10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Posted by Business Insider

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Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
  • Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.69%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.61% Monday, and finished 2013 up 57%. India’s BSE Sensex was off 0.24%. Markets in Europe were lower, with Germany’s DAX down most at 0.15%. U.S. stock futures were pointing higher.
  • There’ve now been two attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in less than 24 hours. On Sunday, a bomb ripped through a train station, killing 17 and injuring 50. Then on Monday, another bomb went off on a trolleybus, killing 14. The incidents raise “fears of further attacks ahead of the Winter Olympics which are due to start in six weeks,” the FT says. Volgograd is about 15 hours north of Sochi.
  • The oldest bank in the world is on the verge of collapsing and being nationalized. Banca Monte dei Paschi, which Italy has previously bailed out, has been unable to raise funds to cover $4.1 billion it owes the government. “The bank’s chairman and its chief executive may resign following the unprecedented clash with the main shareholder in the Siena-based lender, a charitable banking foundation with close ties to local politicians,” Reuters says.
  • China says it’s putting any future meetings with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on ice after Abe’s visit to a controversial shrine last week, Reuters reports. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing that “Abe has himself shut the door on talks with Chinese leaders.” “Since assuming office, Abe has miscalculated on Sino-Japan ties, and made mistake after mistake, especially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine which houses ‘Class A’ war criminals. These people are fascists, the Nazis of Asia,” he said.
  • Blackstone is investing $200 million in struggling footwear maker Crocs. The investment takes the form of a preferred stock purchase, and which will see Blackstone will take control of 13% of the company, as well as two seats on its board. “Crocs considered selling the whole company to private-equity firms this year,” Marketwatch said. “Blackstone envisions Crocs closing some U.S. stores, making inroads in Asia and offering new products, a person familiar with the firm’s thinking said.”
  • The most accurate oil forecasters in 2013 see a second year of losses for long investors in 2014, Bloomberg reports. ““We’re expecting a surplus,” said David Bouckhout, the senior commodity strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank in Calgary who was tied with two others for most accurate forecaster. North American “supply growth is going to remain robust and cover the expected increase in demand. The biggest concern for 2014 on the supply side is going to be Iran, while Iraq is another producer that certainly wants to see its production grow.”
  • A large number of German youths “don’t even know what the word ‘inflation” means,” according to the BdB banking lobby in Berlin reported by Bloomberg. Reporter Brigit Jennen also interviews a guy who recalls living through Weimar. “Ninety years after a generation’s savings were wiped out, the German preoccupation with inflation is giving way,” Jennen writes. “A Hamburg University study published by the Bundesbank shows that any anxiety that inflation will erode savings is concentrated among senior citizens, the unemployed and those on lower incomes. The majority surveyed anticipate inflation at about 2 percent in the coming 12 months.”
  • It looks like U.S. manufacturing growth will accelerate in 2014. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires expect the Institute for Supply Management’s December survey, which prints Thursday, to climb for the seventh-straight month, Marketwatch says. “That would still leave the index at a level normally consistent with strong growth in manufacturing output and employment,” Capital Economics analysts wrote in a research note.
  • At 10 am the National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index. Consensus is for a gain of 1.5%, versus a decline of 0.6% prior. Then at 10:30 am we get the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing survey. Expectations are for a reading of 4.0 versus 1.9 prior.
  • Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is said to be fighting for his life after a skiing accident in the French alps left him in a coma. “For the moment we cannot say what Michael Schumacher’s future is,” the presiding physician said.

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