Russia's stock market is down 8 percent at the U.S. open, adding to the roughly 25 percent declines we have seen this month.
The problem is a simple one. With oil down 40 percent, investors are asking how the Russians are going to pay for the all the stuff they import. They are huge importers of everything from cars to computers to meat, but oil is far and away their biggest source of revenue.
Russia Export Revenues (source: EIA)
- Crude oil: 33%
- Petroleum products: 21%
- Natural gas: 14%
Read More Are Russia's bonds the next big worry?
So crude oil and petroleum products are roughly 50 percent of the country's export revenue. See the problem?
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party scored a victory over the weekend, essentially ensuring that his coalition will be able to govern unchallenged and that he will remain the country's leader at least until 2018. The voters have spoken, and—for better or worse—they have chosen Abenomics.
Abe's cabinet is expected to announce a new series of economic stimulus measures by Dec. 26. It's not entirely clear what they will focus on, but the core of Abenomics has been to encourage consumer spending. By the end of the year, Investors should also get more details on a reduction in corporate taxes from a tax research group and the fate of the consumption tax hike that was originally planned for October 2015, but was postponed.
1) The FOMC meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and there is lots of trading mythology that swirls around the day before an FOMC announcement, which comes this Wednesday. It's true that the day before is usually an up day, but not as much as some believe.
According to our partners at Kensho, buying the S&P 500 at the close of trading today, then selling at the close of trading tomorrow (one day before the Fed announcement) has resulted in a gain for the S&P 65 percent of the time since 2009, but the actual percentage gain was minimal: 0.02 percent.
The biggest percentage gainer is home construction (IYB), up 59% of the time for an average gain of 0.29 percent.