Dec. 19 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Dec. 19: 

1.-- U.S. stock futures slipped Thursday from record highs but global stocks were mostly higher after the Federal Reserve trimmed economic stimulus for the U.S. economy.

The Fed's unprecedented so-called open-ended monetary stimulus program has helped boost stock markets since initially being implemented in September 2012.

European stocks were gaining early Thursday. Asian shares finished mostly to the upside. Stocks in Japan rose, while markets in China and Hong Kong finished lower.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, existing-home sales for November at 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed Index for December at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for November at 10 a.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Wednesday surged to all-time highs as the Fed reinforced confidence about a broader economic recovery and maintained a highly accommodative stance by electing to curb its stimulus program by $10 billion. Chairman Ben Bernanke said recent improvements in U.S. employment convinced the central bank that it was appropriate to reduce the size of the program.

The S&P 500 jumped 1.7% to 1,810.65, a record closing high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.9% to 16,167.97, also an all-time closing high. The Nasdaq finished up 1.2% to 4,070.06.

4.-- Congress passed on Wednesday a two-year spending plan that all but removes the threat of another government shutdown like the one that slowed the economy in October. Among other things, the agreement will roll back some of the automatic federal spending cuts that kicked in this year.

President Barack Obama is certain to sign the measure, which on Wednesday passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on a vote of 64-36. Last week, it cleared the Republican-run House by a similarly bipartisan margin of 332-94.

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