Wall Street comes off four straight days of losses, butthere is some positive momentum in evidence - the Dow wiped out a triple-digitloss on word of some movement in the "fiscal cliff" saga. President Obamais planning to meet with top Congressional leaders this afternoon at the WhiteHouse, and the House has been called back into session on Sunday. Nonetheless, the major averages are still on pace for their biggest weeklydrops in six weeks.
Two economic reports will finish off the final full week oftrading for 2012, starting with the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index at 9:45amET. The index is expected to come in at 51.0 for December, up fromNovember's 50.4. At 10am ET, the National Association of Realtors willissue its pending home sales report for November, a measure of home salecontracts signed but not yet closed. Consensus forecasts call for anincrease of 1.5%, following October's 5.2% rise.
The Energy Department will be out with its holiday-postponedweekly inventory reports this morning. Natural gas inventories, normallyout Thursday, will be released at 10:30am ET, while oil and gasolineinventories, out on Wednesday in non-holiday weeks, will be out at 11am ET.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) leads our stocks to watch, with thecompany confirming that the Justice Department is looking into its allegationsthat Autonomy engaged in accounting fraud prior to its acquisition by HP lastyear.
Citigroup (C) says it experienced interruptions Thursday inthe availability of some of its web sites. The bank does say that therewere no breaches of client data.
Facebook's (FB) Instagram unit may have lost nearly aquarter of its users after a recent flap over its change in terms of service. That's according to the New York Post, quoting figures fromAppData. Instagram had 16.4 million active daily users the week it rolledout its policy change, but that number has now fallen to 12.4 million.
Omeros Corp. (OMER) shares are under pressure, after thedrug developer's treatment for arthroscopic knee surgery patients did not showthe same post-operative benefits in a phase 3 clinical trial that had been seenin an earlier study.
Apple (AAPL) has been fined 1 million yuan ($160,400) by aChinese court for hosting third-party apps in its App Store that were sellingpirated electronic books. A group of Chinese authors who brought a suitagainst Apple, however, were disappointed with the verdict, having sought tentimes that amount.