Stock Futures Point to Fresh Records for Major Indexes
- U.S. stock futures rose Tuesday, suggesting that the major indexes may notch fresh records after the market opens.
- Futures linked to the S&P; 500 climbed almost 1%, signaling that the broad market gauge is likely to erase its muted losses from Monday and extend the November rally.
- The S&P; 500 ended last week at an all-time high last week, its 26th for this year.
School Shutdowns Weigh on Test Results
- American children performed nearly as well on average this fall as last fall on a widely used test in reading, but achievement slowed in math since the coronavirus shut schools in the spring, a nationwide report on test results shows.
- The report, released Tuesday, looked at results for nearly 4.4 million public-school children in grades three through eight who took the online tests at school and from home.
- It found most students made progress in reading and math since the pandemic started, though their gains in math were slower...
Exxon Slashes Spending, Writes Down Assets
- Exxon Mobil Corp.
- is retreating from a plan to increase spending to boost its oil and gas production by 2025 and preparing to slash the book value of its assets by up to $20 billion, as the struggling company reassesses its next decade.
- The Texas oil giant, which has lost more than $2.3 billion over the first three quarters of this year after the coronavirus wreaked havoc on fossil-fuel demand, released a reduced spending outlook Monday for the next five years.
- It now plans to spend $19 billion or less next year and $20 billion...
Iran Nuclear Scientist Was Killed With ‘New Method,’ Tehran Says
- The Iranian nuclear scientist killed last week was ambushed in a remotely controlled operation, the country’s top security official said Monday, describing an audacious attack that Tehran has blamed on Israel.
- The scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was traveling with his wife on Friday, the Iranian weekend, from the tranquil northern town of Rostamkola to Absard, a small town of cool weather and luxurious villas east of Tehran that is a popular vacation spot with the capital’s elite.
- Entering Absard, the scientist’s four-car convoy took a U-turn on the highway around 2:30 p.m., and continued toward town.
- The convoy came under fire from a machine gun mounted on a Nissan pickup truck, which sprayed Mr. Fakhrizadeh’s car with bullets, leaving him wounded in the side and the back, with his spine severed, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.
For Covid Long-Haulers, a Little-Known Diagnosis Offers Possible Treatments—and New Challenges
- Some patients with long-term Covid symptoms are getting more potential treatment options as doctors diagnose them with a little-known syndrome called POTS.
- It’s a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that can have a variety of causes, and it existed before Covid.
- One common trigger is an infection, such as a virus.
- Now some doctors believe that the coronavirus is triggering the disorder in some people, providing an explanation for debilitating symptoms including dramatically elevated heart rates from small movements, dizziness...
Bitcoin Price Hits All-Time High of $19,786, Topping 2017 Record
- Bitcoin surged Monday to set its first fresh record in nearly three years, driven by a wave of new investors lured by the potential for big profits.
- The digital currency rose as high as $19,786.24, up 8.4% on the day.
- That topped the previous intraday record of $19,783.21 set Dec. 18, 2017, according to CoinDesk.
- Bitcoin has nearly tripled in 2020 and is up 97% since early September.
- Most recently, it traded at $19,283.
Facebook Nears Purchase of Startup Valued at $1 Billion
- Facebook Inc. said it would buy Kustomer, a startup that specializes in customer-service platforms and chatbots, part of an effort by the social-media giant to help companies use its platforms to do business.
- Facebook announced the deal in a posting Monday, confirming an earlier report by The Wall Street Journal.
- Though terms weren’t disclosed, people familiar with the matter said it would value New York-based Kustomer at a little over $1 billion.
The Franchise Relationship that Powers Small Business Is Fraying
- Franchisees and executives at burger chains, hotels and fruit-basket shops used to count on chummy relations to bolster their businesses.
- Those days are over.
- Stressed by the hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic, store owners and corporate bosses at Subway, Econo Lodge and other companies are bickering publicly as never before.
Here’s Where Biden Will Face Early Foreign-Policy Decisions
- A rule of thumb in Washington says that when a president is hemmed in by Congress and domestic political constraints, he still can find freedom of action on the international stage.
- This rule often applies at the end of a president’s term, as his domestic influence wanes.
- In the case of President-elect Joe Biden, it actually may apply at the outset of his term.
- Depending on the outcome of two Senate runoff races in Georgia, he may face a Congress divided between the two parties, and narrowly so.
Facebook Nears Purchase of Startup in Deal That Values It at $1 Billion
- Facebook Inc. is nearing a deal to buy Kustomer, a startup that specializes in customer-service platforms and chatbots, according to people familiar with the matter.
- The deal, which could be completed as soon as Monday afternoon assuming talks don’t fall apart, would value New York-based Kustomer at a little over $1 billion, the people said.
- Closely held Kustomer was valued at $710 million in a private funding round roughly a year ago, according to PitchBook.