10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Nypd memorialREUTERS/Carlo AllegriMiguel Esteves cries before placing his rosary beads on a makeshift memorial at the site where two police officers were shot in the head in the Brooklyn borough of New York, December 21, 2014.

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

Markets Are Rallying. US futures are pointing to another up day for the markets with Dow futures up 56 points and S&P futures up 6 points. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 0.7%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.9% and Germany’s DAX is up 0.9%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.08% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 1.26%.

It’s A Santa Claus Rally Miracle. “Only a few days ago, investors were starting to doubt Santa Claus,” wrote Ed Yardeni. “He usually gives us a yearend rally as a Christmas present. However, the S&P 500 plunged 4.9% from December 5 through December 16. That was certainly a lump of coal. But then, the S&P 500 yet again found support around its 50-day moving average without leading to a correction of 10% or more–having done so more than a dozen times since the spring of 2012. Instead, it rallied 5.0% from Wednesday through Friday last week. The S&P 500 is only 0.2% below its record high of 2075.37 on December 5.”

US Housing Data Is Coming. The National Association of Realtors will publish existing home sales data at 3 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. ET). Economists estimate the pace of sales fell 1.1% in November to an annualised rate of 5.20 million.

Saudi Arabia Isn’t Budging On Oil. Saudi Arabia stands by its decision not to cut oil production despite tumbling prices. “Referring to countries outside of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters: ‘If they want to cut production, they are welcome: We are not going to cut; certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut,” Reuters reported.

US Gas Prices Hit A 5-And-A-Half-Year Low. The average price of regular-graded gasoline fell 25 cents in the last two weeks to $US2.47 a gallon, according to a Lundberg survey released on Dec. 19.

China Is Willing To Help Russia. “If the Russian side needs, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying in a state newspaper on Monday.

China’s Xiaomi Is Valued At More Than $US45 Billion. The country’s largest smartphone maker has raised more than $US1 billion in its latest round of funding expected to close as early as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

American Apparel Adopted A New Stockholder Rights Plan. “Each right will entitle its holder to purchase, for $US3.25 per share, a number of shares of the company’s common stock or substantially equivalent securities having a market value of twice such price,” the clothing retailer said in a statement. “The board implemented the rights plan as an additional means to ensure that all American Apparel stockholders are treated fairly.”

Rich Russians Are Fleeing To The UK. Figures from Britain’s Home Office show that the number of Russians granted investor visas in 2014 jumped by 69% compared to the previous year as the economic situation in Russia worsens.

Belarus Blocked Online Stores And News Websites. Government officials introduced the block on Dec. 19 in an attempt to stop panic-buying spurred by the depreciation of the Belorussian ruble, which has been hit hard by the slide of the Russian ruble.

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