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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei down 0.09%. Europe is mixed after a healthy Italian bond auction and poor data out of Spain. U.S. stocks have opened lower.
- Spanish unemployment jumped to 22.9% in the fourth quarter, from 21.5% the previous quarter. This is its highest level in 15 years. The data has increased pressure on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to bring about labour reform and create jobs, even as the Spanish economy is expected to contract 1.5% in 2012. Check out the staggering cost of youth unemployment in Europe >
- Negotiations on the terms of a private sector bond swap deal are ongoing in Greece. The deal would allow Athens to restructure about half of its debt. EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn has said authorities are very close to reaching an agreement on private-sector involvement. Don’t Miss: 6 top economists tell us whether the euro crisis is over >
- Italy met its target when it sold €11 billion of treasury bills today. The Treasury sold €8 billion of 182-day bills at an average yield of 1.969%, the lowest since May. It also sold €3 billion of 331-day bills. Now here is a brilliant insight from George Soros on why Italian debt is practically riskless >
- In earnings news, Chevron is expected to post earnings of $2.90 per share. Honeywell International reported earnings of $1.05 per share, beating expectations. Full year sales were up 13% to $36.5 billion. Now here are JPMorgan’s 28 best stock picks for 2012 >
- Meanwhile, Ford posted Q4 net income of $3.40 per share, on revenue of $34.6 billion. Profits came in shy of expectations despite strong sales. Procter & Gamble diluted net earnings per share were $0.57 per share, and 4% sales growth to $22.1 billion.
- In M&A news, Eastman Chemical has agreed to buy Solutia Inc for about $3.38 billion in cash and stock. Eastman will pay $27.65 for each of Solutia’s shares, as it hopes to expand its operations in Asia Pacific.
- Republican presidential hopefuls met at the University of North Florida last night for the nineteenth GOP debate. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich butted heads over issues like immigration and healthcare ahead of the Florida primary, but Romney clearly crushed Gingrich in the debate.
- Q4 GDP data came in at 2.8% missing expectations, and personal consumption climbed 2%. Consumer sentiment for January will be released at 9:55 AM ET. Consensus is for the sentiment index level to hold steady at 74. Follow the release at Money Game >
- Japanese retail sales grew at their fastest pace in over a year, rising 2.5% year-over-year in December. Consumer spending has been boosting the economy which has been hit by weak exports, and has slowly been recovering from last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
- BONUS – Naomi Watts and her family were spotted going to a barbecue in Australia.