Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Jan. 9:
1. -- Stocks Drive Higher on Trade Talks Progress
U.S. stock futures rose on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and global stocks extended gains as investors continued to drive equities higher amid further signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.
Officials from the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer added a third day to this week's face-to-face talks in Beijing. Extending the talks to a third day showed both sides were "serious," said China's Foreign Ministry.
U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, told reporters the talks went "just fine," adding "it's been a good one for us." China's state-run newspaper, the China Daily, said the government's aim was to find a lasting solution without making "unreasonable concessions" and that "any agreement has to involve give and take from both sides."
The trade talk progress helped lift stocks in Asia to their highest levels since mid-December, with the Nikkei 225 rising 1.1% on Wednesday and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumping 2.3%.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 5.75 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 23.75 points. Stocks in the U.S. rose for a third straight day on Tuesday, lifted by optimism over the trade talks.
2. -- Donald Trump Calls Situation at Mexico Border a 'Security Crisis'
Donald Trump, in a prime-time television address to the nation Tuesday evening, called for support for his long-promised border wall - an issue that has prompted the partial shutdown of the federal government - but stopped short of declaring a national emergency at the border with Mexico.
Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump explained why he views the situation at the Mexico border as a "growing humanitarian and security crisis," and said he wouldn't sign any government funding bill that doesn't include money for the border wall.
Trump claimed illegal drugs were flooding across the border and related stories of crime by illegal aliens and of human trafficking. The situation is "a crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul," he said.
He said his administration's proposal includes new technology, improved border security, and increased personnel. It also includes $5.7 billion for the physical barrier - "a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall," Trump said.
Trump said he has invited congressional leadership to the White House on Wednesday to negotiate a deal for border security that would end the government shutdown, which is heading into its third week and is days from becoming the longest in U.S. history.
Speaking moments after Trump made his case for the wall, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump's rhetoric has been "full of misinformation and even malice."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said America's symbol "should be the Statute of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall." He accused Trump of trying to "stoke fear and divert attention" from his tumultuous administration.
3. -- Apple CEO Insists XR Is 'Most Popular' iPhone
Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose 1.2% in premarket trading on Wednesday after CEO Tim Cook insisted the iPhone XR remained its most popular product even as reports suggested the tech giant will slash production for new models this quarter amid slowing demand.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported Wednesday that Apple has asked suppliers to cut production for the iPhone XS and the XS Max, as well as the iPhone XR, by around 10% for the three months ending in March, a reduction it said would take overall iPhone production to between 40 million and 43 million units for Apple's fiscal second quarter. Apple sold around 52.2 million units over the same period last year, but said in its earnings call last November that it would no longer break out iPhones sales data from its broader revenue reporting.
Cook, however, insisted the iPhone XR "has been the most popular iPhone every day, every single day, from when we started shipping, until now."
"I mean, do I want to sell more? Of course I do, of course I'd like to sell more," he told TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer, on CNBC's "Mad Money" program late Tuesday. "We're working on that. But in terms of the product itself, it's an incredibly innovative product. It has a bunch of advanced technologies in it from the chip with the neural engine to security embedded to an edge-to-edge liquid retina display, the first in the industry, longest battery life ever in an iPhone."
4. -- FOMC Minutes Lead Wednesday's Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes minutes from the Dec. 18-19 meeting of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m. ET. The Fed raised rates for the fourth time in 2018 at the meeting but did signal it expects to slow rate hikes in 2019.
Ahead of the release of the minutes, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren have speaking engagements.
Lennar Corp. (LEN) earned an adjusted $1.96 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, 3 cents higher than analysts' estimates. Home deliveries rose 64% to 14,154 but came in below forecasts.
5. -- J.C. Penney Reports Drop in Holiday Sales
J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) rose 2.5% to $1.24 in after-hours trading on Tuesday after reporting that same-store sales fell 3.5% during the holiday period and that it would start three preliminary store closures in the spring.
The struggling retailer said it will "initiate three preliminary store closings this spring as part of an ongoing evaluation of its store portfolio occurring over the next few months."
J.C. Penney said it would provide an update on future store closings Feb. 28, when it reports fiscal fourth-quarter results.
In a statement on its website, J.C. Penney "reaffirmed its expectations to generate positive free cash flow in fiscal 2018, reduce inventory in excess of $225 million or 8% and expects to end the year with liquidity in excess of $2 billion."