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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Nikkei rising 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite falling 0.6 per cent. European markets are in the green with the exception of Spain, down 0.2 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- Initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell to 350K, below estimates of a tick down to 360K. Continuing claims rose slightly above estimates to 3206K. Bloomberg reports that 19 states had to estimate claims this week due to the holiday, which means the figures may be heavily revised next week.
- Private sector lending in the U.K. fell sharply in the month of November – down £3.1 billion – marking the steepest slide since June. “The sharp drop in lending to nonfinancial companies in November indicates that the Funding for Lending Scheme is yet to have any positive impact in actually lifting bank lending to companies,” IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer told the WSJ.
- In a letter, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned that the government would hit the debt ceiling on December 31, but that the Treasury would use extraordinary measures, detailed in the letter, to mobilize $200 billion of extra cash to fund the government until an agreement to raise the ceiling could be reached. This is largely in line with expectations.
- The Japanese yen continued its slide against the U.S. dollar and is currently trading near lows of 85.86, continuing the currency’s remarkable decline in recent months. Newly-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was sworn in yesterday amid hopes that he will pressure the Bank of Japan to take an even more aggressive stance on monetary easing. Japan Is On The Verge Of A Watershed Moment In Central Banking, And The Yen Is Getting Massacred >
- President Obama returns to the White House today to stage last-minute negotiations with Congress to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” which goes into effect January 1 if no deal is reached. With only four days left to firm a deal, negotiations will likely dominate the newsflow through the end of the year. House Speaker Boehner Calls On Senate To Make The Next Move >
- Toyota agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit related to unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles that prompted a recall in 2009 and 2010. The settlement will be included as a pre-tax earnings charge in the company’s financial statements, and eligible beneficiaries of the lawsuit will receive cash payments and safety upgrades in their vehicles.
- Chip-maker Marvell Technology was ordered by a federal court to pay $1.2 billion in damages to Carnegie Mellon University after the school sued the company for patent infringement. The patents involve disk drives, and the damages are the third-highest ever in a patent infringement case.
- The December reading of the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index is released at 10 AM ET. Economists expect the index to fall to 70.0 from last month’s reading of 73.7. Last week, University of Michigan Consumer Confidence fell to its lowest levels since July.
- New Home Sales data for the month of November are also out at 10 AM ET. Economists estimate that sales increased to 380K units at an annualized rate in November from 368K the month before, representing a 3.3 per cent increase after October’s 0.3 per cent decline. Follow the releases LIVE on Money Game >
- BONUS: Beyonce shared some intimate family pictures online yesterday.