Airlines in focus; Davos awaits Trump; Bitcoin rebounds

s&p futures 01_25_2018
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1. Airlines nosedive: Fears of a looming price war have hit U.S. airline stocks hard.

United Airlines (UAL), which announced that it would do more to compete with budget carriers, saw its stock drop more than 11% on Wednesday. Shares of rivals such as American Airlines (AAL) and Southwest (LUV) dropped 6% and almost 5% respectively, while low-cost airline JetBlue Airways (JBLU) fell more than 2%.

American, JetBlue, Alaska Air and Southwest Air all plan to release earnings before the open on Thursday. Other companies doing so include Caterpillar (CAT), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Raytheon (RTN), 3M (MMM) and Union Pacific (UNP).

E*TRADE (ETFC), Intel (INTC), Starbucks (SBUX) and Western Digital (WDC) are set to release earnings after the close.

2. Davos awaits Trump: President Trump landed in Zurich, Switzerland early Thursday, and will fly on to the mountain resort town of Davos for the World Economic Forum's annual summit.

Trump is set to address the meeting on Friday to push his "America First" agenda. His attendance -- the first by a U.S. president in nearly two decades -- has been the talk of the town all week. World leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron warned against rising protectionism and isolation on Wednesday.

Trump's team have hit the ground running. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the Trump administration is prepared to negotiate an "attractive" trade deal with the U.K. after it leaves the European Union.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to address the summit on Thursday.

U.S. stock futures were steady, while European markets had a mixed opening and Asian markets ended lower.

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3. Bitcoin bounces: Bitcoin continued its gradual rise in Asia on Thursday, with the price holding steady above $11,000 after briefly dipping below $10,000 a day earlier, according to Coindesk.

That's still a far cry from its peak of nearly $20,000 last year -- regulatory threats and warnings in big markets like China and South Korea contributed to a drop of almost 20% in the first weeks of 2018.

Stripe, a digital payments company, said Wednesday that it will soon stop accepting bitcoin transactions, while Axel Weber, chairman of Swiss bank UBS, said he was concerned more regulation could cause a "massive" price drop.

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4. Coming this week:
Thursday -- American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Caterpillar, Intel, Starbucks earnings.
Friday -- Honeywell earnings, Q4 GDP.

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