Good morning! Here's what you need to know ahead of the opening bell.
Russia Is Throwing The Kitchen Sink At The Ruble. After a surprise rate hike failed to stem the collapse of the Russian currency, the country's finance ministry has taken extraordinary steps. "Russia struggled for a second straight day to reverse a rout in the ruble with emergency measures, narrowing President Vladimir Putinís options in confronting the countryís deepest financial crisis since 1998," Bloomberg's Ksenia Galouchko, Vladimir Kuznetsov, and Olga Tanas reported. "The ruble erased a rally of as much as 8.4%, leaving it little changed, after the Finance Ministry announced that it bought the currency."
Russians Are Scrambling For Dollars As The Ruble Crumbles. With Russia's central bank seemingly unable to stop the enormous decline in its currency, many ordinary Russians are attempting to get as much of their money exchanged out of rubles as possible.
Carlsberg Is Trying To Hedge Against Russia's Crisis. The company is the largest producer of beer in Russia, and the fall of the ruble has reduced its share price by about 15% this month. The company said it was "evaluating its efforts on a running basis" when asked by Bloomberg whether it was trying to hedge against the ruble.
Japan's Export Growth Is Still Disappointing. Japan's exports grew for a third straight month in November from a year earlier, but much more slowly than expected and despite a sharp fall in the yen as slowing demand in Asia and Europe dampened trade. The 4.9% rise in exports was much weaker than a 7.0% gain analysts expected.
Inflation In Europe Is Still Low. Inflation in the eurozone was 0.3% in November, according to the second estimate. Core inflation, which strips out volatile elements like energy and fresh food, was at 0.7% for the month. "Overall, the current inflation picture, and the likely further deterioration this month, raises the likelihood of sovereign QE as early as next month, but it is still far from certain that the ECB will move this early," Pantheon Macroeconomics' Claus Vistesen said.
Markets Are Mixed. US futures are rallying, with Dow futures up 91 points and S&P futures up 12 points. Europe is in the red, with Britain's FTSE 100 down 0.7%, France's CAC 40 down 0.4%, and Germany's DAX down 0.6%. Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.38%, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.37%.
The Fed's Latest Decisions Are Coming. At 2 p.m. ET, we'll get the latest decisions on monetary policy from the US Federal Reserve. Investors are watching most closely to see whether the phrase suggesting there will be "considerable time" before an interest hike is removed from the central bank's guidance.
Greece's Legislators To Vote On New President Wednesday. The Greek parliament needs to vote with a two-thirds majority to approve a new president, which is extremely unlikely to happen. Investors will be keeping an eye on how many MPs the government manages to get support from and whether it's likely to muster the three-fifths support needed later this month. If not, snap nationwide elections loom.
SeaWorld Is Releasing Some Mammals. "SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. plans to cut about 300 jobs as the theme-park operator continues to deal with the backlash from animal-rights activists and consumers about its treatment of animals, especially killer whales," The Wall Street Journal's Maria Armental reported. "SeaWorld, which operates its theme parks under its own name and under the Busch Gardens brand, wasn't specific about which positions would be eliminated except to say the cuts would be across its 11 theme parks and at its headquarters."
American Apparel Releases A Mammal. American Apparel CEO Dov Charney has been fired. From the company's statement: "Mr. Charney was suspended as president and CEO by the Board on June 18 for alleged misconduct and violations of company policy. Under terms of an agreement signed by Mr. Charney on July 9, a special committee of the Board oversaw an internal investigation conducted by FTI Consulting into the allegations against Mr. Charney. Based on this investigation, the special committee determined that it would not be appropriate for Mr. Charney to be reinstated as CEO or an officer or employee of the Company."
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