STOCKS RISE AGAIN, GREECE CLOSER TO A DEAL: Here's What You Need To Know

greece ruins

Photo: danoots on flickr

So, it looks like Greece made some progress in its negotiations with eurozone leaders.  Meanwhile, stocks continue to inch higher.First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,890.4, +6.5, +0.0%
S&P 500: 1,351.9, +1.9, +0.1%
NASDAQ: 2,927.2, +11.4, +0.4%

And now, the top stories:

  • The Greek government and the troika (i.e. the IMF, EU, and ECB) have finally agreed on austerity measures, which gets Greece a step closer to securing its desperately needed 130 billion euro bailout financing package.  However, some doubts remain.  European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker said that there would be no “final decision” on a Greek aid package today.
  • In other Greek news, the unemployment rate jumped to 20.9 per cent in November from 18.2 per cent in October.  Even worse, the youth unemployment rate in Greece spiked to 48 per cent.  Here’s A Guide To The Horrible Youth Unemployment Mess In Europe >
  • There were two big monetary policy announcements out of Europe.  The Bank of England announced it kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per cent while expanding its quantitative easing program by 50 billion pounds to a total of 325 billion pounds. 
  • The European Central Bank announced that it was keeping its benchmark interest rate at 1.00 per cent as expected. ECB president Mario Draghi continues to reiterate that downside risks remain.
  • Initial jobless claims fell to 358k from 370k last week.  Economists were expecting a reduction to 370k.  This downward trend should be a good sign for the future for unemployment rates.  All of this is welcome news as people slowly gain confidence in the American economic recovery.  Here Are The Best And Worst Economists Of 2011 >
  • However, those jobless claims may soon tick up.  PepsiCo said it would reduce its workforce by around 3 per cent, or 8,700.  This announcement came as the company announced earnings of $1.15 per share versus expectations of $1.12 per share.
  • Groupon had its first earnings announcement as a public company, and investors were not pleased.  Quarterly revenue came in ahead of expectations.  However, Groupon had a $0.02 net loss per share.  Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.03.  The stock got punished today.
  • Another stock that got destroyed today was Diamond Foods, which has been under investigation for the way it had accounted for payments to its Walnut suppliers.   Last night, the Board’s audit committee said it would have to restate financial statements from 2010 and 2011.  Diamond will also be replacing its CEO and CFO.
  • Natural gas prices jumped today.  Natgas giant Chesapeake Energy announced it would further cut production in its effort to bolster prices.
  • LinkedIn announces quarterly earnings after the bell.  Follow the announcement LIVE at Business Insider.
  • Don’t Miss: 6 TOP ECONOMISTS ANSWER: Is China Heading Toward A Hard Landing?

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