Honor guards carry a floral basket sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a ceremony held on Sunday where new statues of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the country's founder Kim Il Sung were unveiled in the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 23, 2013.
Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were higher in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei rose 0.1% — a six-year high — while the Hong Kong Hang Seng advanced 1.1% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2%. European markets are rallying, led by Spain, which is currently up 0.6%. In the United States, futures point to a flat open.
- Chinese liquidity strains eased today after the PBoC conducted reverse repurchase operations for the first time in three weeks, openly injecting cash into the financial system. The 7-day repo rate fell to 5.50% from Monday's six-month high of 8.94%. (READ MORE: The Biggest Financial Story In The World Is Playing Out Right Now In China »)
- The Japanese administration approved a record high ¥ 95.88 trillion budget Tuesday, planning to spend more money on defense, social security, and public works. It also dropped references to "deflation" from its monthly economic report in December for the first time in four years as signs of inflation begin to permeate the Japanese economy.
- According to data from ShopperTrak, U.S. store traffic fell 21% and retail sales fell 3.1% last week at a time considered crucial for the holiday shopping season. " The numbers are a bit scaring," Bill Martin , ShopperTrak’s co-founder, told Bloomberg. "This is modest growth."
- Mortgage applications tumbled 6.3% to the lowest level since December 2000 last week as interest rates rose. Refinancing applications, meanwhile, fell 7.7% to the lowest level sine November 2008.
- November durable goods orders data are released at 8:30 AM ET. Economists predict total orders advanced 1.8% last month after falling 1.6% in October. Orders excluding transportation goods are expected to have risen 0.7% after rising 0.4% in October. Orders of nondefense capital goods excluding transportation (a.k.a. "core capex") are expected to have risen 0.7% after dropping 0.6% in October.
- At 9 AM, the FHFA releases monthly house price index data. Economists predict the index advanced 0.5% in October after posting a 0.3% rise in September.
- November new home sales data are out at 10 AM. Economists predict sales fell 0.9% to 440,000 at an annualized rate last month after surging 25.4% to 444,000 units annualized in October.
- Also out at 10 AM is the Richmond Fed's monthly index of regional manufacturing activity. Economists expect the index to fall to 10 from last month's 13 reading. Follow all of the data LIVE on Business Insider »
- The stock market closes at 1 PM today in observance of the Christmas Eve holiday, while the bond market closes at 2 PM. Both stock and bond markets are closed tomorrow for Christmas.
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