- Equities: European equity markets are trading in a shortened and limited session ahead of the Christmas Holiday. European bourses that are closed today include: Swiss, Italian, German, and Spanish. Euronext trading will halt at 2:00CET and the London Stock Exchange will halt at 12:30GMT. Despite the holiday tone, equities have shown a strong rotation that followed a bullish Asian trading day. China's mainland markets led the way following commentary from Chinese new sources that the central government was considering further tax cuts for small business and the broader tech sector. This commentary, along with strength in hard, soft and energy related commodities drove European equity markets. Commodity and mining names, moving off this rotation and mixing with statements out of BHP [BHP.AU] regarding 2010 Chinese copper contract pricing moved higher. As mentioned above, trading volumes remained scant across all markets and classes with the CAC and FTSE trading off over 70% through two hours of trading. Despite this thin level, the FTSE has attempted to push through its 2009 highs, just failing to crack above 5396.
-Individual stocks: BHP BLT.UK: In talks with Jiangxi Copper regarding 2010 Copper TC/RCs. || Credit Agricole [ACA.FR]: Asset management JV with SocGen to begin operations from Jan 1, 2010. || Alcatel Lucent [ALU.FR]: CEO Verwaayen: Sees market growth of 4% in 2010 -De Telegraaf. || Gas Natural [GAS.SP]: Agrees to sale of Mexican energy assets for $1.225B to Mitusi and Tokyo Gas. ||
- Speakers: (EU) ECB's Wellink: Sees continued uncertainty in economic recovery; Could see further setback in trend (JP) BOJ Gov Shirakawa: Momentum of self sustained recovery is weak, downward pricing pressures are expected to linger; pace of price declines expected to slow (CH) China Commerce Min Chen: 2009 retail sales could grow by more than 15%; may exceed CNY12.5T (CH) China Finance Ministry's Zhang: Grounds for economic recovery in China not yet sufficiently strong; fiscal stimulus in 2010 to remain substantial
- Geo-Political: Clashes in Iran have continued for the third day following last weekend's death of Hossein Al Montazeri. US Senator John Kerry (D) has expressed interest in going to Iran to pursue nuclear and human rights talks. In neighboring Afghanistan, NATO has outlined a new plan of territorial operations and war strategy designed to deny Taliban access to Pakistan, which has been struck by another round of bombing attacks today. In an ongoing Yemen-Saudi counter insurgency, Yemen officials have claimed killing a wanted cleric linked to the US Fort Hood shooting. Chinese trial of dissident activist Liu Xiabo have come into focus as Beijing is set to sentence the one time literature scholar who has been active since the 1980s (could see up to 15 years). Healthcare 'reform' in the US appear more and more likely with the third and final Senate vote scheduled to take place today (7:00EST) in Washington. This Senate vote will lead to Senate-House negotiation in January that will hammer out differences in the legislature in Conference Committee.
- In the Papers: Global broad sheets have been preoccupied with holiday travel chaos and year/decade reflections. BlackBerry system concerns have maintained a high presence following yesterday's system wide outage. The NYT has looked at the 2010 outlook for refiners and upstream oil with conclusions that 2010 could be more difficult. The UK Times and Guardian explore Glencore and the possibility of in IPO in the name following yesterday's bond offer. The revelation that a large number of close relatives to Osama Bin Laden have been living in a quasi house arrest in Tehran has received high visibility following what would appear to be a defection of one of Bin Laden's daughters. The teenage girl sought sanctuary in a Saudi embassy after escaping her Iranian security entourage.
***Notes: *7:00 US Senate to hold 3rd round of voting on Health Care legislation
***Looking Ahead: - 8:30 (US) Nov Durable Goods Orders: 0.5%e v -0.6% prior - 8:30 (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 470Ke v 480K prior - 8:30 (US) Continuing Claims: 5170Ke v 5186K prior - 10:30 (US) Weekly Natural Gas Inventories
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