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5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Fitch Ratings' downgrade of bank stocks like Citigroup (C - Get Report) and Goldman Sachs (GS) leads your quick fix of company, market, economic and investing news for Friday, Dec. 16.

Friday's 5 Biggest Stories

Fitch Ratings cut the ratings on seven banks Thursday. Nobody was surprised. [<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/16/us-banks-ratings-fitch-idUSTRE7BE2AO20111216" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Reuters</a>]

Give it up for Congress! Our lawmakers actually avoided a government shutdown again this year! [<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/us/politics/congress-moves-closer-to-a-spending-deal.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">NYT</a>]

By my count, it was the 782nd debate between the GOP presidential candidates last night, and the last before the Iowa caucuses. [<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/15/politics/iowa-debate/index.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">CNN</a>]

Spanish and Italian government notes are surging on speculation the ECB will offer three-year loans next week. [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-16/german-two-year-note-yields-decline-to-record-low-on-europe-debt-concern.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

United Rentals (URI - Get Report) ponies up $1.9 billion to buy RSC Holdings (RRR)[<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111216-704663.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">WSJ</a>]

Quote of the Day

"Historically, short-sellers have tended to be right a surprising amount of the time, at least in cases where the company grew upset enough to publicly complain," New York Times reporter Floyd Norris writes in an article questioning the curbing of short sales. [<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/business/questioning-the-evil-of-short-sales-high-low-finance.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">NYT</a>]

Company News

After a weak outlook from Research In Motion (RIMM), investors want co-CEOs' heads to roll. [<a href="http://paidcontent.org/article/419-why-rim-needed-to-fire-its-co-ceos-months-if-not-years-ago/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Paid Content</a>]

Zynga (ZNGA - Get Report) raises $1 billion with its IPO. That's gonna buy a lot of cows in Farmville. [<a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-16/zynga-raises-1-billion-pricing-ipo-at-top-of-marketed-range.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow"></a>]

How good is the CEO change for Amgen (AMGN)? Goldman Sachs analysts have removed their "sell" rating already. [<a href="http://www.streetinsider.com/Hot+Upgrades/Goldman+Sachs+Removes+%22Sell%22+From+Amgen+(AMGN)+On+Leadership+Change/7025409.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Street Insider</a>]

Speaking of CEO turnover, New York Times (NYT - Get Report) Chief Executive Janet Robinson is leaving the paper at year-end. [<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/business/media/janet-l-robinson-to-retire-from-the-new-york-times.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">NYT</a>]

More rumors of an Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPad Mini coming in 2012. [<a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20111215PD209.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Digitimes</a>]

Markets

Why the collapse of MF Global makes no sense. [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-15/here-s-one-big-thing-mf-and-corzine-got-right-commentary-by-jonathan-weil.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

The U.S. economy may be on the mend, but the warning signs keep piling up for China. [<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/12/15/meanwhile-in-china-the-warning-signs-keep-piling-up/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">WSJ</a>]

Investment Strategy

Why now is the time to buy U.S. equities. [<a href="http://narrowtranche.blogspot.com/2011/12/its-green-light-for-us-equity-market.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Sober Look</a>]

Can bond king Bill Gross stop investor outflows from his fund? [<a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/16/emerging-market-debt-and-pimco-risk/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Reuters</a>]

Odds and Ends

Journalist and political critic Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62. [<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16212418" target="blank" rel="nofollow">BBC</a>]

Self-promotion alert: Check out my NFL picks against the spread for Week 15. [<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/11347158/1/against-the-spread-2011-nfl-picks-week-15.html" target="blank">TheStreet</a>]

Happy Friday! Here's a video from Bloc Party to bring you into the weekend. [<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsfBtmIb3Ag" target="blank" rel="nofollow">YouTube</a>]

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Holmes.

>To follow Robert Holmes on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/RobTheStreet.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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AAPL $122.37 0.00%
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