1) The Nikkei is at 6 year high, and China has finally stabilized after dropping about five percent in the past two weeks. London will close early, but Germany, Switzerland, and Italy are all closed. Trading at the NYSE and NASDAQ will end at 1 PM Eastern.
2) Mortgage applications fell to a 13-year low, dropping for a second week, as interest rates rose following the Federal Reserve's decision to taper stimulus by $10 billion a month. Home purchases requests, a leading indicator of home sales, slid 3.5 percent to its lowest level since February of last year.
3) Who says bonds are a safe investment? It's not quite the end of the year, but look at these returns (ex-dividends) for major bond ETFs year to date, where most of the damage was done in the middle of the year:
Security Percentage decline
iShares 20 Treasury 14.5 percent
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury 6.9 percent
iShares TIPS 9.2 percent
iShares iBoxx Corporate 9.2 percent
iShares National Muni 6.1 percent
High yield, by contrast, has held up well:
iShares High Yield -0.2 percent
3) Hotel chain La Quinta said yesterday it confidentially filed for an initial public offering. The company is backed by private equity giant Blackstone, which took another hotel operator --Hilton-- public less than two weeks ago. The number of shares being offered and a price range have yet to be disclosed.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani