The daily business briefing: January 2, 2018

U.S. stock futures fall after more disappointing data from China, Netflix pulls a comedy show episode after Saudi Arabia complains, and more

Hasan Minhaj in 2018
(Image credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

1. U.S. stock futures fall ahead of first day of trading in 2019

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped sharply early Wednesday after a private sector survey, China's Caixan/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, showed that manufacturing activity in the world's second largest economy fell to 49.7 in December from 50.2 the month before, the first such contraction in 19 months. "That showed external demand remained subdued due to the trade frictions between China and the U.S., while domestic demand weakened more notably," wrote Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin. The news sent Dow futures falling by more than 1 percent. Futures for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also fell by more than 1 percent.

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