REUTERS/ Heinz-Peter BaderMembers of the State Opera ballet dance during a dress rehearsal of ‘Etudes’ in Vienna December 12, 2013.
Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.40%, Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.26%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.12%. Markets in Europe were all higher, and U.S. futures were pointing north.
- The House of Representatives easily passed a budget bill yesterday evening after Senator Patty Murphy (D-Wash.) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) brokered the deal. The House voted in favour of the legislation by a 332-94 margin, and it now moves on to the Senate. “The mini-bargain — the ‘Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013’ — sets discretionary spending levels a little above $US1 trillion for the next two years, while repealing and replacing some cuts of sequestration,” explains our Brett LoGiurato. “In fiscal year 2014, spending is set at $US1.012 trillion, which sits about halfway between the proposed levels of the House and Senate budgets. Law under sequestration calls for caps of $US967 billion.”
- U.K. construction output rose 2.2% in October, beating economist expectations. New private housing grew 5.3% year-over-year. “The report, along with an increase in industrial production in the same month, suggests the economy maintained momentum in the fourth quarter after growing 0.8 per cent in the prior three months,” reported Bloomberg’s Scott Hamilton. “Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says that officials are monitoring the strength of the housing market for stability risks and have moved to damp mortgage activity.”
- Japan’s industrial output increased 1% in October, beating the initial reading of a 0.5% bump. Shipments grew 2.3% month-on-month, again beating the 1.8% rise estimated. The industrial output figure measures the amount of items produced by Japan’s mining and manufacturing sectors.
- Consumer confidence in New Zealand reached a four year high, according to a new survey. The ANZ-Roy Morgan survey index rose to 129.4 from 128.4 in November (any number above 100 is optimistic). The survey’s growth indicator signaled a boost in spending and suggests a growth of close to about 5% by early next year, Reuters reports.
- At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get U.S. producer price data. Economists are looking for producer prices to remain flat month-over-month, up 0.1% excluding food and energy. “With little change in energy prices over the past month and only tepid demand growth, we look for producer prices to have been little changed in November,” wrote Wells Fargo’s John Silvia. “Core price growth likely moderated over the month following a 1.7 per cent increase in passenger car prices, which largely reflected the model year changeover.”
- Ireland will become the first eurozone country to leave its bailout program, reports the Guardian’s Henry McDonald. The €85 billion ($72 billion) loan from the IMF, the European commission, and the European Central Bank (together known as the troika) formally expires this weekend. ” The general mood in Dublin remains one of resignation after three years of cuts in social welfare and state programmes with no visible euphoria on the streets,” reports McDonald.
- Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and formerly one of his advisors, has been executed for treason, according to state news agency KCNA. “Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him,” the KCNA writes in its report.
- A Chinese official has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for bribery in the latest development in a strange sex tape story, Reuters reports. “Han Shuming, a former district head in the southwestern city of Chongqing, was convicted of accepting bribes worth 4.4 million yuan ($724,759),” according to Reuters. “Han was one of more than 20 officials and executives at state-owned companies who were investigated after a gang blackmailed them with secretly recorded sex videos.”
- Mexico’s Congress voted to end the 75-year monopoly of the state-owned oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Juan Montes, Laurence Iliff, and David Luhnow. “Proponents say the initiative will attract tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment, lift Mexico’s sluggish economic growth, and add to a North American energy boom that could lower costs for manufacturers across the region,” the Journal reports. “Opponents from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) tried to prevent discussion by blockading the entrances to the lower house’s main voting hall.”