10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Thailand protestsREUTERS/Damir SagoljAnti-government protesters push the fence before breaking into the compound of the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok November 27, 2013. Thousands of Thai demonstrators massed outside four ministries, a major government office complex and 19 provincial halls on Wednesday in an effort to cripple the administration and oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.

  • Markets in Asia saw uneven gains. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.42%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished up 0.53% and Korea’s Kospi was up 0.31%. European stocks were up, led by Germany’s DAX at 0.20%. U.S. futures were pointing higher.
  • The Bank of Thailand unexpectedly cut its one-day bond repurchase rate to 2.25%. Economists had been expecting rates to remain unchanged at 2.5%. The FT reports: “Protesters have besieged ministries in an escalation of rallies against Yingluck Shinawatra’s government that have lasted a month. And economists have begun warning the continued instability further threatens Thailand’s already flagging growth.” The bank itself warned of “higher downside risks to growth stemming from delay in government investment and fragile private confidence, which could be compounded by [the] ongoing political situation.”
  • The UK was confirmed to have grown at 0.8% in Q3. One analyst argued that, taken together, UK data points indicate its “growth trajectory is now the fastest in the developed world.” “Manufacturing growth is at its highest level in 18 years, the unemployment rate is at its lowest in three years, and improving consumer confidence is filtering through into spending,” Nancy Curtin of Close Brothers Asset Management wrote, according to the FT. “There is also some evidence of an improvement in export growth, perhaps a benefit of lower sterling. All of this should feed into a strong performance in Q4, and encourage firms that have amassed large cash piles since the recession to look towards business investment, which is still 27% below the pre-crisis peak.” And there are broader implications, she writes. “The UK’s growth ties in to a global trend. Two-thirds of the most significant economies of the world (including China) are experiencing improving growth. If the US leads the charge towards reaching “escape velocity” — successive quarters of GDP growth at or above trend — in 2014, the UK surely cannot be far behind.”
  • German consumer confidence came in at 7.4, a 30 bps month-over-month gain and a six-month high that continues the growth trend seen for most of 2013. “The consumer mood in Germany is notably more optimistic in November than in the previous month. Economic and income expectations registered considerable increases and willingness to buy reached a seven-year high,” GfK said per FT.
  • That reading came as Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a preliminary deal on forming a coalition with the Social Democrats. Among the terms, according to the FT’s Stefan Wagstyl: introduction of a national minimum wage, a pledge to raise spending on pensions without raising taxes, and a reduction in the retirement age to 63 from 67 for individuals who’ve worked 45 years. Neither side appeared interested in softening the country’s approach to crisis-hit countries in the Eurozone.
  • The Weather Channel expects “horrible” delays at airports today as the U.S. east of the Mississippi gets blanketed in precipitation. A flood warning is already in effect for New York City.
  • Reuters’ David Sheppard and Josephine Mason report the Federal Reserve had been pressuring JP Morgan for more than a year to either sell or restructure its metals warehousing business over what they saw as overextension by a “too big to fail” bank. JP Morgan decided in August to sell its entire physical commodity trading unit, and the new revelations shows the fate of those desks at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, among others, remains gloomy.
  • As a result of the holiday, we’ve got a ton of data coming out packed into an hour and a half. We’ll start off at 8:30 am with durable goods orders for October, which are expected to have fallen 2% including transportation (but climbed 0.4% ex-transportation). Also at 8:30 am we’ll get weekly jobless claims, which are expected to have ticked up a bit to 330,000 from last week’s 323,000. We’ve still got a ways to go before we break the 300,000 level.
  • The final 8:30 am data point will be the Chicago Fed’s national activity survey for October, which is expected to have improved 6 bps from September to 0.20. A positive reading for this index is consistent with robust economic growth. But just 15 minutes later, we’ll get the November purchasing manger’s index from the ISM’s Chicago division. Expectations are for a decline of 5.4 points to 60.5. Last month’s 10-point gain was the strongest in more than 30 years.
  • At 9:55 am, we’ll get the Reuters/UMichigan consumer confidence level, which is expected to have climbed 1.3 points to 72.3. The preliminary reading from a few weeks ago was the seventh-straight decline going through both early and final readings back to final July. Finally at 10 am we get the Conference Board’s leading indicators for October, which are expected to have fallen 60 bps to 0.1%.

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