Dec. 20 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Dec. 20: 

1.-- U.S. stock futures were rising slightly Friday but stocks in Asia ended the session mixed after China conducted short-term liquidity operations designed to prevent a new liquidity crunch.

European stocks were rising. China's Shanghai composite declined 2%. Shares in Hong Kong fell 0.3%. 

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the third estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. EST.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Thursday closed little changed Thursday as a mixed outlook from economic reports did little to shake investor confidence following the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to trim the size of its economic stimulus program.

The S&P 500 slipped a mild 0.06% on Thursday to close at 1,809.60 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.07% to finish at 16,179.08. The Nasdaq dipped 0.3% to 4,058.14.

4.-- The confirmation vote in the Senate for Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve will take place in January.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday night that Republicans and Democrats had reached an agreement on votes for several of President Obama's nominees, including Yellen. 

The Senate plans a test vote Friday to move ahead on Yellen's nomination, and will then vote Jan. 6 on her confirmation. 

Yellen would succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term as chairman ends on Jan. 31.

5.-- The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two Seattle men, one a former senior portfolio manager at Microsoft (MSFT), with 35 counts of illegally trading on private Microsoft information, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors said the trades netted the pair more than $390,000 in illicit profits over an 18-month period.

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