Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei rising 2.82 per cent and hitting a 22-month high on its first day of trading in the new year. Europe is selling off and U.S. futures are flat following yesterday’s Fed minutes that showed that many members supported ending QE3 at the end of 2013.
- The December jobs report came in pretty much in line with expectations with 155,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent. Three pieces of good news in today’s jobs report >
- German retail sales increased 1.2 per cent month-over-month in November, beating expectations of a 0.8 per cent gain. Increased spending bolstered sales as unemployment hit a near-two year low.
- Euro area composite PMI for December was revised down to 47.2, from 47.3, where a reading below 50 indicates contraction. Meanwhile, euro area inflation stayed at 2.2 per cent.
- Spain has been using its Social Security Reserve Fund as a buyer of last resort for government debt, according to the Wall Street Journal. 90 per cent of the €65 billion fund has been invested in Spanish debt, raising concerns about its role as a guarantor of future pension payments. Sir John Templeton’s 16 rules for investing >
- The House is set to vote on a $9.7 billion Sandy aid package today. A vote on a $60 billion package was canceled earlier this week. Policymakers are expected to pass the first portion today and vote on the remaining $51 billion later this month. Watch Chris Christie tear into John Boehner and Congress >
- The U.S. State Department does not want Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former diplomat Bill Richardson to visit North Korea. This comes after North Korea’s rocket launch last month.
- After a 19-month investigation, the Federal Trade Commission has said that Google did not abuse its powers as a dominant search engine. Meanwhile, Google agreed to change its business practices to “resolve competition concerns in the markets for devices like smart phones, games, tablets and in online search”.
- Factory orders for November and the ISM non-manufacturing index for December are out at 10 a.m. ET. Consensus is for factory orders to rise 0.3 per cent month-over-month and for the composite index level to ease to 54.5. Follow the release at Money Game >
- UK services PMI fell to 48.9 in December, from 50.2 the previous month. This missed economists expectations of 50.5. “The first fall in service sector activity for two years raises the likelihood that the UK economy is sliding back into recession,” wrote Markit’s Chris Williamson.
- Bonus – Jennifer Lawrence told Vanity Fair she thinks acting is stupid.
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