Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to gains on Wall Street Tuesday on optimism the White House and Congress can reach a deal to avert the economy going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

European stocks were rising after data revealed that investor confidence in Germany rose and after Italian stocks rebounded from losses Monday on an announcement from Prime Minister Mario Monti that he planned to resign.

Asian shares ended Tuesday's session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.1% to close at 9,525.32.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the start of the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's policy-making wing; the trade deficit report at 8:30 a.m. EST; the consumer confidence index at 10 a.m.; and wholesale trade at 10 a.m.

U.S. stocks on Monday eked out gains as blue-chips McDonald's ( MCD) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) advanced.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 15 points, or 0.11%, to close at 13,170.

The U.S. Treasury said Monday it would sell its remaining stake of more than 234 million shares of American International Group ( AIG), the giant insurer.

Texas Instruments ( AIG) reduced its outlook for fourth-quarter earnings, saying Monday it now expects earnings for the period of 5 cents to 9 cents a share, down from its previous forecast of 23 cents to 31 cents a share.

HSBC ( HBC), Europe's largest bank, said Tuesday it would pay $1.9 billion, a record fine, to settle a U.S. money-laundering probe.

Morgan Stanley ( MS) could soon ask U.S. regulators to allow it to buy back shares for the first time in more than four years, The Wall Street Journal reported.

SPX ( SPW), the industrial machinery maker, is in exclusive talks to buy rival Gardner Denver ( GDI) and hopes to finalize a deal by the end of the year, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Apple ( AAPL) and Google ( GOOG) are reportedly joining forces to bid for Kodak's portfolio of digital photography patents.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported the two rival electronics giants have decided to partner and buy 1,100 imaging patents owned by Kodak.

Earnings are expected Tuesday from Dollar General ( DG) and Comverse Technology ( CMVT).

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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