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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. Reuters

Give it up for Congress! Our lawmakers actually avoided a government shutdown again this year! NYT

By my count, it was the 782nd debate between the GOP presidential candidates last night, and the last before the Iowa caucuses. CNN

Spanish and Italian government notes are surging on speculation the ECB will offer three-year loans next week. Bloomberg

United Rentals (URI - Get Report) ponies up $1.9 billion to buy RSC Holdings (RRR) WSJ


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. NYT


Company News

After a weak outlook from Research In Motion (RIMM), investors want co-CEOs' heads to roll. Paid Content

Zynga (ZNGA - Get Report) raises $1 billion with its IPO. That's gonna buy a lot of cows in Farmville.

How good is the CEO change for Amgen (AMGN)? Goldman Sachs analysts have removed their "sell" rating already. Street Insider

Speaking of CEO turnover, New York Times (NYT - Get Report) Chief Executive Janet Robinson is leaving the paper at year-end. NYT

More rumors of an Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPad Mini coming in 2012. Digitimes


Markets

Why the collapse of MF Global makes no sense. Bloomberg

The U.S. economy may be on the mend, but the warning signs keep piling up for China. WSJ


Investment Strategy

Why now is the time to buy U.S. equities. Sober Look

Can bond king Bill Gross stop investor outflows from his fund? Reuters


Odds and Ends

Journalist and political critic Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62. BBC

Self-promotion alert: Check out my NFL picks against the spread for Week 15. TheStreet

Happy Friday! Here's a video from Bloc Party to bring you into the weekend. YouTube

-- 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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