10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Jessica Simpson

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.32%. European indices are mostly higher, while futures in the U.S. suggest a positive open. Check out the unusual stocks attracting interest this morning >
  • Initial jobless claims beat expectations, coming in at 421,000. Read analysis here >
  • Chinese and North Korean officials have met and the two “reached important consensus” on affairs involving security on the Korean Peninsula. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff remains in the region, discussing security affairs with Japan and South Korea. Here are the devastating capabilities of North Korea everyone is frightened of >
  • Japanese GDP grew faster than originally reported, rising 1.1% in Q3, rather than the originally projected 0.9%. It is likely growth will slow in Q4, however.
  • Chinese demand for automobiles spiked in November, setting a record with a 29.3% increase. Current government incentives for car purchases are now set to expire, so consumers in China are likely rushing these purchases. Check out why China is really just a debt-burdened builder of bridges to nowhere >
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responded to sharp criticism from Jean-Claude Juncker, saying talking about a euro bond solution to the crisis isn’t helping things. Juncker suggested the Germany was being “simple” for not considering the option. Here are the next dominos to fall in Europe >
  • Attacks on commercial websites that have refused payment to WikiLeaks continue this morning, with the Swedish Government’s website under attack today. Yesterday, both MasterCard and Visa’s websites were attacked. Check out the greatest hits of the hackers that took down MasterCard >
  • Bond markets in the U.S. were slammed yesterday, in the biggest Treasury selloff since Lehman Brothers. The municipal bond market was also hit due to fears over the future of the Build America Bond program. Check out this walkthrough of an America one step away from an inflationary nightmare >
  • The Treasury and AIG have announced plans to start selling the government’s position in the company. The first such sale will be worth at minimum, $15 billion, and occur in Q1 2011.
  • The latest data on U.S. home prices from Zillow shows a $1.7 trillion fall in prices from 2009, to 2010. That’s $700 billion more than the fall from 2008, to 2009. Here’s why Bill Ackman thinks now may be the time to buy a house >
  • Bonus: Jessica Simpson will “definitely” have a prenuptial agreement with soon to be husband Eric Johnson.

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