The U.S. stock market is coming off a losing week and three consecutive down sessions (a fractional gain by the S&P 500 last Wednesday notwithstanding) as investors continue to follow the saga of the "fiscal cliff" talks. House Speaker John Boehner has now offered the White House a concession on raising tax rates on the wealthy, but there's little indication as yet as to how this may or may not move the negotiations.
Only a few bits of economic data are on today's calendar, starting with the monthly Empire State Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 8:30 a.m. New York time. That monthly measure of New York State manufacturing activity is expected to come in at -1.0 for December, a less negative reading than November's -5.2. At 9am ET, the Treasury will release the so-called "TIC" data, a measure of foreign investment in the U.S.
At 10:30 a.m., CNBC's Steve Liesman will have an exclusive interview with Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, who's been the lone dissenter to the Fed's monetary policy statements at the last few FOMC meetings.
There are no earnings reports of note on the calendar today, although later in the week we'll hear from Oracle (ORCL), FedEx (FDX), Nike (NKE), Research In Motion (RIMM), General Mills (GIS), and Discover Financial (DFS), among others.
Intel (INTC), Apple (AAPL), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are among our stocks to watch this morning, as an International Trade Commission judge rules in favor of those three tech giants in a patent case. X2Y Attenuators, a small semiconductor maker, had alleged that the three had infringed its patents. The case involved Intel chips that were used in Apple and HP computers.
Wal-mart (WMT) has cut prices on Apple products for the holiday season, including the third-generation iPad and the iPhone 5.
Separately, Apple says it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5 models in China during the first three days after the Friday launch, marking the fastest China iPhone launch ever for Apple.
AIG (AIG) is planning to raise up to $6.5 billion through a sale of shares of its remaining stake in Asian insurer AIA Group. It had sold part of AIA following the 2008 bailout of AIG in order to raise funds.
UBS (UBS) is expected to be hit with a fine of up to $1.6 billion this week to settle LIBOR-rigging charges.
NRG Energy (NRG) has closed the $1.7 billion stock deal to purchase GenOn Energy, resulting in the largest competitive-rate power company in the United States.
Knight Capital (KCG) is holding a board meeting this morning, amid reports from the Wall Street Journal that the two firms bidding for Knight are considering whether to raise their bids. Getco and Virtu Financial have already each offered more than $1 billion to buy the trading firm.