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Oil prices fall towards 2015 low on OPEC inaction

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after the Dow surged 369 points, after Friday's solid jobs report and as ECB President Mario Draghi reassured markets he was ready to act as much as needed. The Fed is expected to hike U.S. rates next week. (CNBC)

Oil prices edged closer to 2015 lows this morning, after last week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ended without a reference to its output ceiling. Meanwhile, sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf have been pulling money out of asset managers at the fastest rate on record. (Reuters & FT)

Venezuela's opposition trounced the ruling Socialists to win the legislature for the first time in 16 years, and gained a long-sought platform to challenge President Nicolas Maduro's rule of the OPEC nation. Venezuela depends on crude for 96 percent of its export revenue. (Reuters)


In his primetime address from the Oval Office last night, President Barack Obama said last week's San Bernardino, California, rampage was an "act of terrorism." Outlining his anti-terror strategy, he called on Congress to make sure that no one on a "no-fly" list is able to purchase a gun. (CNBC)

The Republican presidential candidates were quick to criticize Obama last night, with front-runner Donald Trump tweeting that the president had too little to say about defeating the Islamic State terrorists in the wake of mass attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. (USA Today)

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton stressed Sunday that "the need for action is urgent" in the fight against ISIS during a speech in a Washington, D.C. event organized by the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. (NBC News)

The investigation into the San Bernardino shooting is centering on Tashfeen Malik, the woman who with her husband killed 14 people at a California office party. Family members and former classmates back in Pakistan said she was a "girl next door" when she was there.

The New York Times put a gun control editorial on the front page on Saturday, calling for the end of what the editorial board called the "gun epidemic." The opinion piece said it's a "moral outrage" that Americans can legally buy weapons designed to kill.

A 29-year-old man has been charged in a Saturday knife attack in a London subway station. Authorities are investigating it as a "terrorist incident." In a video posted on social media, a bystander is heard shouting: "You ain't no Muslim, bruv" at the assailant. (USA Today)

NATO has ruled out placing ground troops in Syria to battle the Islamic State, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg told a Swiss newspaper. He said Western allies should instead focus on strengthening local forces. (Reuters)

In the wake of the Paris attacks, France's far-right National Front party appeared on course for a historic victory in the first round of regional elections, winning more than 30 percent of the vote and delivering a stunning blow to the country's traditional parties. (FT)

The Irish band U2 returned to Paris last night to play the first of two shows that had been postponed in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks. It was the first large-scale cultural event in the city since the attacks. (NY Times)

Twenty-one Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in Dallas and Houston this week as Texas dialed back its legal challenge to resettlement agencies and the federal government, which the state mounted in the wake of the Paris attacks. (AP)

BY THE NUMBERS

It's going to be a rather quiet week on the economic front, except for Friday morning, when monthly retail sales, consumer sentiment, and producer price inflation data are all out. Ahead of next week's central bank meeting, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is the only monetary policymaker on the calendar this week, with a speech at 12:30 p.m. ET today.

The National Association for Business Economics said the average forecast is for U.S. growth of 2.6 percent next year, down slightly from 2.7 percent in its survey conducted in September. But the association expects the jobs market to continue to strengthen, with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.7 percent by the end of 2016. The rate now stands at 5 percent.

STOCKS TO WATCH

General Electric (GE) has terminated a $3.3 billion deal to sell its appliance business to Sweden's Electrolux. The Department of Justice asked a federal court in July to stop Electrolux, which makes Frigidaire, Kenmore and Tappan appliances, from buying GE's appliance business.

Carl Icahn reported late Friday that he owns 12.12 percent of auto parts firm Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY), which agreed to sell itself to Bridgestone in October. He's the second largest shareholder after fellow billionaire investor Mario Gabelli.

The E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has expanded into nine U.S. states, authorities said. The burrito chain said late Friday that traffic has been hammered by the crisis, and it issued a warning for fourth-quarter same-restaurant sales.

Over the weekend, Barron's released its top stock picks for 2016, including AMC Networks (AMCX), Apple (AAPL), Celgene (CELG), CVS Health (CVS), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Discover Financial (DFS), Electronic Arts (EA), Foot Locker (FL), General Motors (GM) and Mohawk Industries (MHK)

WATERCOOLER

Television is losing its longtime grip on advertising budgets as digital ad spending continues to surge, according to forecasts. TV ad sales are expected to decrease globally in 2015 for the first time ever aside from a recession year. (NY Times)

Ahead of next week's "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" debut, it was a rather slow weekend at the box office. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" came in No. 1 once again, with $18.6 million, pushing its total stateside haul to date to $227.1 million. (Variety)