Disney and Fox; Net neutrality; More stocks records

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1. Media deal: Disney is widely expected to announce Thursday that it will purchase a major chunk of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment empire.

If the deal shapes up as reported, it will shake the media industry to its core.

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Disney (DIS) is expected to buy Fox’s movie studio, its regional sports networks, the cable channels FX and National Geographic as well as Star India and Fox’s stake in European pay-TV provider Sky.

Fox (FOX) would keep its news divisions including Fox News and Fox Business, as well as its broadcast network and the local stations it owns and the cable channel Fox Sports.

Yet there are many outstanding questions: What does the deal mean for Disney CEO Bob Iger? And how will it shape Murdoch’s legacy?

2. Net neutrality decision: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote Thursday on a repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections.

Net neutrality rules bar internet providers like Comcast (CCVCL) and AT&T (T) from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites and apps in order to prioritize their own content.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plan would lift those bans — and likely boost those companies. (AT&T is in the process of acquiring Time Warner, which owns CNN.)

Democrats have called on the FCC to delay the vote.

3. Central bank time: The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday. Investors attention now turns to the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

The central banks are not expected to announce rate hikes, but investors will be looking for hints on their strategy for the coming year.

4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were higher.

European markets opened mostly lower, while Asian markets ended mixed.

The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record high and moved closer to 25,000 on Wednesday after Congressional leaders struck a tentative tax overhaul deal. The index added 0.3%.

The S&P 500 closed flat and the Nasdaq gained 0.2%.

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5. Earnings and economics: Costco (COST), Adobe (ADBE) and Oracle (ORCL) will release their results after the closing bell.

The U.S. Census Bureau will publish data on November retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The International Energy Agency said it expects U.S. oil production to rise again in 2018. It predicts that global supply will grow at faster rate than demand next year.

“2018 may not necessarily be a happy New Year for those who would like to see a tighter market,” the agency said in a report.

There’s more good news in Germany: The IFO Institute has raised its growth forecast for 2018 from 2% to 2.6%

“The German economy is in great shape,” said IFO President Clemens Fuest.

European Union leaders are gathering for a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. High on their agenda: Brexit.

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6. Coming this week:

Thursday — November U.S. retail sales; Bank of England rate decision; European Central Bank decision; Costco (COST) and Oracle (ORCL) earnings; IEA oil report; EU summit
Friday — EU Summit

CNNMoney (London) First published December 14, 2017: 5:00 AM ET

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