Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Dec. 20:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were rising slightly Friday but stocks in Asia ended the session mixed after China conducted short-term liquidity operations designed to prevent a new liquidity crunch.
European stocks were rising. China's Shanghai composite declined 2%. Shares in Hong Kong fell 0.3%.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the third estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. EST.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Thursday closed little changed Thursday as a mixed outlook from economic reports did little to shake investor confidence following the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to trim the size of its economic stimulus program.
The S&P 500 slipped a mild 0.06% on Thursday to close at 1,809.60 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.07% to finish at 16,179.08. The Nasdaq dipped 0.3% to 4,058.14.
4.-- The confirmation vote in the Senate for Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve will take place in January.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday night that Republicans and Democrats had reached an agreement on votes for several of President Obama's nominees, including Yellen. The Senate plans a test vote Friday to move ahead on Yellen's nomination, and will then vote Jan. 6 on her confirmation. Yellen would succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term as chairman ends on Jan. 31. 5.-- The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two Seattle men, one a former senior portfolio manager at Microsoft (MSFT), with 35 counts of illegally trading on private Microsoft information, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors said the trades netted the pair more than $390,000 in illicit profits over an 18-month period. Brian Jorgenson, a senior portfolio manager at Microsoft, passed information to a former colleague, online day trader Sean Stokke, who executed the trades, according to prosecutors, Reuters reported. 6.-- Target (TGT - Get Report) shares declined 2.2% on Thursday to $62.15 after the retailer acknowledged that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to the security breach told The Associated Press they had trouble contacting the discounter through its Web site and call centers. The Secret Service confirmed it was investigating the credit- and debit-card data theft at Target. Target also hired a forensics unit at Verizon (VZ) to investigate the incident, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Wall Street expects BlackBerry to post a third-quarter loss of 43 cents a share on revenue of $1.66 billion. Last year, the company earned $14 million, or 3 cents a share, on revenue of $2.7 billion. 8.-- Drugstore chain Walgreen (WAG) is forecast to report on Friday fiscal first-quarter net income of 72 cents a share on sales of $18.35 billion. 9.-- Fiscal second-quarter earnings at Nike (NKE), the world's largest athletic goods maker, rose by 40%, helped by higher average selling prices and an increase in global revenue. Earnings of $537 million, or 59 cents a share, beat analysts' expectations. Revenue rose 8% to $6.43 billion, but came in shy of forecasts.
10.-- Mark Zuckerberg is beginning to fulfill a pledge to give away most of his life's wealth as the Facebook (FB) co-founder and CEO conducts one of his biggest stock sales since taking the social networking giant public in May 2012. Facebook said it will sell 70 million shares, split between a sale of more than 27 million shares by the company and almost 43 million shares by selling stockholders. Of Facebook's selling stockholders, Zuckerberg will be selling 41,350,000 of his shares in the offering.
Facebook shares closed Thursday at $54.79, down 0.5%.
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