* Hugo Barra, who recently left Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc., has joined Facebook Inc. to lead to its virtual reality efforts, including its Oculus team, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Barra will work as vice president of virtual reality at the social networking giant, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
* Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. said it removed 1.7 billion ads in 2016 that violated its advertising policies, as compared to more than 780 million ads disabled in 2015. The tech giant also kicked out nearly 200 publishers out of its network permanently, according to an official blog post.
* Apple Inc. filed two lawsuits against Qualcomm Inc. in China, Forbes reports, citing a statement from the Intellectual Property Court in Beijing. The first suit, in which Apple is seeking 1 billion Chinese yuan in damages, accused the chipmaker of violating China's anti-monopoly law, while the second suit seeks a license agreement between the two parties for cellular "standard essential patents."
* Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf assured that the chipmaker will continue to be a supplier for Apple products while the legal dispute continues, TechCrunch.com reports. During the company's earnings conference call, Mollenkopf said the company prefers resolving customer disputes with "negotiation instead of litigation, so it's regrettable Apple has taken this path."
Internet & OTT
* Amazon.com Inc. has been managing shipments destined for its warehouses in the U.S. from Chinese merchants since October 2016, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to shipping documents collected at ports of entry that were compiled by Ocean Audit, the online retailer has managed nearly 150 containers of goods from China, and Amazon has also been posting rates for new services such as sorting, labeling, and trucking shipments.
* Facebook unveiled its new Privacy Basics for the social networking website. According to a post on the company's newsroom section, Privacy Basics features improved functionality and top topics based on the most frequently asked questions about privacy and security.
* In more company news, Facebook will start testing ads in its Messenger app in Australia and Thailand, TechCrunch.com reports. The test will allow businesses to place an ad on the Messenger home screen, according to the report.
* Facebook tweaked its "trending topics" section in a bid to protect users from fake news, according to a company post. From now on, the company will use an improved system to determine what is trending, trending topics will feature a publisher headline below each topic name, and all users in a region will see the same topics.
* Patrick Talamantes stepped down as president and CEO of McClatchy Co. The company said it tapped Craig Forman, a current board member, to succeed Talamantes.
Film & TV Programming
* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s U.K. division purchased an undisclosed equity stake in Potboiler Television, Deadline.com reports. As part of the arrangement, Lions Gate U.K. inked a first-look deal for global distribution of Potboiler's television product, and will also work with producers on expanding their TV slate.
* Comcast Corp.'s Syfy (US) launched a video campaign in partnership with YouTube to promote its show "The Magicians," Multichannel News reports. Syfy and YouTube developed and ran 18 customer spots featuring the show's cast members ahead of the season two premiere.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 1.41% to 23,374.17, and the Nikkei 225 was up 1.81% to 19,402.39.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.16% to 7,175.64, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.01% to 939.62.
On the macro front
The international trade in goods report, the jobless claims report, the Chicago Fed national activity index, the PMI services flash, the new home sales report, the leading indicators, the EIA natural gas report, the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Apple calls India talks 'constructive'; Nokia to boost Asian networks: The statement came after Apple met with the Indian government about expanding its local operations, while Nokia Corp. signed mobile network modernization and extension deals in Bangladesh and Cambodia.
CAPITAL Letters: Newspapers open up about digital challenges: U.S. newspapers' online advertising is not even close to replacing the higher-margin legacy ad revenue lost to the increasingly fragmented digital ad economy. The New York Times recently published a frank look at its efforts to adapt.
Data Dispatch: AMC raises eyebrows with global theater domination: AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.'s latest acquisition solidifies its position as the largest theater chain in the world, but some are showing concerns over the spend.
Wanda's AMC Entertainment to acquire Nordic Cinema Group: In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
The Daily Dose Europe: BT facing US lawsuits; MTG divests FTV Prima stake: British Telecom is facing at least two shareholder lawsuits in the U.S. following the accounting scandal in Italy, while Modern Times Group MTG AB sold its 50% stake in FTV Prima for almost €119 million.
Economics of Advertising: NBC tops broadcasters in December 2016 ratings: NBC (US) boosted its prime-time C3 household rating by 23.1% in December 2016 to 5.50.
Economics of TV & Film: SNL Kagan Box Office Report – Week 4: Weekly box office gross was back to its growing ways in week four. Total box office for the week increased 17.6% from $184.6 million in 2016 to $217.1 million in 2017.
Economics of Advertising: FOX Sports Ohio snaps Southwest's December ratings reign: FOX Sports Ohio (US) (in Cleveland-Akron-Canton) led December's prime-time RSN ratings, which breaks FOX Sports Southwest's four-year reign over the month.
Economics of Networks: Majority of top cable networks end 2016 with declines in traditional subscribers: Subscriber loss trends continued in December, as 29 of the 30 most widely distributed basic cable networks experienced year-over-year declines in 2016.
EBay delivers modest Q4'16 beat on strong holiday sales: Legacy e-commerce company was able to pull off an EPS beat, bringing investors to the table in after-hours speculation.
AT&T CEO felt 'degree of optimism' after Trump meeting: AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson said his recent meeting with President Donald Trump left him with several reasons for optimism.
Meredith sees earnings boost on political ad strength: On the strength of several closely watched down-ballot races, Meredith Co.'s political advertising revenue grew 37%, while total revenues for the fiscal second quarter increased 9%, to $442.6 million.
Verizon swings and misses; eyes turn to telecom titans next up to bat: A busy week for earnings in the communications industry began with Verizon Communications Inc. reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year results from 2016. And things did not begin on a strong note.
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