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Markets gear up for final week of 2016

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Futures are little changed ahead of the year's final week, with 2016 finishing as one of the more memorable years since the financial crisis ended. 2016 got off to the worst start in history, but – barring a massive final week sell-off – will end the year with double-digit gains. (CNBC)

The holiday-shortened week is a light one for economic reports and earnings, although there should be a flurry of year-end trading during the week. (CNBC)

Oil prices also remained steady today, as markets hold their breath less than a week before the first production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC members are scheduled to begin. (Reuters)

Toshiba lost 12 percent of its value in Japan trading overnight after warning that it may take several billion dollars in losses related to its acquisition of U.S. nuclear power assets. The Japanese group cited cost overruns as cause for a potential writedown. (Reuters)

Panasonic Corp and Tesla Motors announced an agreement today to start production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at a factory in Buffalo, New York, in 2017. Panasonic will invest over $256 million to construct the solar energy source. (Reuters)

Photo messaging app Snapchat is said to be coughing up between $30 million and $40 million to buy Israeli augmented reality start-up Cimagine Media, the company's first acquisition in Israel, reports said Sunday. (Mashable)

False rumors of Britney Spears' death surfaced Monday after Sony Music Entertainment's Twitter was hacked. The company said in a statement that the account was "compromised" but that the problem "has been rectified." (CNBC)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Biogen's drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of death in infants. It is the first FDA-approved medicine for the disease, which affects about 1 in 10,000 births. (Forbes)

Named "one of the world's worst-performing assets" by The Wall Street Journal, the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, composed of 22 small stock markets including Pakistan and Nigeria, has missed out on this year's global rally, rising only 1.1 percent. (WSJ)

President-elect Donald Trump claims credit for the market rally and holiday spending. In a tweet Saturday, he wrote: "The world was gloomy before I won — there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10% and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!" (CNBC)

Trump also rebuked the United Nations in a tweet Monday, saying: "The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!" (Reuters with CNBC)

Trump said Saturday he plans to dissolve his charitable foundation in hopes that the move will prevent "even the appearance of any conflict" when he takes office. (CNBC)

The Kidney Fund is obliged by the federal government to give aid to patients based on financial need. But a New York Times investigation found the massive charity has avoided such obligations, prioritizing patients who have donated money to the fund. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

Today marks the busiest day of the week for economic numbers, with the Case-Shiller report on October home prices at 9 a.m. ET and the Conference Board's December Consumer Confidence report an hour later. Economists look for the Consumer Confidence Index to rise to 109.8 from November's 107.1.

There are no earnings reports of note on today's calendar.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Walt Disney's (DIS) "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" topped the weekend box office once again with $15 million in North American ticket sales on Christmas Eve alone and $120 million from Dec. 21 to 26.

Iranian officials said the country paid only half the announced $16.6 billion price for 80 new Boeing (BA) jets. Boeing has not commented on the report.

HD Supply Holdings (HDS) is the subject of a positive Barron's profile, with the paper saying the industrial products distributor could benefit from greater infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

Caesar's Entertainment (CZR) resolved a standoff with its senior lenders and its bankruptcy reorganization is back on track, according to a Bloomberg report.

WATERCOOLER

British pop singer George Michael died on Sunday at his home in England. The artist, who became famous in the 1980s in the duo Wham! and continued his career as a solo artist, was 53. police said "the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious."(CNBC)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the site of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor today, in a trip intended to show a healthy alliance between Japan and the United States. (Reuters)