Daniel Gross

Morning Reading: Congressional Standoff, AT&T Walks Away

What to watch, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance's Elizabeth Trotta:

Good morning,

Futures are pointing to a higher open for Wall Street, following stocks in Europe higher after data showed German business sentiment rose sharply in December and a better than expected Spanish Treasury bill auction stirred optimism.

In the U.S., Congress is headed toward a standoff as the House moves to shelve an effort to pass a bipartisan two-month extension of payroll tax cuts that passed the Senate over the weekend. Instead of accepting the stopgap measure, the House is expected to move to set up a panel to negotiate a compromise to renew the payroll tax cuts through 2012.

In other news, AT&T said late Monday that it's waking away from its $39B bid for T-Mobile amid insurmountable regulatory opposition.

Data

In the U.S., data are expected on housing starts and building permits on Tuesday, followed by the MBA Mortgage Index and existing home sales on Wednesday, and Mortgage rates and the FHFA Housing price index on Thursday. The third estimate on 3rd quarter GDP and a handful of consumer data are also expected later in the week.

Time/Expectation

8:30 a.m.: Housing Starts - Expected 627K, Prior 628K

8:30 a.m. Building Permits - Expected 633K, Prior 653K

(consensus from briefing.com)

Also buzzing this a.m.:

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