FAST MONEY IN THE BIG APPLE: The Fast Money five will ring in the opening of 2007 trading at the NASDAQ this morning. Our Dylan Ratigan and company will share their market insights every night at 8 pm, starting next Monday.
Stocks in the U.S. look set to spring higher at the open on the first trading day of the New Year. A batch of economic data could help set direction, and company news is beginning to flow after the New Year's holiday's relative quiet. European markets are moving lower. Asian stocks were mixed but Singapore and Hong Kong closed at record highs, following through on gains in the first trading day of the year that took markets higher from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires.
ECON DATA ISM: manufacturing data is due at 10 am this morning, as is construction spending. The Fed releases Dec. 12 FOMC minutes at 2 p.m. Auto makers, meanwhile report monthly sales today. Analysts expect Toyota to surpass Ford , with Ford sales possibly slipping as much as 15 percent in December. Our Phil Lebeau will bring us the news as it breaks.
OIL SLIDE: Oil is weaker this morning as warm weather continues to influence trading. Weekly inventory data will be released tomorrow, instead of today because of the New Year's holiday.
EURO STRENGTH: The U.S. dollar turned higher after five days of losses against the euro, though the European currency scored a new high against the yen overnight. The New York Times today reports that countries with large dollar holdings are increasingly willing to move out of dollars in favor of the rising euro. It notes the moves currently do not imply a long term risk to the dollar. United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Russia and Switzerland are among those moving into euros, as China makes noise about reducing its dollar holdings. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, points out the Chinese yuan has been steadily rising against the dollar and is up six percent since July, 2005. The Journal says the stronger Chinese currency is beginning to squeeze Chinese exporters.
BACK TO WORK: Wall Street's research departments are papering the street with a flurry of comments and changes this morning. Bear Stearns is reportedly turning more bullish on stocks and is raising its equity allocation to 70 percent from 50 percent. The firm is raising its S&P target to 1600 from 1550. It is cutting cash to 10 percent from 20 percent and moving bonds to 20 percent from 30 percent.
Goldman Sachs downgraded stocks in the oil sector to neutral from buy, and Bank America cut General Motors to sell from neutral, citing product volume and pricing. Piper Jaffray picks Google as its top stock for 2007.
SEMIS CHOPPED: Goldman and Think Equity took the knife to Advanced Micro Devices , with both firms cutting it to a sell. ThinkEquity says inventories are beginning to build and prices are falling. Goldman also made broader comments on semiconductor equipment, and cut Applied Materials and Credence to sell from neutral. It did upgrade Texas Instruments and Micron to neutral from sell. Goldman says it sees underperformance in semis in the first half.
COMPANY NEWS: Wal-Mart is reported by the Wall Street Journal to use a new system to staff its stores, based on the number of customers shopping at a given time. Oil and gas driller Nabors Industries slid in European trading after it said its fourth quarter is coming in below analysts' estimates.