U.S. To Open Flat To Slightly Lower

by: SA Editors

At 8:46 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: -0.30; 1,436.80
NASDAQ 100: -2.25; 1,777.00
Dow: +0.00; 12,587.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.01%; 17,224.81 (+1.66)
HANG SENG: +1.40%; 20,001.91 (+276.18)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.31%; 5,660.50 (+17.30)
BSE SENSEX 30: +1.01%; 13,846.34 (+138.00)

FTSE 100: -0.03%; 6,243.30 (-1.90)
CAC 40: +0.00%; 5,540.20 (+0.19)
XETRA-DAX: +0.09%; 6,615.11 (+6.25)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +0.65%; $60.73 (+$0.39)
Gold: +0.75%; $635.00 ($4.70)
Natural Gas: +1.43%; $6.23 (+$0.09)
Silver: +0.27%; $12.96 (+$0.035)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Japan Industrial Production Rises 0.7 Percent to Record, Backing Rate Rise Japan's industrial production rose to a record in November, buoyed by overseas demand for the nation's cars and consumer electronics.

Web Access in Asia May Take at Least Two Weeks to Return to Full Service Internet and phone companies in Asia may take at least two weeks to restore services as they struggle to fix undersea cables damaged by earthquakes off Taiwan.

Asian Stocks Advance, Led by Samsung Electronics, on U.S. Home Sales Data Asian stocks rose to a seven-month high, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surpassing 20,000 for the first time, as a gain in U.S. home sales indicated consumer spending will grow in the world's biggest economy.

Macquarie Takes Top Role in Australia's Takeover Market by Advising Itself Macquarie Bank Ltd. was the top- ranked adviser in a record year for Australian mergers and acquisitions, propelled by deals in which the Sydney-based company advised itself.

South Korea Posts Record $4.24 Billion Current Account Surplus in November South Korea posted a record current account surplus in November, driven by exports of semiconductors, ships and cars, and as cheaper oil cut the nation's import bill.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

European Oil Stocks Decline as Oil Trades Close to One-Month Low; BP Drops European energy stocks fell after oil traded near a one-month low in New York. BP Plc (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDS.A) paced the decline.

Two-Year Notes Head for Biggest Annual Drop Since 1999 as ECB Raises Rates European government bonds are poised for their biggest annual drop in seven years as accelerating economic growth and inflation prompted the European Central Bank to raise interest rates to a five-year high.

German Companies Plan to Hire, Invest in 2007, Helping Economy to Expand German companies including Continental AG and Adidas AG plan to hire and increase spending in 2007 as profits rise, helping Europe's largest economy to continue growing following the fastest expansion since 2000.

European Stocks Beat U.S., Japan on Earnings, M&A, Seen Leading Next Year European stocks beat U.S. and Japanese shares this year, aided by the biggest increases in earnings and takeovers among the world's largest markets, and may lead again in 2007 because they are still cheaper.

GLG, Deutsche Bank Fined by French Regulators for Alleged Trading Abuses GLG Partners LP, Europe's third- largest hedge fund manager, and Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), Germany's biggest bank, were fined by French market regulators for alleged trading abuses stemming from a convertible bond sale in 2002.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Apple Shares Drop on Financial Times Report of Steve Jobs's Options Grant Shares of Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) declined after the Financial Times reported Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs was given stock options in 2001 without the authorization of the company's board.

Fords Hock Dynasty in Gamble Mulally, Not Ghosn, Can Save Family Franchise Bill Ford glared when he was asked whether his family could lose control of the company his great-grandfather Henry founded in 1903.

GE to Disclose Compensation Consultant's Role, Go Beyond New Federal Rule General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE), the world's second-largest company by market value, will go beyond a new federal disclosure rule on executive pay and tell shareholders for the first time the full extent of its compensation consultant's work for the company.

Initial Jobless Claims Rose Fewer-Than-Forecast 1,000 to 317,000 Last Week The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits edged higher last week, while staying at a level consistent with a healthy labor market.

Stock-Index Futures Fall on Concern Housing Report May Indicate Weakness U.S. stock-index futures declined before reports that may show sales of previously owned homes fell while consumer confidence slipped.