Bob Pisani is off for the holidays, this was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.
With the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq already at new highs for the year, U.S. stock futures are slightly up following rallies around the world. European markets are up about 0.8 percent to new 14-month highs, while Asian markets rose nicely to start the holiday-shortened trading week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent as the nation’s industrial output grew a more than expected 2.6 percent in November. It was the biggest rise in 6 months and ninth straight month of gains as strong export levels helped. With today’s gain in the Nikkei, the index has risen a strong 14 percent this month, notably outperforming all other world indices, while sitting just shy of a 15-month high.
Additionally, China’s Shanghai Composite gained 1.5 percent as the country’s Premier Wen Jiabao reassured investors that the government will not abandon its current stimulus programs despite improving economic conditions.
1) Fannie Mae soars 21 percent and Freddie Mac jumps 25 percent pre-open after the government announced it would lift the current caps on aid imposed on the two mortgage companies over the next 3 years, essentially giving the two troubled companies unlimited government funding during that time
2) MasterCard’s SpendingPulse survey reported a 3.6 percent rise in retail spending this holiday season, helped by a strong 15.5 percent increase in online sales.
3) Toyota Motor reportedly will boost its global production by 17 percent in 2010 to 7.5 million vehicles from the automaker’s projected levels this year.
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