Here are 10 things you should know for Tuesday, Dec. 17:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a mixed start for Wall Street on Tuesday, the day the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting to discuss when or if the central bank will taper the stimulus programs that have helped boost the U.S. economy.
European stocks were trading lower. Asian shares finished the session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8% to 15,278.63.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the Consumer Price Index for November at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the NAHB Housing Market Index for December at 10 a.m.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Monday rose on positive economic data. Investors spent the trading day speculating on whether the Fed could reduce the size of its bond-buying stimulus program on signs that the economy is improving.
The S&P 500 rose 0.63% to close at 1,786.54 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.82% to close at 15,884.57. The Nasdaq closed up 0.71% at 4,029.52.
4.-- Aerospace giant Boeing (BA) said Monday it would increase its stock buyback program by $10 billion and boost its quarterly dividend by about 50% to 73 cents a share from 48.5 cents.
Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said the moves reflect Boeing's operational performance, increasing cash flow and confidence in the future.
The increase in the buyback program is in addition to the $800 million remaining in Boeing's current plan. purchase program. Boeing will resume buying back its own stock in January and it expects repurchases to be made over the next two to three years.
Boeing shares rose $1.78, or 1.8%, to $136.50 in after-hours trading on Monday.
5.-- Comcast (CMCSA) is examining three scenarios for a potential deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC), including a full takeover bid for the second-largest cable operator, people close to the situation told Reuters.
Comcast, the biggest cable provider, also is considering whether it could buy some selective Time Warner Cable markets or team up with another cable company besides Charter Communications (CHTR) to bid for all of Time Warner Cable, the people told Reuters.
Comcast's potential entry in the bidding for Time Warner Cable could complicate months-long efforts by Charter and its largest shareholder, Liberty Media, to acquire Time Warner Cable, Reuters noted.
The ads will play automatically in users' news feeds. Facebook plans to make the announcement on Tuesday and the ads will begin on Thursday on users' feeds both on the Web and on smartphones, the people familiar with the matter told the Journal.
How long the ads will be is unknown, the Journal said. The newspaper previously reported Facebook planned to offer ads of up to 15 seconds on both smartphones and the Web.
7.-- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the U.K. drugmaker, will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, the company's CEO, Andrew Witty, told The New York Times in a phone interview.
The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company, the Times noted, and it effectively ends two common industry practices that critics have called conflicts of interest.
The change comes months after GlaxoSmithKline was hit by an ongoing investigation of alleged bribery by its employees in China.
The potential acquisition was discussed in comments made by GoPago Chief Technology Officer Vincenzo di Nicola in Italian newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, the Journal said. Reached by the Journal, di Nicola declined to comment further.
GoPago is based in San Francisco. It provides checkout registers and mobile apps to merchants to process credit card payments and provide data analysis.
9.-- VeriFone Systems (PAY) is expected by analysts on Tuesday to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 26 cents a share on revenue of $421.5 million.
10.-- U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon declared Monday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records likely violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable search.
Even if the NSA's "metadata" collection of records should pass constitutional muster, the judge said, there is little evidence it has ever prevented a terrorist attack. The collection program was disclosed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.
The judge stayed his opinion until an expected government appeal is heard; the appeal could take six months.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel