Yikes. Not exactly the recipe for a happy new year.
The latest bond auction in Italy saw mixed results as the country reportedly sold around ¿7 billion worth of bonds, not quite hitting the top of a ¿5 billion to ¿8.5 billion target, according to The Wall Street Journal, although yields did decline, narrowing the spread between 10-year Italian debt and the equivalent German bonds.
As for the rest of Thursday, the economic calendar features the usual weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET with the consensus at 368,000, showing some faith in the recent decline to levels unseen in more than three years.
The market also gets Chicago PMI for December at 9:45 a.m. ET, pending home sales for November at 10 a.m. ET, and weekly crude inventories data at 11 a.m. ET.In corporate news, there are no earnings reports of note. Yahoo! (YHOO) could see some active trading though following reports that China's Alibaba Group has hired a U.S. lobbyist firm in preparation for making a bid for all of Yahoo! if a deal to buy back some of its assets from the company doesn't work out. Other companies in the spotlight on Thursday include Chesapeake Energy (CHK), which has agreed to sell its natural gas pipeline system in the Marcellus Shale to an affiliate to $865 million; Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), which agreed late Wednesday to acquire privately held Enobia Pharma for $1.08 billion; Exar (EXAR), which lowered its fiscal third-quarter revenue outlook because of weak economic conditions in Europe and Asia and inventory corrections; and Leggett & Platt (LEG), which said it expects to record a charge of $36 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, mainly related to restructuring activities. --Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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