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Dec. 26 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Dec. 26:

1. U.S.  stock futures were pointing to gains on Wall Street Thursday and global stocks were rising on signs that Japan's Central Bank will move forward with economic stimulus plans for the world's third-largest economy. European shares were gaining in Monday while Japanese markets advanced more than 1%.

2. The yen weakened to a five-year low against the dollar, dropping 0.4 percent to 104.77 per dollar after touching 104.84, the weakest level since October 2008. German, U.K. and Hong Kong markets are closed today.

3. China raised its growth forecast for 2013 to 7.6%, a top planning official said, indicating that the world's second-largest economy will exceed Beijing's target of 7.5% despite losing momentum in the final months of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

4. Weekly jobless claims are expected for release 8:30am New York time.

5. UPS (UPS) was overwhelmed by a high volume of holiday packages, the company said Wednesday, causing Christmas presents around the globe to miss their intended arrival date. Amazon.com responded with an offer of shipping refunds and $20 gift cards to affected customers.

6. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 0.29% to finish at 1,833.32 on Tuesday boosted by data that showed manufacturing grew in November while new home sales rose. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.39% to 16,357.55 while the Nasdaq lifted 0.16 to 4,155.42.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that durable-goods orders for November jumped 3.5% from the prior month -- orders dropped 0.7% in October -- and new orders excluding transportation increased 1.2%. Economists had been expecting orders to rise 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

Homes sales continued to show strength in November, rising 464,000 -- the best reading since July and topping economists' expectations of 450,000. The report, by the U.S. Census Bureau, upwardly revised October sales to 474,000 from a prior reading of 354,000.

7.  Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) gained on Tuesday after Reuters reported that private-equity firm Carlyle Group (CG) is nearing an agreement to buy the company's ortho clinical diagnostics unit, sources told Reuters. Shares closed effectively unchanged at $92.06. 

Target
(TGT) slipped 0.27% to $61.71 on Tuesday as the Justice Department opened an investigation into the credit and debit card security breach connected to some 40 million  accounts that were stolen from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15. 

Tesla TSLA surged on Tuesday after federal regulators reaffirmed a 5-star crashworthiness rating for the electric car maker's 2014 Model S. Tesla was being investigated by the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration for battery-related fires. Shares jumped 5.5% to close at $151.41 extending the automaker's 2013 advance to 213%.

8. Retail sales data continued to look week for the 2013 holiday season as a report from ShopperTrak said that sales at U.S. stores dropped 3.1% for the week ended Sunday against the same time a year earlier. It marked a third-straight week of declining retail sales, which dropped 2.9 and 0.8%, in the prior two weeks, respectively. ShopperTrak collects data from 40,000 locations. 9. Japanese automakers are bracing for a potential consumer backlash should tensions with  China escalate after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine memorializing war-dead on Chairman  Mao Zedong's birthday, Bloomberg News reported.

10. The U.S. is sending arms to Iraq to help battle Queda attacks, the New York Times reported.

--Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York.

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