Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Nikkei rising 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite falling 0.1 per cent. European markets are higher with the exception of Italy, down 1.7 per cent, and Spain, down 0.4 per cent. In the United States, Dow and S&P 500 futures are flat.
- Italian sovereign bond yields are rising rapidly after Prime Minister Mario Monti survived a confidence vote in parliament but saw his support dwindle as former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s People’s Liberty Party moved to a position of abstention toward Monti’s government.
- The Bank of England left interest rates on hold at its monthly policy meeting this morning and did not increase the size of the asset purchase program unchanged at £375 billion. The decision marks the first since the BoE announced that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney would take the helm at the British central bank beginning next year.
- The ECB left interest rates unchanged at its monthly policy meeting this morning, as was widely expected. The central bank will likely issue significantly downgraded economic forecasts and field questions on its involvement in an upcoming Greek debt buyback during the press conference at 8:30 AM ET. Follow the presser LIVE >
- Rating agency S&P cut Greek sovereign debt from CCC to SD, or “selective default,” citing the Greek debt buyback deal recently agreed upon by eurozone finance ministers. S&P said that once the deal had actually been consummated, on or around December 17, it would likely upgrade Greece back to CCC.
- Eurozone GDP fell 0.1 per cent in Q3 from the previous quarter and 0.6 per cent from Q3 2011, according to the preliminary estimate. The numbers came right in line with expectations and foreshadow the downgrade to the ECB’s staff projections expected at the central bank’s policy meeting this morning.
- Greek unemployment hit a record high 26 per cent in September, eclipsing Spain as the worst labour market in the euro area. Youth unemployment rose to a staggering 56 per cent.
- German factory orders rose 3.9 per cent in October from the previous month versus expectations of a 1.0 per cent gain and a 3.3 per cent decline the month before. Meanwhile, the German DAX is headed toward its highest level in 5 years.
- Egyptian stocks are falling sharply today, continuing an extended decline amid social unrest and spreading violence across the country. Yesterday, two died and 211 were reported wounded as protests against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood escalated.
- Weekly jobless claims figures are due out in the United States at 8:30 AM ET. Economists expect 380K initial claims, down from last week’s figure of 393K. Continuing claims are expected to fall slightly to 3275K from last week’s figure of 3287K. Follow the release LIVE on Money Game >
- BONUS: TMZ reports that Kate Middleton is already being showered with requests from corporate sponsors trying to get in on the royal baby action.