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Dec. 11 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Stocks in this article: MA HPQ COST GM

Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Dec. 11:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were declining and stocks across the globe were mostly lower as investors have drawn the conclusion it's likely the Federal Reserve will curtail stimulus for the U.S. economy this month.

European shares were flat. Asian stocks ended Wednesday's session with losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.6% 

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the Treasury Budget for November at 2 p.m. EST.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday closed lower amid budget talks in Washington and profit-taking after the S&P 500 reached a record high on Monday, and concerns the Federal Reserve might curtail its bond-buying program of $85 billion a month as early as next week The S&P 500 lost 0.32% to close at 1,802.62 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.33% to 15,973.13. The Nasdaq closed 0.2% lower at 4,060.49.

4. -- Congressional negotiators reached a modest budget agreement Tuesday to restore about $65 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, with votes expected in both houses by the end of the week.

Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, enough for a largely symbolic cut of roughly $20 billion in the nation's $17 trillion debt.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray, D-Wash., unveiled the measure on Tuesday, will pitch the measure to skeptical conservatives at a closed-door GOP meeting on Wednesday. Democrats are set to discuss it as well, but the measure won an immediate endorsement from President Obama.

5. -- MasterCard (MA), the credit card giant, announced Tuesday a 10-for-1 stock split, an 83% boost to its dividend and a buyback plan of $3.5 billion.

The stock closed Tuesday at $763.61. The stock split will push the shares below $80. The split is scheduled to occur Jan. 21.

The new quarterly dividend of $1.10, or 11 cents after the split, will be paid Feb. 10.

"Today's actions reflect our ongoing commitment to deliver shareholder value as well as our confidence in the long-term growth and financial performance of our company," said Ajay Banga, MasterCard's president and CEO, in a statement.

6. -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman told CNBC in an interview that "desktops are not dead" as the computer and printer maker battles tough competition in the technology market.

Whitman said HP is working on innovative products for consumers including a device which combines the laptop and tablet.

"We're making a lot of progress," she told CNBC at HP's Discover Conference in Barcelona. "We have to continue to innovate. The innovation engine is alive and well at HP."

7. -- Hilton Worldwide Holdings' initial public offering is expected to be priced after the markets close Wednesday.

The hotel chain moved the offering to Wednesday from Thursday because of strong demand for the IPO, which is expected to raise about $2.4 billion. 

Hilton plans to offer almost 113 million shares at $18 to $21 a share.

8. -- Costco (COST), the warehouse retailer, posted fiscal first-quarter profit of $425 million, or 96 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $416 million, or 95 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts. however, were expecting earnings of $1.02 a share.

9. -- General Motors (GM) said Wednesday it will stop making cars and engines in Australia by the end of 2017, with nearly 2,900 jobs to be lost, because of high production costs and competition.

10. -- The federal health care law is becoming a heavier political burden for President Obama and his party, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Disapproval of Obama's job performance hit an all-time high in the poll, at 54%, amid the flawed rollout of the health law. Half of those polled now consider the law a bad idea, also a record high, the poll found.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email

Copyright 2013 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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