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 higher in overnight trading, with the Nikkei up 1.06%. Major European indices are mixed, and U.S. futures suggest a higher open. See 10 Unusual Stocks Attracting Huge Interest In The Pre-Market Right Now >
  • Retail sales data came in better than expected, at 1.2%. Check out the details here >
  • Japanese GDP growth came in better than expected for Q3 at an annualized 3.9%. Government incentive programs had a large impact in driving spending. 
  • China looks set to normalize the shipment of rare earths to Japan, after slowing exports to protect domestic supplies. Shipments had been slowed since a conflict over disputed islands disrupted relations between the two countries. Here are the details on the dispute that started the embargo >
  • BHP Billiton has ended its bid for Potash after the Canadian government rejected its $39 billion offer. BHP will now offer a stock buyback program worth $4.2 billion. Here’s why BHP’s bid just didn’t cut it >
  • Greece’s government deficit to GDP ratio for 2009 has been bumped up to 15.4% from the original 13.6%. Eurostat found the country’s original statistics to be wrong, and has also pegged total debt at 126.8% of GDP. Here’s who would get slammed in a Greek default >
  • Ireland’s banking sector looks to be on the brink of a bailout, with the government continuing to refuse aid. Reportedly, Ireland’s government would like to see funds directly funneled into the country’s banks, rather than any sort of ECB or European Union support for Ireland. Here’s some background on how Ireland got into this mess >
  • A group of economists and financiers have written a letter in the Wall Street Journal to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve requesting he stop the policy of quantitative easing. The list includes noted investors, like Jim Chanos, as well as academics, like Niall Ferguson. Here’s a guide to why quantitative easing won’t work >
  • California begins selling bonds worth $14 billion today with the sale of $10 billion worth of Revenue Anticipation Bonds. The state is under pressure, having another special session of its legislature to deal with its debt crisis. Click here to see why California could be the next Greece >
  • The Empire State manufacturing survey came in below expectations, at -11.1. Check out the details here >
  • Bonus: Jessica Simpson and former NFL player Eric Johnson are engaged just days after Simpson’s ex-husband Nick Lachey got engaged to his fiancee.

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