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Market Morning: Europe's 'Lehman Moment'

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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report), 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 - Get Report), which lowered its fiscal third-quarter revenue outlook because of weak economic conditions in Europe and Asia and inventory corrections; and Leggett & Platt (LEG - Get Report), 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.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.

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