Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading, with the Nikkei extending gains 0.7 percent and the Shanghai Composite rising 1.2 percent. European markets are in the red, with Spain down 2 percent. In the United States, futures point to a negative open.
- Fiscal cliff negotiations will likely be in focus again today after sending markets on a wild ride Thursday. President Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at 3 PM today in an attempt to break through the latest impasse in the discussion.
- Japan posted a string of weak economic data overnight, with household spending rising 0.2 percent year-over-year in November (versus expectations of a 0.7 percent gain) and industrial production contracting 5.8 percent (versus expectations of -4.6 percent). Consumer prices fell 0.5 percent, in line with expectations, while retail trade surprised to the upside, rising 1.3 percent year-over-year in November versus expectations of a 1.1 percent gain.
- The final estimate of Q3 French GDP revealed that the economy only grew 0.1 percent in the third quarter versus prior estimates of a 0.2 percent expansion. Weak business investment dragged down growth.
- Italian 10-year borrowing costs rose slightly at the government's final bond auction of 2012 to 4.48 percent from last month's auction results of 4.45 percent. Reuters cites thin trading, U.S. fiscal cliff worries, and an increasing eye on Italy's upcoming elections as drivers of the tick upward.
- The Lagarde List of alleged Greek tax evaders is set to make a splash in Greece again after financial prosecutors obtained an original copy of the list and launched a new investigation into its contents. The findings of the new probe were turned over to parliament yesterday and are expected to be published today, and could spark political backlash against the government's fragile ruling coalition.
- The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into fraud allegations against Autonomy, the company HP acquired for $11 billion last year. HP wrote off $9 billion of the acquisition in its latest earnings report, saying it had been defrauded, while former Autonomy management denied the allegations, blaming HP's mismanagement.
- U.S.-listed stocks with operations in China could be in for a headache if a spat between U.S. and Chinese regulators is not resolved by December 31. China is blocking the inspection of Chinese accounting firms who audit the Chinese operations of U.S.-listed companies, which could result in those companies being de-listed from U.S. exchanges.
- Chicago PMI for the month of December is due out at 9:45 AM ET. Economists expect the index to rise to 51.0 from last month's 50.4 reading.
- At 10 AM ET, US Pending Home Sales data for the month of November is released. Economists expect sales to rise 1 percent from the previous month after rising 5.2 percent in October, posting 12.2 percent gains year-over-year after an 18 percent advance from the previous year in October. Follow the releases LIVE on Money Game >
- BONUS: Sofia Vergara is enjoying a holiday vacation in Miami.
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