NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, Jan. 12:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Monday and European stocks gained amid a bevy of merger activity in the pharmaceuticals sector.

Asian stocks finished Monday's session flat to mostly lower. Stocks in Japan were closed for a holiday.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. is empty on Monday.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Friday fell, dipping back into the red for 2015, on weak U.S. wage growth and a decline in oil prices.

The S&P 500 fell 0.84% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.95%. The Nasdaq slipped 0.68%.

4. -- Shire (SHPG) - Get Report agreed to buy NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP) , which specializes in drugs for rare conditions, for $5.2 billion.

The acquisition will expand Shire's portfolio of specialty drugs, medications for niche diseases and conditions that typically command much higher price tags than conventional medications.

Under the agreement, approved by the boards of both companies, Shire will acquire all outstanding shares of NPS for $46 a share in cash. NPS shares closed Friday at $41.91.

5. -- General Motors (GM) - Get Report is developing an electric battery-powered car for 2017 that will sell for $30,000 -- a plan that, if successful, could pose significant competition for Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report  and Nissan (NSANY) in particular.

GM declined to confirm officially leaks that broke over the weekend that it would announce the new electric-vehicle initiative Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A company spokesman agreed, off the record, to confirm that CEO Mary Barra will indeed present a concept version of a new electric vehicle at the show.

As for this week's auto show, "if there is a theme, it is performance. It is all about power, even for trucks," Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for, told the Detroit Free Press. "It may be a coincidence that gas prices are so low right now, but it sets the stage for Detroit for big vehicles and sports cars. This is the least green show in years."

6. -- Alcoa (A) - Get Report , the aluminum giant, is expected by Wall Street to report on Monday fourth-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of $6.03 billion.

7. -- Foundation Medicine (FMI) - Get Report will become majority-owned by Roche (RHHBY) as part of a $1 billion-plus strategic partnership to expand the use of genetic testing in cancer drug research and treatment.

Roche's acquired stake in Foundation Medicine is priced at $50 share, more than double the company's Friday closing price of $23.93. Foundation Medicine will continue to operate independently.

8. -- Merck (MRK) - Get Report has accelerated its plans to submit new drugs for hepatitis C and lung cancer for regulatory approval, in a bid to close the gap with competitors in two lucrative segments, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The drugmaker hopes that an overhaul of its research-and-development engine in the past 18 months has positioned it to introduce the new drugs at least several months earlier than expected. It is possible the drugs could hit the market later this year if government regulators approve them, the Journal noted.

9. -- The average price of regular gasoline nationwide has dropped 27 cents a gallon in the past three weeks to $2.20.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said it's the lowest in more than five years and more drops are possible, although probably not as steep.

Lundberg said lower crude oil prices with an abundant oil supply were driving prices down.

10. -- The Senate still needs four votes to pass veto-proof legislation to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who sponsored the legislation.

Hoeven "Fox News Sunday" the GOP-controlled Senate remains shy of the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto.

The Senate could hold a preliminary vote on the legislation as early as Monday.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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