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MoneyGram, Car Sales and More Records for Wall Street - 5 Things You Must Know

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Jan. 3:

U.S. stock futures pointed to another set of records for Wall Street on Wednesday, Jan. 3, and European stocks rebounded as global markets continued to ride a bullish wave powered by synchronized growth and accelerating corporate profits.

Early indications suggested another record run for U.S. stocks on Wednesday with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 44 points, or 0.18%, while those linked to the S&P 500 gained 4.25 points. The Stoxx 600 Europe index, the region's broadest measure of share prices, rose 0.29%.

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, Jan. 2, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both starting off the new year with record closes. The S&P 500 rose by 0.83% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.5%. The Nasdaq closed above 7,000 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 0.42% on Tuesday.

Commodity prices were spiking Wednesday as the U.S. braces for a major "bomb cyclone" snowstorm that could bring airports and roads to a standstill up and down the eastern seaboard.

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the ISM Manufacturing Index for December at 10 a.m. ET, Construction Spending for November at 10 a.m., and minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's Dec. 13 meeting at 2 p.m. At that meeting, the Federal Reserve's rate-setting body raised interest rates a quarter point and lifted its economic growth forecast for 2018.

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2. -- U.S. Rejects Sale of MoneyGram

The U.S. rejected the sale of money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI - Get Report) to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Ant Financial Services Group.

MoneyGram and Ant Financial failed to obtain approval for the $1.2 billion deal from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States despite "extensive efforts to address the committee's concerns," the companies said in a statement.

"The geopolitical environment has changed considerably since we first announced the proposed transaction with Ant Financial nearly a year ago," said MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes. "Despite our best efforts to work cooperatively with the U.S. government, it has now become clear that CFIUS will not approve this merger."

Why the U.S. government rejected the deal wasn't clear, but it does indicate a heightened American scrutiny of Chinese investment.

MoneyGram shares fell 5.1% in premarket trading on Wednesday.

3. -- Car Sales in U.S. Expected to Fall

U.S. automakers, such as Ford Motor Co. (F - Get Report) and General Motors Co. (GM - Get Report) will be releasing sales for December throughout the day.

New car sales in the U.S. last month are projected to fall nearly 7% from a year earlier, according to estimates from Kelley Blue Book. Every major automaker is expected to report declines, Kelley Blue Book said.


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