Futures Slightly Higher Heading Into Last Trading Day of Year

by: SA Editors

At 8:35 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +0.70; 1,434.50
NASDAQ 100: +3.75; 1,778.25
Dow: +1.00; 12,575.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.01%; 17,225.83 (+1.02)
HANG SENG: -0.19%; 19,964.72 (-37.19)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.17%; 5,669.90 (+9.40)
BSE SENSEX 30: -0.43%; 13,786.91 (-59.43)

FTSE 100: -0.32%; 6,220.80 (-20.10)
CAC 40: +0.23%; 5,545.86 (+12.50)
XETRA-DAX: -0.23%; 6,596.92 (-14.89)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: -0.51%; $60.22 (-$0.31)
Gold: +0.09%; $637.50 (+$0.60)
Natural Gas: +1.07%; $6.32 (+$0.07)
Silver: +0.43%; $12.995 (+$0.055)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Nomura Stumbles in Japanese Mergers Market; Goldman, UBS, Citigroup Gain Nomura Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NMR), Japan's largest securities firm, lost its lead as the nation's top adviser on mergers to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) after missing out on the three biggest international acquisitions.

Asian Stocks Rise, Capping Fourth Year of Gains; Canon, AU Optronics Rally Asian stocks advanced to a seven-month high, completing a fourth straight year of gains. Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), the world's largest digital-camera manufacturer, and LCD-maker AU Optronics Corp. (NYSE:AUO) climbed after consumer confidence rose in the U.S.

Australian Dollar Set for Highest Year Close in a Decade on Yield Premium The Australian dollar headed for the strongest annual close in a decade as investors flocked to the higher yields available on the nation's government bonds.

Crude Oil May Rise on Falling U.S. Stockpiles, OPEC Production Cutbacks Crude oil may rise on speculation that U.S. inventories will decline for a sixth week as OPEC members reduce production.

GM, Ford, Chrysler, After 2006 Losses, May Cede More U.S. Sales to Toyota General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler (DCX), after losing money and U.S. market share in 2006, may face more of the same in 2007 as Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) chips away at their business.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

German Consumer Confidence Declines for a Second Month on Tax Increases Consumer confidence in Germany, Europe's largest economy, fell for a second month on concern increases in sales taxes and health-insurance costs will reduce household incomes.

Suez Shares Climb After Capital Says Pinault Plans $92 Billion Hostile Bid Shares of Suez SA (NYSE:SZE), the world's second-largest water company, rose to a record after Capital magazine said that French billionaire Francois Pinault may make a 70 billion-euro ($92 billion) hostile bid for the company.

European Stocks Decline, Led by BP, Shell; Suez, Ferrovial Shares Advance European stocks fell on the final trading day of 2006, led by BP Plc (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDS.A), after crude oil traded near a four-week low in New York.

Ferrovial to Sell Property Unit to Promociones Habitat for $2.1 Billion Grupo Ferrovial SA, Spain's second-largest builder, agreed to sell its real-estate division to Promociones Habitat SA for 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) after its August takeover of airport operator BAA Plc inflated debt.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Apple Exonerates Jobs in Options Review, Confirms Fictitious Board Meeting Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) exonerated Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs from wrongdoing in the company's grants of backdated stock options to executives.

Marsh & McLennan Shares Drop in Europe on Report It Agreed to Sell Putnam Shares of Marsh & McLennan Cos. (NYSE:MMC) fell as much as 1.4 percent in Europe after the Wall Street Journal reported that the world's largest insurance brokerage agreed to sell its Putnam Investments mutual-fund subsidiary for $3.9 billion to Power Corp. of Canada.

AT&T Moves to End FCC Stalemate Over BellSouth With New Concession Offer AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) moved to break a regulatory deadlock over its effort to buy BellSouth Corp. (BLS), offering concessions including price controls to win approval of the $86 billion deal.

Goodyear Workers Ratify New Three-Year Contract That Allows Plant Closure Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s (NYSE:GT) largest union, out on strike for three months, ratified a new contract allowing North America's biggest tiremaker to shut a U.S. plant.

Toys `R' Us Bondholders Gain Confidence in CEO Storch as Profits Return Toys ``R'' Us Inc. bondholders are gaining confidence in Chief Executive Officer Gerald Storch.

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