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So, everyone’s talking about the weird rally in the U.S. markets, despite the persistent problems in Europe.  The dollar/S&P and euro/risk correlations of late seem to be breaking down.First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,392.7, +32.8, +0.3%
S&P 500: 1,280.7, +2.9, +0.2%
NASDAQ: 2,676.6, +2.3, +0.1%

And now, the top stories:

  • China’s Shanghai Composite staged a monster 2.9% rally overnight, following some dovish comments from China’s Central Bank.  This is encouraging as China is a major source of growth for many multi-national corporations.  DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach has noted that the Shanghai Composite has a tendency to lead the S&P 500.
  • Europe remains a mess.  As French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian 10-year yields soared higher into crisis levels while Italian bank UniCredit continued to plummet. Europe Has A Much Bigger Problem Than Debt, And Nobody Has Any Clue How To Fix It >
  • Despite the problems in Europe, U.S. stocks rose. This was something we couldn’t say often in 2011.  It was an otherwise quiet U.S. trading session with not too much big news.  According to CoreLogic, home prices fell in November for the fourth month in the row.
  • At 3:00 PM, we learned that the U.S. consumer was releveraging at a higher rate than expected. Consumer credit outstanding expanded by $20 billion in November.  This was the biggest increase in a decade. This was also much higher than the $7 billion estimated by economists.
  • There were a couple of notable leaders in the stock markets today.  Shares of Netflix soared after the company announced it would be expanding in the U.K.
  • Google on the other hand tumbled today.  Analysts and pundits are increasingly sounding off on the search giant’s acquisition of Motorola, which is looking like it’ll turn out to be a bust.
  • Alcoa kicks off Q4 earnings season after the bell.  Analysts are expecting a $0.01 per share loss. In a note to clients this morning, Deutsche Bank equity strategist laid out four reasons why Q4 earnings season would be better-than-expected.  We’ll cover Alcoa earnings live at Money Game. 
  • Don’t Miss: This Fantastic Presentation Has Everything You Need To Know About The Housing Market And Why It Has Bottomed >