10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell


Photo: ap

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

  • Asian markets were down in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite the exception up 1.35%. Major European indices are lower this morning, and U.S. futures suggest a positive open. Now, here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
  • Consumer spending came in higher than expected for December. Read the details here >
  • Protests continue today in Egypt against President Mubarak and his regime. Protesters are planning a massive demonstration tomorrow with the intention of bringing down the President’s regime. Don’t miss: Incredible photos of the Egyptian protests >
  • British and French banks are the most exposed to the crisis in Egypt. Societe Generale and BNP Paribas are both down big in Paris trading today.
  • Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad intends to get out in front of the demand for change in his country by initiating reforms himself. He intends to introduce a new media law and local elections within the country. Here are the 25 governments most exposed to the surge in food prices >
  • Both Japan and South Korea saw industrial production increase in December. Japan’s production increased the most in 11 months, while South Korea grew to a 10 month high.
  • Eurozone inflation came in higher than expected, with a CPI of 2.4% year-over-year for January. Concerns remain that the ECB may need to raise rates to control inflation, particularly in the wake of ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet’s recent comments. Watch for these 10 economic and political risks that could take down the global economy >
  • Ireland’s Central Bank has downgraded the country’s 2011 growth forecast to 1% from 2.4%. That should increase the pressure on Ireland’s leadership ahead of a general election that will question its deal with the EU and IMF for a bailout. For background, here’s how Ireland became the biggest basket case in Europe >
  • Alpha Natural Resources has purchased Massey Energy for $7.1 billion in stock and cash. The deal creates a firm the Alpha’s CEO describes as a top player in the metallurgical coal industry.
  • Chicago PMI data is released at 9:45 AM ET. The business barometer index is expected to fall to 65. Follow the release at Money Game >
  • The big story right now is Egypt, and the expectations of a 1-million person march on Tuesday. See dramatic photos here >
  • Bonus: Charlie Sheen has spent more than half a million dollars on prostitutes and drugs in the last 6 months, according to Radar Online.

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