10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell


russia snow moscowREUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinA boy slides from the top of a heap of snow in the Red Square, with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background, in central Moscow December 25, 2014.

Good morning! Here are a couple things worth knowing.


Japan's Not Doing Great. Industrial production activity unexpectedly fell by 0.6% in November. Economists were expecting a 0.8% gain. "Industrial production fluctuates indecisively," Japan's industry ministry said in its report.

Japan Can't Get Prices Up. Consumer price growth slowed to 2.4% in November from 2.9% in December. Excluding food, core price growth cooled to 2.7%. This was the fourth straight month of price deceleration.

The Few Markets That Are Open Are Up. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.1%. Markets across Europe are closed. US futures are in the green again with Dow futures up 28 points and S&P futures up 3 points.

Natural Gas Falls Again. Natural gas futures fell to as low as $2.994 per million BTUs, the lowest level since September 26, 2012, reports Bloomberg's Rachel Graham.  An unexpectedly mild winter has natural gas inventories up and prices falling.


China Wants More Liquidity. "The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is weighing changing rules governing how loan-to-deposit ratios are calculated at banks, a move that would boost liquidity conditions, sources with direct knowledge told Reuters," Reuters Pete Sweeney reported. "The banking-sector sources said the PBOC, during a meeting with domestic financial institutions, revealed it is planning to include savings held by banks for non-deposit-taking financial institutions into banks' deposits, which will expand the base for calculating loan-to-deposit ratios."

S&P Is Close To Settling With The US.  "Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is nearing a settlement with regulators over their investigation of how the company graded real-estate bonds, according to people familiar with the matter," WSJ's Timothy Martin reported. "The proposed deal, which involves six commercial real-estate bond ratings from 2011, could be reached as early as next month, the people said. The joint settlement would be with the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley , the people said."

Credit Suisse Is Being Asked To Pay. "Credit Suisse Group AG was ordered to face a lawsuit by New York's attorney general accusing the bank of fraud in sales of mortgage-backed securities before the recession," Bloomberg's Linda Sandler and Christie Smythe. "A New York State Supreme Court judge rejected the bank's request to dismiss the lawsuit, which demands as much as $10 billion in damages. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's suit was valid, and he demonstrated the bank may have engaged in misconduct, Judge Marcy Friedman said in yesterday's decision."

No US Economic Data On The Calendar. There's no major market-moving data on the calendar to move markets.

The Ruble Has Been Doing Better. "Russia's ruble rose on Friday to its strongest levels in more than three weeks, in a sharp rebound from its recent all-time lows, after the government ordered exporters to sell some of their hard currency revenues," Reuters Vladimir Soldatkin and Yelena Fabrichnaya reported.


...But 2015 Will Still Stink. "Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday that the Russian economy could contract by 4 percent next year and that the budget could have a deficit of more than 3 percent of gross domestic product if oil prices average $60 a barrel," Reuters' Dasha Korsunskaya reported.