10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Empty new york stock exchange floorREUTERS/Mike SegarA worker sweeps the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets today.

Winter Storm Downgrade. The northeast U.S. was pounded by snow overnight. Just before 6:00 a.m. ET, the blizzard warning for New York City was downgraded to a winter storm warning.

The New York Stock Exchange Will Be Open. A travel ban remains in effect in New York City. Public transportation is shut down, and all you’ll see on Manhattan’s streets are emergency vehicles and snow plows. NYC Mayor DiBlasio is expected to provide updates at 8:00 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, the NYSE will be open, and traders aren’t happy about it.

Markets Are Mixed. Europe is in the red with Britain’s FTSE down 0.3% and Germany’s DAX down 0.6%. Japan’s Nikkei closed heavily up, rising 1.7%, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 0.4%. Dow futures and S&P 500 futures are down by around 0.4%.

Microsoft Offered A Gloomy Outlook. Microsoft is warning investors that revenue and profits are not going to be killer great for the rest of 2015.
The stock is down more than 4% after hours, following results that included a 12% drop in profits.

UK GDP Growth Slows. “Britain’s economic growth slowed more than expected in the final three months of last year, but with annual growth still at its fastest since 2007 the data gave ammunition to both sides of the political divide heading into May’s election,” Reuters reported. “Growth in the third quarter fell to 0.5% from 0.7% in the third, slower than the 0.6% growth most private-sector economists had expected in a Reuters poll.”

EU Commission Chief Jean Claude Juncker Says No Debt Reduction Is Coming For Greece. Juncker warned Monday that Greece cannot expect any reduction of its huge debt commitments after the anti-austerity Syriza party won a stunning election victory. “There is no urgent need for action” on Greece’s debt, Juncker told German television station ARD, adding that a reduction of the debt “is not on the radar”.

Brazilian Oil Giant Petrobras May Take A Charge Equal To Almost Half Its Market Value. PetrĂ³leo Brasileiro could take a charge of about 52 billion reals ($US20 billion) in its delayed third-quarter results to reduce the value of some assets, a Veja magazine blog said on Monday. The impairment equals 42% of the market value of Petrobras, as the company is known, Veja’s Mercados blog said.

China’s Premier Pledged To Create At Least 10 Million Jobs This Year. China’s Premier Li Keqiang pledged to create at least 10 million new jobs in 2015, the state run China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday, despite economic growth that slowed to its weakest pace in nearly a quarter of a century last year.

Despite The Crackdown On Margin Traders, Debt-Fuelled Chinese Stock Buying Is At A Peak. The value of shares bought with borrowed money has hit an all-time high in China, according to Bloomberg. That’s just a week after the government tried to crack down on the practice and sent the Shanghai Composite into its biggest one-day drop since 2008.

Lots Of US Economic Data Coming. At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get the December durable goods orders report. That will be followed by the S&P Case-Shiller home price report at 9:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m., we’ll get tehe new home sales and consumer confidence report. Read our previews in BI’s Monday Scouting Report.

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