Upbeat trade data from China helped lift stocks this morning as
investors await hints of the Federal Reserve's plans for reducing
its bond-buying program.
The major stock indices ended lower last week despite a sizable
jump after November's jobs report showed that the US jobless rate
fell to a five-year low. Investors' main concern now is what this
means for the future of quantitative easing going into the Fed's
Dec. 17-18 meeting. The most closely watched news today will be
speeches from Fed members Jeffrey Lacker, James Bullard, and Robert
Fisher, that could shed light on whether the Fed is likely to act
on its May promise that it will scale back its $85 billion monthly
The economic data calendar for Monday is empty. Before the opening
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.04% to 16,029.
(INDEXSP:.INX) futures were up 0.08% at 1,806.20, and futures on
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.20%.
Most foreign indices were also higher today. Chinese exports came
in much better than expected in November, rising 12.7%
year-over-year. Imports to the second-largest economy rose 5.3%.
Its trade surplus rose 8.7% to $33.8 billion. As food prices eased,
Chinese consumer prices rose 3% last month, just missing forecasts
of a 3.1% increase.
Japan's GDP growth slowed to a quarterly 1.1% in the third quarter
as business spending was unchanged despite unprecedented government
Thailand's prime minister called for snap elections in response to
a week of protests in Bangkok, the capital.
Bitcoin crashed this weekend, falling to a low of $690, before
returning to $911.62.
In corporate news, documents in
) bribery case explicitly linked the hiring of high-profile Chinese
scions with business deals. Spreadsheets and memos that the bank
submitted provided a detailed picture of its "Sons and Daughters"
hiring program. In one email, according to the
New York Times
, a Hong Kong executive at JPMorgan said, "You all know I have
always been a big believer of the Sons and Daughters program - it
almost has a linear relationship" with winning business with
The Securities and Exchange Commission is also expanding its
inquiry into JPMorgan's hiring practices to other Wall Street
) will be officially joined under the name American Airlines Group
(MCD) reported today that global comparable store sales were up
0.5% in November. European sales were up 1.9%.