Hello friends and Fortune readers.
After the Dow dropped 331 points Monday, chalking up its worst day in three months, U.S. stock futures have been relatively quiet this morning. European and Asian markets haven’t been so lucky though, and Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index fell 3% overnight as global markets continued to react to oil’s slump below $50 per barrel to levels not seen since April 2009. Oil prices are still sliding this morning, at one stage sinking below the $49 level.
Elsewhere, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is in full swing today in Las Vegas, with a number of tech announcements expected. On Monday, Mercedes unveiled what looks like a lounge on four wheels.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Congress convenes.
The 114th session of Congress kicks off today. Republicans have control of both the House and the Senate for the next two years, the first time the party has held dual majorities since 2007. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aims to prioritize the Keystone XL pipeline approval, a long-time goal for Republicans. The Speaker of the House will be voted on today, and John Boehner is likely to be re-elected to the post. Also on the agenda for the new session: confirmations of U.S. attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch and defense secretary nominee Ashton Carter.
For more, read Tory Newmyer’s handy business guide to Washington.
2. Coach walks off with Stuart Weitzman.
In a move designed to further diversify the handbag maker’s sales, Coach has agreed to pay as much as $574 million to buy women’s footwear maker Stuart Weitzman, scooping up the asset from Sycamore Partners. Under the terms of the deal, Coach will pay about $530 million in cash for the footwear company, with up to $44 million in future payments due to Sycamore Partners if certain revenue targets are achieved over the three years following the close of the acquisition.
3. Verizon could be eyeing up AOL.
The telecom giant has made overtures towards AOL, hoping to discuss a possible purchase, or a joint venture, according to reports. AOL (AOL) owns a range of media properties, including Huffington Post and TechCrunch, but Verizon (VZ) is most interested in the online company’s automated digital advertising platforms, according to Bloomberg. Interestingly, Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of the $186 billion AOL-Time Warner merger announcement — the largest merger of all time that was ultimately unsuccessful.
4. Sony chief finally comments on hacking.
Sony (SNE) CEO Kazuo Hirai has condemned the Sony Pictures hack, calling it “one of the most vicious and malicious cyber attacks that we have known.” His comments came during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and they mark the first time Hirai has spoken publicly on November’s attack. The CEO credited Sony Pictures employees for working “literally 24 hours a day, sometimes for days on end” to release The Interview online following threats of violence if movie theaters screened the film.
5. SpaceX launch scratched again.
SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, once again delayed its fifth supply mission to the International Space Station. The launch was delayed last month following technical concerns, and it was set for another go Tuesday morning, but was halted with just one minute remaining in the countdown. No explanation was immediately given for the launch abort. The company is attempting to land its 13-story rocket booster on an ocean barge. If successful, Musk could transform the space travel industry, making launches more affordable by reusing the $54 million booster.