10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Nicole Kidman

Photo: AP

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

  • Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading, with India’s BSE up 1.11%. Major European indices are all higher this morning, and U.S. futures suggest a positive open on all indices but the NASDAQ. Now, here are the 10 unsual stocks you need to watch this morning >
  • The Empire State Manufacturing came in slightly below expectations. Check out the details here >
  • Apple shares are rising in German trading this morning, a day after the firm announced its CEO, Steve Jobs, would be going on a medical leave of absence. Shares are still expected to open lower this morning in the U.S. with the firm reporting earnings after the bell. Apple is one of the most popular investment ideas for 2011 >
  • Germany continues to argue for a delay in the expansion of the eurozone’s bailout fund, with its finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble vocal at the finance ministers meeting. It is now expected that any decision on the fund’s expansion will be delayed until March. Here’s Citigroup’s guide to why all governments are in trouble >
  • Economic expectations rocketed in Germany, from 4.3 in December to 15.4 in January. This is near double what markets were expecting. Check out Morgan Stanley’s European investment trends to watch in 2011 >
  • Inflation in the UK surged to a 3.7% annual rate in December, above expectations for a 3.3% rate. The month’s inflation report showed records for an increase in transportation costs, food costs, and household costs breaking records. Check out the emerging markets inflation that’s panicking investors worldwide >
  • Comerica is acquiring Sterling Bancshares in an all stock transaction valued at $1.03 billion. The deal will see Comerica expand its operations in Texas.
  • President Obama has launched a new initiative aimed at reforming U.S. regulation to be more pro-business in a piece in the Wall Street Journal. The move continues the President’s overt public shift to be more accommodative to business interests.
  • The FCC looks close to approving Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal from General Electric. The deal could be confirmed as soon as today.
  • The death toll in Brazil’s floods has risen to 655, with an additional 14,000 people now displaced or made homeless by mudslides or floods. The floods are impacting the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. This is what the massive floods in Brazil look like >
  • Bonus: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have a new baby girl. Their biological daughter was born by a surrogate mother, according to Us Weekly.

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