close at 2,298, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.99%, finishing at 5,656.
"Clarity is the markets' oxygen," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "The more President Trump provides, the more Dow 20,000 moves to the rear-view mirror. Dow 21,000 will soon become the next media obsession."
U.S. stocks have risen since Trump was elected in November as investors placed big bets that his administration would lead to higher infrastructure spending and looser financial regulations.
For Thursday, the economic calendar in the U.S. includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, International Trade for December at 8:30 a.m., and New Home Sales for December at 10 a.m.,
2. -- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report said Thursday it would purchase Swiss biotech company Actelion Pharmaceuticals (ALIOY) for $30 billion and plans to spin out the company's research and development unit into a separate business.
J&J will pay $280 a share for the Allschwil, Switzerland-based group, which is the Swiss franc equivalent of Sfr280.08 a share. Once the R&D unit is spun out, Actelion shareholders will receive a one-for-one holding in the new company as a dividend.
"Adding Actelion's portfolio to our already strong Janssen Pharmaceuticals business is a unique opportunity for us to expand our portfolio with leading, differentiated in-market medicines and promising late-stage products," Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement. "We expect to leverage our established global presence and commercial strength to accelerate growth and patient access to these important therapies. Further, we believe R&D NewCo will be strongly positioned to continue Actelion's legacy of innovation and look forward to collaborating on the development of cutting-edge new therapies."
Shares of Actelion were rising 20% in Europe to 272.90 Swiss francs. J&J shares were up 1.3% in premarket trading on Thursday.
3. -- As AT&T (T) - Get Reportmatched forecasts for fourth-quarter earnings, Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told investors Wednesday that policy changes by the Trump administration, the telecom giant's pending purchase of Time Warner (TWX) and the launch of the DirecTV Now video streaming service would benefit the company in the coming year.
Stephenson discussed his Jan. 12 meeting with then-President-elect Trump. "I was impressed," Stephenson said. "I was meeting with a CEO. It was obvious."
AT&T earned 66 cents a share in the fourth quarter, in line with analysts' estimates. Revenue dipped to $41.8 billion and was slightly below forecasts of $42 billion.
Stephenson suggested that Trump's tax reforms would help AT&T and the economy.
"If we want to get off this 1% to 2% [economic] growth plane, there is nothing that will trigger that like tax reform," he said.
4. -- Earnings are expected Thursday from Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report , Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report , Intel (INTC) - Get Report , PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report , VMWare (VMW) - Get Report , Southwest (LUV) - Get Report , Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report , Baker Hughes (BHI) , Blackstone (BX) - Get Report , Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Report , Ford (F) - Get Report , Stanley, Black & Decker (SWK) - Get Report , Unilever (UL) - Get Report and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report .
5. -- Canada's AltaGas reached an agreement to purchase WGL Holdings (WGL) for C$8.4 billion ($6.4 billion) in an all-cash transaction.
WGL, which is the sole shareholder of Washington Gas Light, will continue to operate as a standalone utility, according to a statement from the companies. AltaGas said it plans to relocate the headquarters of its U.S. power business to Washington-based WGL's service region.
Shares of WGL were rising 5% in premarket trading to $81.90 a share.