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5 Things You Need to Know Before the Stock Market Opens

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The final trading day of 2011, which will decide whether the S&P 500 ends the year up or down, leads your quick fix of company, market, economic and investing news for Friday, Dec. 30.

Friday's 5 Biggest Stories

Stock futures are fluctuating. Where will the S&P 500 end the year? Place your bets now. [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-30/u-s-stock-futures-fluctuate-amid-concern-china-growth-may-slow.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

Raise your hand if you expected the IMF to tell Greece that a 50% haircut on its bonds wouldn't be enough. [<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204720204577130092642369400.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">WSJ</a>]

It's a good thing former Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) CEO Mark Hurd says it's riddled with inaccuracies, because Gloria Allred's letter detailing his alleged sexual harassment makes him look pretty bad. [<a href="http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/AS/pdf/AllredLetterRedacted.pdf" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Thomson Reuters</a>]

China's manufacturing activity contracted again in December. Is another reserve ratio cut not far behind? [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-30/china-manufacturing-contracts-for-2nd-month.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

After a very ugly public mess, TCW and Jeff Gundlach's DoubleLine Capital settle their beef privately. [<a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/twc-settles-suit-with-its-former-star-investor/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">DealBook</a>]

Company News

Only a few more days until the NYSE says "so long" to shares of bankrupt AMR Corp. (AMR). [<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/12/29/nyse-bids-farewell-to-american-airlines-parent-amr/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">WSJ</a>]

No surprise here: Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) is on pace to be the worst performing Dow stock of the year. [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-30/bank-of-america-s-three-ring-circus-tops-dow-jones-list-of-2011-laggards.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

After detailing some its store closures, Sears Holdings (SHLD - Get Report) has its debt cut further into junk status territory by Fitch Ratings. [<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57349995/fitch-cuts-sears-credit-rating-further-into-junk/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">CBS</a>]

Markets

Complacency is haunting the bond market. [<a href="http://macromon.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/the-haunting-of-the-sovereign-bonds/" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Global Macro Monitor</a>]

Money market funds are seeing their biggest inflows despite zero yields. [<a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/df984c86-323b-11e1-9be2-00144feabdc0.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">FT</a>]

Investment Strategy

Hedge funds fudging their quarterly return numbers? That doesn't sound like them at all. [<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203899504577128941789692300.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">WSJ</a>]

Something's gotta give in 2012, but what will it be? [<a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/in-2012-somethings-gotta-give-2011-12-30" target="blank" rel="nofollow">MarketWatch</a>]

Odds and Ends

You have to love it when author Michael Lewis playfully skewers his alma mater, although this time it's not Goldman! [<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-29/princeton-brews-trouble-for-us-1-percenters-commentary-by-michael-lewis.html" target="blank" rel="nofollow">Bloomberg</a>]

Happy New Year! Here's hoping for a happy and healthy 2012 to you and yours. Here's the only New Year's-related video I could think of, courtesy of U2. [<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7Gbb2bTWAc" 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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