Skip to main content

Here are five things you must know for Friday, Dec. 22:

1. -- U.S. stock futures pointed slightly higher on Friday, Dec. 22, as Wall Street awaited a number of economic data releases in what's expected to be a quiet trading day ahead of the long Christmas weekend.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 4 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 futures gained 1.5 points and Nasdaq futures rose 1 point, after the Republican-led Congress narrowly passed a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown.

The Dow closed the session on Thursday, Dec. 21, with a gain of 54.7 points, or 0.22%, to 24,782. The Dow and S&P 500 were on track for their fifth straight weekly gain. 

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday includes Durable Goods Orders for November at 8:30 a.m. ET, Personal Income and Outlays for November at 8:30 a.m., New Home Sales for November at 10 a.m. and Consumer Sentiment for December at 10 a.m.

If you'd like to receive the free "5 Things You Must Know" newsletter, please register here.

2. -- Bitcoin prices extended declines on Friday amid one of the cryptocurrency's most volatile weeks, which saw the year's hottest investment phenomenon fall nearly 40% from its recent peak of just under $20,000.

Bitcoins on the bitstamp exchange, which feeds prices into the reference rate for the CME Group's benchmark futures contract, were changing hands at $13,577 after falling to as low as $12,560 in overnight trading.

Bitcoin futures on the Cboe were at $13,900 while those on the CME Group were quoted at $14,045.

Bitcoin cash, a digital currency created in August by bitcoin miners seeking a faster and more efficient blockchain, also has plunged over the past 24 hours, from a peak of $3,838.78 to a current price of around $2,478, according to

Specific catalysts for the moves have been difficult to isolate, given the lack of fundamental price drivers in any of the more than 1,200 digital currencies that are currently in the marketplace, although some investors have noted that cash is shifting from the loosely regulated world of cryptocurrency exchanges into blockchain-specific stocks such as Riot Blockchain Inc.  (RIOT) - Get Riot Blockchain Inc Report , LongFin Corp.  (LFIN)  and Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) - Get GRAYSCALE BITCOIN TRUST Report .

Image placeholder title

3. -- Eric Schmidt will step down from his role as executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report  board. 

Schmidt will transition into a new role as a technical adviser on science and technology issues beginning at Alphabet's next board meeting in January 2018. Alphabet's board is expected to appoint a new, non-executive chairman at that time. Other Silicon Valley giants, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report  and Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report , also have non-executive chairmen. 

TheStreet Recommends

"Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition," Schmidt said in a statement. "The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving." 

He added that in recent years he has been spending "a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work."

Schmidt joined Google as its CEO in 2001. At the time, it was presumed that Schmidt was brought in to serve as adult supervision for Google's young co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In 2011, Schmidt handed the reigns back to Page, who re-assumed the CEO role, while he went on to become executive chairman. Schmidt later transitioned to become the executive chairman of Alphabet when the holding company was announced in 2015.

Alphabet shares fell slightly in after-hours trading on Thursday to $1,070.79.

Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

4. -- Nike Inc. (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. (NKE) Report  shares fell 2.4% in premarket trading on Friday after fiscal second-quarter earnings topped expectations but growth in the largely saturated U.S. apparel market remains a challenge.

The athletic gear company posted earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $8.55 billion in the second quarter, topping Wall Street forecasts of 40 cents a share on revenue of $8.39 billion. 

While Nike managed to grow in markets like China, the Middle East and Africa, North America sales in the quarter fell 5% from a year earlier to $3.49 billion; analysts expected sales in North America of $3.53 billion, according to FactSet.

5. -- John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John's International Inc. (PZZA) - Get Papa John's International, Inc. Report , resigned from his position effective Jan. 1, following controversial statements he made last month criticizing the National Football League's handling of players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality. 

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said during a call with investors. 

Steve Ritchie, the company's president, will replace Schnatter, the company said.

Papa John's shares rose slightly in after-hours trading on Thursday.

This story has been updated.

More of What's Trending on TheStreet: