1. Retailers go to Washington: The chief executives of major retailers including Target(, )JCPenney(, )Best Buy( and )Gap( willtravel to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. )
They’re making the trip to lobby against a “border adjustment tax” proposed by congressional Republicans.
Retailers are particularly vulnerable to such a tax because they sell a high volume of imported items — clothes, electronics or general merchandise — that could be made more expensive under the proposal.
2. Unstoppable stocks?: U.S. stocks keep hitting fresh record highs.
Over the past four trading days, the Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have consistently climbed to new heights.
U.S. stock futures are holding steady on Wednesday. Even a small move higher at the open would mean more records.
European markets are mostly positive in early trading.
Asian markets are mixed.
The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve — Janet Yellen — could give the markets a direction when she testifies before Congress for a second consecutive day starting at 10 a.m. ET.
On Tuesday, Yellen signaled in her testimony that the next interest rate hike could come as early as March.
3. Stocks to watch — Fortress, Health care, AIG: Shares in asset manager Fortress Investment Group( are surging in extended trading after it agreed to be bought by the Japanese firm SoftBank. The deal is worth $ 3.3 billion in cash. )
Shares in Cigna( and )Anthem( could be on the move after Cigna said on Tuesday it’s )calling off its $ 54 billion deal with Anthem.
The announcement came hours after Aetna( and )Humana( said they were calling off their $ 34 billion merger. )
Both deals were targeted by the Justice Department and were recently blocked by federal judges, citing antitrust concerns.
Shares in American International Group( are dropping in extended trading as investors react to worse-than-expected quarterly results. The company reported a $ 3 billion loss on Tuesday. Analysts had been expecting a profit. )
4. Earnings and economics:PepsiCo(, )Groupon( and )Hilton Hotels( are the main firms reporting earnings before the open Wednesday. )
Cisco Systems(Tech30), , TripAdvisor(, )GoDaddy(, )CBS( and )Kraft Heinz( are set to release results after the close. )
On the economic front, the Census Bureau will released retail sales data for January at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists will want to see if increased consumer confidence translated into more shopping.
Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its January inflation report at 8:30 a.m.
5. Coming this week:
Wednesday – Cisco(Tech30) and , Kraft Heinz( earnings )
Thursday – Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder has his Senate confirmation hearing; Wendy’s( earnings )
Friday – Campbell Soup( and )Deere( earnings; )Wells Fargo()CEO expected to answer Senate’s letter about its latest controversies