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U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +2.90; 1,441.10
NASDAQ 100: +9.75; 1,839.25
Dow: +20.00; 12,555.00

International Indexes

Asia
NIKKEI 225: +0.28%; 16,962.11 (+47.80)
HANG SENG: +0.43%; 19,192.91 (+82.26)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.29%; 5,591.50 (+16.10)
BSE SENSEX 30: +0.86%; 13,731.09 (+116.57)

Europe
FTSE 100: -0.02%; 6,259.00 (-1.00)
CAC 40: -0.02%; 5,540.76 (-0.86)
XETRA-DAX: +0.20%; 6,601.92 (+13.09)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: -0.39%; $63.18 (-$0.25)
Gold: +0.10%; $619.70 (+$0.60)
Natural Gas: -2.98%; $7.19 (-$0.22)
Silver: +0.50%; $13.045 (+$0.065)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Asian Stocks Climb for Fifth Day on U.S. Rates Outlook; Sony, Samsung Gain Asian stocks rose for a fifth day after slower-than-expected U.S. inflation fueled speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE:TSM) advanced.

Guangshen Rail Sells $1.3 Billion of Shares After Demand Overwhelms Supply Guangshen Railway Co. (NYSE:GSH), China's second-biggest publicly traded rail operator, raised close to the maximum 10.3 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) sought in a Shanghai share sale after investors ordered 44 times the stock on offer.

Singapore's Exports Rise More-Than-Expected 8.1 Percent on Drug Shipments Singapore's exports in November rose more than economists expected as pharmaceutical shipments by companies such as Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Merck. & Co. (NYSE:MRK) surged.

Bank of Japan Set to Keep Rates Unchanged Tomorrow, Raise Them Next Month The Bank of Japan will probably refrain from raising interest rates, the lowest among major economies, until January as it gathers more data on consumer spending and examines the strength of the global economy.

Thailand to Lock Up 30% of New Foreign Exchange Deposits to Curb Baht Gain Thailand's regulators required banks to lock up 30 percent of new foreign exchange deposits for a year to curb currency speculation, causing the baht to slump by the most in almost three months.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Statoil, Norsk Hydro, Largest Norway Oil Producers, Propose Energy Merger Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO), Norway's state- controlled oil company, agreed to buy Norsk Hydro ASA's (NHY) energy business for about $28 billion as supplies from domestic fields peak and competition intensifies for drilling contracts from Russia to Venezuela.

European Energy Stocks Advance, Paced by Statoil; BT, Berkeley Shares Drop European oil stocks rose after Norway's Statoil ASA agreed to buy Norsk Hydro ASA's energy business for about $28 billion, fueling speculation of more takeovers in the industry.

Wal-Mart, Washington Mutual Turn to U.K. Bonds, Pushing Sales to Record American companies are pushing U.K. corporate bond sales to a record, as they take advantage of a cash surplus in Britain and the lowest relative borrowing costs in five months.

Tate & Lyle Shares Drop After Forecast of Lower Profitability From Ethanol Shares of Tate & Lyle Plc (OTCQX:TATYY), maker of the sucralose product Splenda, fell the most in 11 weeks after the company said margins from ethanol will be ``substantially lower'' and sugar prices are ``unlikely'' to rise next year.

U.S. Economic Slowdown Will Have `Limited' Effect on Euro-Region Nations The European Commission said the U.S. economy's slowdown should have only a ``limited'' effect on the expansion in the dozen euro nations.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Express Scripts Offers $26 Billion for Caremark to Trump CVS Takeover Plan Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX) made an unsolicited offer of $26 billion for Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX) to become the biggest U.S. manager of drug benefits and derail a takeover by CVS Corp. (NYSE:CVS), the country's second-largest drugstore chain.

Harrah's Considers $16.7 Billion Texas Pacific, Apollo Offer, People Say Harrah's Entertainment Inc. (HET), the world's largest casino company, received a buyout offer of as much as $16.7 billion from Apollo Management LP and Texas Pacific Group, two people familiar with the proposal said.

Biomet to Be Acquired by Goldman, Blackstone-Led Group for $10.9 Billion Biomet Inc. (Pending:BMET), a U.S. maker of artificial joints, agreed to be acquired by a private equity group for $10.9 billion, or $44 a share.

U.S. Current-Account Deficit Widened to Record $225.6 Billion Last Quarter The U.S. current-account deficit widened to a record $225.6 billion last quarter as the trade gap grew and the country paid more interest to overseas investors.

Loral, Canada Fund to Buy BCE's Satellite Services Unit for $2.81 Billion Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:LORL) and a Canadian pension fund agreed to buy BCE Inc.'s (NYSE:BCE) Telesat Canada satellite unit for C$3.25 billion ($2.81 billion) and combine it with Loral Skynet's satellite and network assets.

Source: Markets To Open Higher on Heavy M&A Activity