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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Asian markets were mostly down in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.90%. Major European indices are lower, and U.S. futures suggest a negative open. Now here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
- China raised interest rates on Saturday, the impact of which is being felt globally this morning. The move is intended to curb inflation in the country. Don’t miss: 17 facts about China that will blow your mind >
- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has admitted his country’s policies on real estate have not worked to slow an increase in prices. The government now intends to expand these programs with new rules to limit speculation. This is why China is actually just a debt burdened builder of bridges to nowhere >
- Crude oil’s surge toward $100 a barrel has slowed as a result of China raising rates. The price has fallen back from a two-year high. Check out SocGen’s guide to commodities in 2011 >
- Japan has released its budget for the year beginning in April, but it includes few cuts significant enough to tackle the country’s deficit. The budget still requires more funding from bond auctions than tax receipts.
- South Korea’s president has called for a unified political front against the threat of North Korea. President Lee says that “solidarity” is the south’s strongest defence against the north. Here are the details of the military threat facing South Korea >
- A massive suicide bomb attack killed 40 in Pakistan on Saturday. The death toll may rise, and it comes amidst increasing attacks on Taliban troops in Pakistan. These are the threats the US Air Force is most concerned about >
- H&R Block has been denied access to refund anticipation loans from HSBC by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The move will inhibit H&R Block’s tax-refund business, and the company says they will have a hard time finding alternatives.
- GE Capital has sold $2 billion in Mexican mortgage holdings to Santander. The move is part of GE Capital’s broader strategy to refocus its holdings around its industrial business.
- A blizzard on the U.S. east coast is restricting travel this morning, with New York’s airports currently closed. Here are photos of the snowstorm that just slammed New York >
- Bonus: Rachel Weisz was seen holding hands with James Bond star Daniel Craig this Christmas weekend. The two have recently exited other relationships.
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