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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading with the Nikkei rising 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite gaining 1.6 per cent. European markets are lower with the exception of France, up 0.7 per cent. In the United States, futures are up, but are pointing to a negative open.
- Fiscal cliff negotiations come down to the wire today as a deal has yet to be struck. Negotiations have stalled on the income cut-off limit at which taxes will rise for a minority of the population. If a deal is not reached by tonight, automatic spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect, and negotiations will continue against this new backdrop.
- Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI rose to 51.5 in December from 50.5 the month before, beating expectations of a smaller increase to 50.9. The number marks the fastest rate of expansion in Chinese manufacturing in 21 months.
- France’s highest court rejected a new, 75 per cent tax rate on the country’s top earners signed into law earlier this year by the Hollande administration on the grounds that it was unfair. The court said that the way the tax was designed was unconstitutional.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is said to be in “delicate” condition following a recent cancer operation in Cuba, according to his vice president. Investors have been snapping up Venezuelan stocks and bonds this year as Chavez’s health has deteriorated, hoping an end of the Chavez regime could bring about the fall of socialism in Venezuela.
- Australian private sector lending growth was flat in November versus expectations of a 0.2 per cent expansion. The figures represent the weakest credit growth in 19 months, highlighting strains in the slowing Australian economy.
- Tribune Co is set to emerge from bankruptcy after four years with eight daily newspapers and 23 television stations. The company will take on $1.4 billion in debt as part of the reorganization.
- A large group of U.S. pension funds is asking the SEC to consider amending insider trading rules for corporate executives. The group highlighted concerns over conflicts of interest and said that measures needed to be taken to restore public confidence in markets.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized Sunday for a blood clot related to a concussion she sustained earlier this month. Clinton is expected to be released on Monday or Tuesday.
- The Dallas Fed index of manufacturing activity is due out at 10:30 AM in the United States. Last month, the index recorded a -2.8 reading, indicating that manufacturing activity in the region was still contracting. Follow the release LIVE on Money Game >
- BONUS: Kanye West announced at a concert that he and Kim Kardashian are pregnant.
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