Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Dec. 24:
1. -- Stock Futures Get Lift From Expected Brexit Deal
Stock futures rose ahead of Thursday's holiday-shortened session, following European markets higher ahead of the expected announcement of a Brexit deal.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 84 points, S&P 500 futures were up 10 points and Nasdaq futures gained 18 points.
Stocks in the U.S. were coming off Wednesday's mixed finish, but the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 index secured record intraday highs as investors expected a coronavirus relief package to get done despite changes demanded by President Donald Trump.
European equities traded higher as the U.K. and European Union were putting the finishing touches on a trade deal that likely will be announced Thursday. A compromise on fishing rights, a sticking point that had held up the agreement in recent days, appeared to have been reached.
The trade agreement will formally complete Britain’s separation from the 27-nation bloc.
2. -- Alibaba Sinks as China Begins Antitrust Probe
U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Report fell more than 7% in premarket trading Thursday after Chinese regulators began an anti-monopoly investigation of the e-commerce giant.
Officials of Ant Group, an online finance platform spun off from Alibaba, also had been summoned to meet with regulators.
The moves by China were regulatory pushes against China’s richest entrepreneur Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba and Ant, as well as part of a larger effort to step up anti-monopoly enforcement. They appear to be especially concerned about tightening control over Alibaba and other dominant internet companies that are expanding into finance, health care and other businesses, the Associated Press reported.
Last month, the Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended the pending $37 billion listing of Ant Group, which would have been the world's biggest initial public offering.
American depositary receipts of Alibaba fell 7.09% in premarket trading to $238.01.
3. -- Square Reportedly Has Held Talks to Buy Jay-Z's Tidal
Dorsey has discussed a potential deal with Jay-Z, the rapper and music mogul who acquired Tidal for $56 million in early 2015, the person told Bloomberg.
Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who also serves as chief executive at Twitter, has ambitions to build Square into a much broader company made up of stand-alone, complementary services, Bloomberg noted. The company's two core products are Cash App and Square Seller.
Square declined to comment for Bloomberg, while Tidal didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Square shares rose 0.75% to $232.40 in premarket trading.
4. -- NYSE and Nasdaq Close Thursday at 1 p.m. ET
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will end trading at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, and be closed on Christmas Day. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommended a 2 p.m. close for bond trading on Thursday.
Crude oil trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange will close at 1:30 p.m. and metals trading, including gold futures, will end at 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
5. -- Nuro Gets First Ever Permit for Self-Driving Vehicles in California
Nuro became the first company to receive a permit to deploy self-driving vehicles on public streets in California.
The permit, the company said in a blog post, will allow the Silicon Valley startup to operate commercially on California roads in two counties near its headquarters in the Bay Area.
Nuro said its delivery service will begin with its fleet of Prius vehicles in fully autonomous mode, followed by the company's custom-designed electric R2 vehicles.
"And now, with this deployment permit we can bring a commercial autonomous delivery service to our friends and neighbors here in the Bay Area," the company said.