Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Jan. 8:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were rising Wednesday, following robust gains in Japan and Hong Kong.
European stocks were trading mixed early Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.9% to close at 16,121.45 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3% to finish at 22,996.59.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the ADP Employment Change Index for December at 8:15 a.m. EST, and minutes of the Dec. 18 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Tuesday rose for the first time in 2014, snapping a three-day losing streak after an improved trade report and eurozone data bolstered investor sentiment.
The S&P 500 rose 0.61% to close at 1,837.88 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.64% to finish at 16,530.94. The Nasdaq jumped 0.96% to 4,153.18.
4.-- Ford (F - Get Report) CEO Alan Mulally put to rest rumors on Tuesday that he will leave the automaker run Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). Mulally said he'll be staying at Ford at least through the end of 2014."I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally told The Associated Press in an interview.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is closer to naming a new CEO, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the board's thinking. Sources familiar with the process told Reuters that Microsoft is down to a "handful" of candidates, including one or more outsiders from the tech industry, former Nokia (NOK) CEO Stephen Elop and insiders Satya Nadella and Tony Bates. 5.-- Forest Laboratories (FRX) is nearing an agreement to acquire specialty pharmaceutical company Aptalis Holdings from private-equity firm TPG Capital for about $3 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. An announcement of a deal could come as early as Wednesday, the person said.
Aptalis develops drugs that treat cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal disorders. 6.-- Citigroup (C) is considering selling its $1 billion stake in a private-equity fund to comply with the so-called Volcker rule, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Citigroup is considering selling its remaining stake in an emerging-markets fund it sold in August to the Rohatyn Group, a private-equity fund run by Nick Rohatyn, son of financier Felix Rohatyn, the Journal reported.
7.-- Monsanto (MON), the seed maker, is expected by Wall Street on Wednesday to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $3.07 billion.
(WLP) agreed Tuesday to sell online contact lens retailer 1-800 Contacts to private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners and also reached a deal to sell the glasses.com Web site to Italy's Luxottica.
The deals are expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
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