- At 10:00 a.m. ET, wet get the ISM manufacturing index for December. Economists think the index rose to 53.1 from 52.7 in November.
- Also at 10:00 a.m. we get construction spending for November. Economists think spending rose 0.4% after gaining 0.8% in October.
- At 2:00 p.m. we get the FOMC minutes for the December 13 meeting, at which nothing much happened.
Germany’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest since its reunification in 1991 as the amount of people unemployed fell more than twice expectations. UK mfr’g PMI unexpectedly rose to 49.6 from 47.7. In Asia, China’s mfr’g PMI rose back above 50 at 50.3 vs the estimate of 49.1 and PMI services jumped to 56 from 49.7. India’s mfr’g PMI rose to the best since June as did Taiwan’s. Also, mfr’g in Australia rose back above 50 for the 1st time since June. South Korea’s mfr’g PMI however fell a touch. In the 1st sign that yr end 2011 funding pressures have been temporarily alleviated, the euro basis swap is narrowing to the lowest since Nov 9th and euribor/ois spread is the cheapest since mid Dec and down 4 bps in the past 2 days.
Stocks to watch today include MGIC Investment, Molycorp and more.
MGIC Investment said it contributed $200 million to increase the statutory capital at its principal insurance operation. Shares slipped 4.8% to $3.55 in recent premarket trading, though Chairman and Chief Executive Curt S. Culver said the additional capital was an important step in allowing the company to write new insurance on a nationwide basis.
Molycorp reported that more than three-quarters of the Phase 1 rare-earth production at its flagship California manufacturing facility has been committed, helping the rare-earth mining company meet its allocation target for last year. Shares were up 3.5% to $24.83 in recent premarket trading.
Rambus raised its fourth-quarter revenue guidance, two weeks after reaching a five-year patent license agreement with Broadcom Corp. that settles all outstanding claims between the two companies. Shares recently were trading 8.5% higher at $8.19 premarket.
Drug developer Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported its lead drug candidate demonstrated survival superiority over a currently approved therapy in a Phase 3 trial examining the efficacy of the drug for patients living with advanced renal cell carcinoma.
Another Eastman Kodak Co. director has resigned, marking the third departure in two weeks from the struggling imaging company’s board.
Noah Education Holdings Ltd. said Chief Executive Jerry He resigned for personal reasons effective Sunday, after taking on the job just nine months ago.
Radvision Ltd. raised its fourth-quarter forecast, saying it expects solid sales of its video endpoints and stronger-than-expected infrastructure sales to help it post results ahead of initial expectations.
Citigroup added VF Corp. to its Top Picks Live list while upgrading the apparel maker to buy and boosting its price target $20 to $157. “We see continued top-line growth from strong brands, secular growth opportunities” and double-digit gains in outdoor from its Timberland purchase “and the continued strength of The North Face, which will also likely gain more momentum” this year when Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. “starts to open shop-in-shops for the brand,” Citigroup says.
Oil prices jumped to over $101 a barrel Tuesday amid concerns that rising tensions between Western powers and Iran could lead to crude supply disruptions.By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery was up $2.67 to $101.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 82 cents to settle at $98.83 in New York on Friday.
Large noncommercial traders raised their net short position in natural-gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the week ended Tuesday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported Friday.
Speculative, or noncommercial, traders held a net short position of 160,591 contracts, up from 157,381 a week ago. The change came as they raised their long position but increased their short position more.
Open interest was 1,000,237, up from 994,703 in the previous week.
Commercial traders were net long in futures-only contracts by 139,385 contracts, up from 136,007 a week earlier, decreasing their long position but decreasing their short position even more.
The net long position is the difference between the number of long positions, or bets that prices will rise, and short positions, or bets that prices will fall.
Benchmark natural-gas futures on the Nymex fell 0.5% during the period covered by the CFTC data.