Dow Futures, Netflix, BMW, Uber and Lyft - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

U.S. stock futures rise modestly as Wall Street continues its record run in a holiday-shortened trading week; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will see a pay bump to $34.7 million in 2020; BMW confirms it's being investigated by the SEC; Uber and Lyft get a win in New York City.
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1. -- Stock Futures Rise Modestly With More Records in Sight

U.S. stock futures were up modestly Tuesday as Wall Street continues its record run in a holiday-shortened trading week.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 2.80 points and Nasdaq futures gained 7.50 points.

Stocks closed Monday at record highs on optimism that a "phase one" trade agreement between the U.S. and China would be signed soon, and after the Dow got a lift from a rise in Boeing (BA) - Get Report, following the firing of the plane maker's CEO amid the 737 MAX fallout.

The S&P 500 finished Monday's session at a record high - its third straight - and the Nasdaq closed at a record high for the ninth consecutive trading day.

“Right now, a lot of people have gone home for the year and the path of least resistance is higher,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It’s hard to see any kind of meaningful trend change between now and the end of the year.”

2. -- Stock Markets Close at 1 p.m. ET on Christmas Eve

The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index for December at 10 a.m. ET. 

The earnings calendar Tuesday is light and the Christmas week will see few reports.

Stock markets in the U.S. will close at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday (Christmas Eve) and will be be closed for Christmas Day on Wednesday.

3. -- Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' 2020 Pay to Rise to $34.7 Million

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report, will receive $34 million in stock options in 2020 on top of his annual salary of $650,000, the streaming company said in a regulatory filing.

Hastings' compensation package for 2019 was set at $31.5 million.

Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, will be granted $14.65 million in stock options, plus his salary of $20 million. Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann will receive $5.5 million in stock options on top of his $6.05 million salary.

Shares of Netflix have risen more than 24% so far in 2019. The stock has gained more than 4,100% over the past decade, the best-performing stock in the S&P 500.

4. -- BMW Acknowledges It's Under SEC Investigation

Germany luxury carmaker BMW acknowledged it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission but wouldn't comment on specifics of the probe following a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The SEC has been looking into whether BMW manipulated sales figures by engaging in a practice known as sales punching in the United States, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Sales punching occurs when a company boosts sales figures by having dealers register cars as sold when the vehicles actually remain on car lots, the Journal explained.

“We have been contacted by the SEC and will cooperate fully with their investigation,” a spokesman told Journal.

CNBC, citing Automotive News, reported that in 2016 then-BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch reportedly said sales punching wasn't an ideal practice, “but it happens.” In January 2017, the company also said it had ended such practices, according to Automotive News.

5. -- Judge Blocks New York Law That Would Have Limited 'Cruising' for Uber and Lyft  

A New York state judge struck down a New York City rule that would have limited how much time Uber (UBER) - Get Report, Lyft (LYFT) - Get Report and other for-hire vehicles could spend without passengers in the busiest parts of the city.

State Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank called the city’s cruising cap “arbitrary and capricious.” The rule was expected to take effect in 2020.

Mayor Bill de Blasio in August said a rule would be instituted requiring the app companies to have drivers cruising in Manhattan’s busiest areas without passengers only 31% of the time by August 2020, down from the 41% of the time city officials said they were at the time. The city said there would be sanctions for the companies if they didn’t reach that target.

The rule would have started in February, with the cap going down to 36%, according to the Associated Press.

The city’s mayor’s office told Reuters it was reviewing its legal options, including an appeal.