Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
US Markets. The US stock markets will close at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday and they will be closed all day Thursday. So, get ready for low trading volumes and not a lot of activity.
Jobs Data Coming. At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get the latest weekly tally of initial weekly jobless claims. Economists estimate the claims climbed to 290,000 from 289,000 a week ago. “The four-week moving average of initial claims has been below the 300k threshold for over three months, a sign that involuntary separations are at their nadir,” Nomura economists said.
Mortgage Applications Are Up. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the volume of mortgage applications climbed by 0.9% during the week ending December 19. While this number is very volatile, it is nevertheless reasonably encouraging news after disappointing reports on new home sales, existing home sales, and pending home sales.
Markets Aren’t Doing Much. US futures are flat. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is flat, Spain’s IBEX is flat, and France’s CAC 40 is down 0.4%. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.2%.
Traders Smell Trouble Ahead. As markets keep grinding to new record highs, traders are worried about the bouts of volatility we’ve been experiencing. “The series of short-term rallies and selloffs has revived memories of events before the ‘Black Monday’ crash of October, 1987, and more recently the global crisis of the past decade,” Reuters warns. Larry McDonald, senior director and head of U.S. strategy at Newedge in New York added: “Our systemic risk indicators are showing a very high scoring in terms of risk. I think we are anywhere from two to eight weeks away from the big one — a fall of 10% or more.”
3 Risks That Could Derail The Santa Claus Rally. The year isn’t over yet. Charles Schwab’s Jeffrey Kleintop identified three risks that could throw off the rally: European bond-buying uncertainty, softer global trade data, and energy sector job weakness.
Troubled Airbag President Is Out. “Takata Corp , the air bag maker embroiled in millions of recalls worldwide, said its president Stefan Stocker would step down and its chairman would assume the role to unify the company’s response to the crisis,” Reuters’ Mari Saito reported.
American Airlines Says Profits Will Be Just Fine. “American Airlines Group Inc said Tuesday that it plans to pay flight attendants an additional four percentage points on top of raises already averaging 10 per cent, thanks to profits that have strengthened as oil prices have collapsed,” Reuters’ Jeffrey Dastin reported. “In a letter to employees, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said “very strong” results for 2014 would allow the carrier to lock in substantial wage hikes for the flight attendants.”
Uber CEO Indicted In South Korea. “South Korean prosecutors have indicted the local subsidiary of U.S. taxi-hailing service provider Uber and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for violating a law governing public transport,” Reuters said.
Sony Will Release “The Interview” After All. The controversial film will show in more than 200 independent theatres across the United States.