10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Scarlett Johansson

Photo: AP

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

  • Asian markets tanked in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite down 2.89%. Major European indices are also lower this morning, and U.S. futures suggest a lower open. Now, here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
  • Initial jobless claims came in way better than expected. Check out the details here >
  • China’s Q4 GDP growth came in stronger than expected, at 9.8%. The country’s CPI for December came in just in line with expectations, at 4.6%. The Shanghai Composite tanked overnight on concerns the country would need to put more tightening measures in place. Don’t miss: 17 facts about China that will blow your mind >
  • Ireland’s economic think tank has cut its growth forecast to 1.5% for 2011, after calling for 2.25% growth just three weeks ago. Export sector growth is expected to continue, but domestic demand is likely to continue to be weak. These may be the next dominos to fall in Europe >
  • European leaders are putting together a strategy for Greece and Ireland to be able to write down part of their debts. The European Financial Stability Fund would purchase the country’s debt and provide loans in return. Here’s who gets pounded when Greek debt holders take their haircut >
  • Spain is planning a new round of funding for its cajas, or regional banks, in a effort to support their balance sheets. The government is waiting on information relating to banking sector exposure to the country’s real estate sector before announcing the size of the package. This is why Spain’s debt crisis is so worrying >
  • eBay’s Q4 earnings beat expectations, with revenue climbing 5%, year-over-year, for the firm. The sale of Skype is still having a negative impact, but gains from PayPal impressed. Less impressively, F5 Networks plunged after ours after a mediocre report. That was one company that was expected to smash earnings estimates >
  • President Obama’s job approval rating has surged to 53 from 45 due to his accommodative policies in the wake of Republican success in the mid-term elections. The President’s state of the union address is next week.
  • Existing home sales data beat expectations. Check out the details here >
  • The Philly Fed Survey came in below expectations at a 19.3. Check out the details here >
  • Bonus: Scarlett Johansson and Sandra Bullock “hugged” and dined together on Golden Globes night in the wake of Bullock dating Johansson ex Ryan Reynolds.

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