Nov. 19 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Tuesday, Nov. 19:

1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a weak start for Wall Street on Tuesday following comments from investor Carl Icahn that the stock market could "easily have a big drop."

Icahn's comments came Monday during the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit.

Icahn said valuations are too rich and many corporate earnings are a "mirage."

European stocks were moving lower. Asian shares finished Tuesday's session lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 0.3%.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the third-quarter Employment Cost Index at 8:30 a.m. EST.

3.--U.S. stocks on Monday closed short of record highs Monday as investors weighed China's announcements to pursue economic reforms in its banking sector and ease its decades-old one-child policy.

News of the reforms pushed the Dow  Jones Industrial Average above 16,000 for the first time at nearly the same moment as the  S&P 500 attained a previously untouched 1,800 level. 

The S&P 500 pulled back on Monday to close down 0.38% to 1,791.36. The Dow rose 0.07% to 15,973.26, while the Nasdaq slid 0.93% to 3,948.77.

4.--  JPMorgan Chase  ( JPM) agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice of multiple criminal and civil investigations of its mortgage lending and sales activities, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the report -- filed Monday evening and citing unnamed sources -- the nation's largest bank by total assets agreed as part of the settlement to pay $4 billion "to help distressed homeowners." This assistance will include principal write-downs of between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion for borrowers whose mortgage loans are held by JPMorgan Chase, with loan balances exceeding the value of the collateral homes. Another $300 million to $500 million will be allocated to restructuring loans to reduce monthly payments.

A public announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday, the Journal reported.

5.-- Home Depot (HD), the nation's No. 1 home-improvement retailer, is expected by analysts to report on Tuesday third-quarter earnings of 90 cents a share on revenue of $19.18 billion. A year earlier, Home Depot posted profit of 74 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $18.13 billion.

6.-- Microsoft (MSFT) meets with shareholders Tuesday and although the meeting is expected to be routine it will be the last for CEO Steve Ballmer, who is retiring.

The software giant's next CEO isn't expected to be named at the meeting. Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia (NOK) CEO Stephen Elop have been mentioned as possible replacements for Ballmer.

7.-- Dropbox, the online-storage service, is raising a funding round that could value it at more than $8 billion, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The talks with investors to raise around $250 million are still early and no valuation has been agreed upon, said a person familiar with the discussions.

An $8 billion valuation for Dropbox would double the $4 billion worth that investors placed on the company in late 2011, the Journal said, despite figures that reveal the company's revenue growth is decelerating..

8.-- Electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) is forecast by Wall Street to report Tuesday earnings of 12 cents a share in the third quarter on revenue of $9.36 billion. Last year, Best Buy reported profit excluding restructuring and other costs of 3 cents per share on revenue of $10.75 billion.

9.-- (CRM) posted Monday a narrower third-quarter loss but said it expects fourth-quarter adjusted earnings below Wall Street forecasts.

Salesforce, the customer-management software maker, predicted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 5 cents to 6 cents a share, below analysts' forecasts of 7 cents. The company said revenue would range between $1.12 billion and $1.13 billion; analysts expect $1.12 billion.

10.-- "Selfie" -- the smartphone self-portrait -- has been declared word of the year for 2013, according to Britain's Oxford University Press. The word beat other buzzwords such as "twerk," "showrooming," and "Bitcoin," the virtual currency that soared to above $900 on Tuesday before pulling back.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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