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10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Provided by Business Insider, Thursday, December 16, 2010:

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

Asian markets were mostly lower in overnight trading, with the Hang Seng down 1.33%. Major European indices are flat, and U.S. futures suggest a slightly positive open.

Housing starts data is released at 8:30 AM ET. It is expected to show continued weakness in the market, though a slight improvement over October’s number, rising to 0.550 million annualized starts.

Initial jobless claims data is released at 8:30 AM ET. It is expected to show a slight decline in claims over last week, to 420,000.

China has moved to stop some banks from supplying loans to businesses intending to invest them in real estate and other fixed assets. The move is another part of the country’s new tightening regime meant to slow inflation.

European leaders are meeting today to thrash out alterations to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty that would create set rules for bailouts. The rules will not include suggestions like eurobonds or further fiscal integration.

Spain held a somewhat disappointing, if successful, bond auction this morning selling €2.4 billion in debt. The average yield on bonds rose dramatically, however, to 5.446% on the 10-year from 4.615% in November.

BP shares fell in London trading in the wake of a U.S. government lawsuit against the company. It has also emerged that BP had a similar accident to the one in the Gulf of Mexico in Azerbaijan that ended safely.

Bank of America is working on settlement deals with many of its mortgage investors, including Pimco, the New York Fed, and BlackRock, that would see the company take back its loans. The bank has denied this is a change in policy.

Goldman Sachs is planning to launch a new, over $1 billion hedge fund in Hong Kong. The fund is to be run by Goldman’s highest paid trader, Morgan Sze.

Philadelphia Fed survey data is released at 10:00 AM ET. It is expected to show another positive number, this time 16, a drop from last month’s surge to 22.5.

Bonus: Kim Kardashian claims she plans to be single for the whole of 2011.

Source: Yahoo.com.

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