Good morning! Here are the major stories you need to know about before markets open in the US.
Oil Keeps Plunging. WTI crude fell to as low as $63.72 a barrel, the lowest level since July 2009. Brent crude touched a low of $67.53, the lowest level since October 2009. This follows Thursday's decision by OPEC not to cut production.
Switzerland's Referendum Sends Gold Prices Tumbling. On Sunday night, gold was down more than 4% to as low as $1,143 an ounce after voters in Switzerland rejected a measure that would have required the Swiss National Bank to increase its gold reserves to 20% of its holdings from 8%.
Stocks Are In The Red. US futures are sinking, with Dow futures down 39 points and S&P futures down 6.7 points. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 is down 0.8%, France's CAC 40 is down 0.2%, and Germany's DAX is down 0.1%. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 2.5%, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.7%, and Australia's S&P/ASX closed down 1.9%.
Black Friday Stunk. "The National Retail Federation estimated on Sunday that retail sales over the full Thanksgiving weekend will show a decline of 11.3% from a year earlier, to $50.9 billion," Reuters' Nandita Bose reported. Keep in mind this is just a very narrow window, so it reveals very little about the health of the American consumer.
Chinese Manufacturing Is Teetering. Chinese manufacturing disappointed again in November. The country's manufacturing PMI missed expectations, coming in at 50.3; analysts expected 50.5. Any number under 50 indicates a contraction in the country's manufacturing sector.
Chinese House Prices Slumped For The 7th Month Running. China's housing prices in November fell on a monthly basis for the seventh straight month, a survey showed Sunday, with the market yet to feel the full impact of a cut in interest rates.
Japanese Capital Spending Jumped. Business investment rose 5.5% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, despite the country officially falling into a recession during the three months to October.
The Eurozone Is Stagnating. The eurozone manufacturing PMI fell to 50.1 in November from 50.6 in October. Germany's PMI declined to a 17-month low of 49.5, and France's PMI hit a three-month low of 48.4. "Not only is the performance of the sector the worst seen since mid-2013, there is a risk that renewed rot is spreading across the region from the core," Markit's Chris Williamson said. "The sector has more or less stagnated since August, but we are now seeing, for the first time in nearly one-and-a-half years, the three largest economies all suffering manufacturing downturns."
US Manufacturing Data Coming. We'll get the Markit US manufacturing PMI report at 9:45 a.m. ET and the ISM manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET. "Early reads on November manufacturing have suggested continued growth momentum but little price gain," UBS' Sam Coffin said. "The export orders index could gain attention if it corroborates (or contradicts) recent signs of softening global demand."
Strikes Just Pushed Germany's Biggest Airline To Cancel Half Its Flights. The German flagship carrier Lufthansa said it had canceled 1,350 flights, or 48% of scheduled services, for Monday and Tuesday as its pilots prepared to go on strike.
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