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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Overnight trading in Asia started the week mixed, with the Shanghai SE Composite gaining 2.9% as the Nikkei declined by 1.2%. European markets are modestly lower, as U.S. futures point to a flat or slightly negative open.
- Swiss National Bank chairman Philipp Hildebrand has resigned amid a growing scandal involving currency trading completed by his wife. He is set to speak at a press event at 9:15 a.m. EST.
- German exports grew in November as Europe’s largest economy continues it’s strained move forward. Seasonally adjusted exports increased by 2.5% for the month, reversing a decline in October. The country’s statistics office, Destatis, reported total exports rose to €94.9 billion, pushing the trade surplus up to €16.2 billion. German short-term auction rates also pushed negative this morning, as investors flock to the safe-haven nation.
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time this year, in Berlin. The pair of leaders are to discuss the rapidly devaluing euro and the implementation of new taxes in the region. Here is what Wall Street expects to happen in Europe in 2012 >
- Hungary completed its first successful bond auction of the year, as borrowing costs hit a two-and-a-half year high. The country sold 40 billion forint, or $163 million, of six-week Treasury bills at 7.77%. Hungary is rapidly trying to shore up its finances as it teeters on funding issues. Click here for a 30 second guide to the crisis in Hungary >
- Lending in China surpassed economist’s expectations as new loans topped 640 billion yuan, or $101 billion, in December. The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, says that the country must be ready to act if Europe’s debt crisis continues to mount, signaling a possible reduction in reserve requirements for lenders.
- Wall Street’s largest investment banks are expected to cut back bonuses after a dismal 2011. People familiar with the matter told the Journal that Goldman Sachs’ partners could see pay fall by 50%, while Morgan Stanley is targeting cuts of 30% to 40% for certain traders.
- Norwegian state-controlled oil firm Statoil says it has discovered its second major oil reserve in the Arctic of the year. Volume of the well could reach 300 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents, if estimates hold. Elsewhere in commodities, a delay of a $3.3 billion Abu Dhabi pipeline to bypass the Strait of Hormuz will keep oil prices volatile in the near-term.
- Battered medical device manufacturer Olympus has filed suit against ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and several others over the accounting scandal enveloping the firm, the Wall Street Journal’s Juro Osawa reports. Olympus shares have fallen dramatically since it was revealed that the company hid more than $1.5 billion in losses.
- Today the Federal Reserve will announce total consumer credit for the month of November. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect the figure to fall to $7.000 billion from $7.645 billion a month earlier. Follow the announcement live on Money Game.
- Earnings season officially kicks off after the bell today when industrial bellwether Alcoa reports. The company has slashed capacity by 12% as it starts the new year, sending forecasts lower from the major banks. Analysts expect Alcoa to post a loss of $0.01 a share. Click here for your complete checklist for this week’s big earnings announcements >