December 30 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, Dec. 30:

1.-- Two explosions believed to be suicide bombings in two days in the Russian city of Volgograd have claimed the lives of at least 32 people.

A suicide bombing on a trolley bus in Russia Monday killed 15 and injured 27. A simlar attack on Sunday has killed 17.

No group has claimed responsibility but the attacks have occurred near the troubled Caucasus region. A Chechen rebel leader has advised his followers to use "maximum force" to disrupt the 2014 Winter Olympic Games scheduled for February in the nearby Black Sea resort of Sochi.

President Vladimir Putin has responded with calls for increased security throughout Russia.

2. -- U.S. stock futures are pointing toward a flat open and the trading session is expected to be relatively quiet heading into the New Year's Day holiday. European indices were off, with the FTSE down 0.15% and the DAX down 0.21% at 5:30 a.m. EST.

3.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes Pending Home Sales for November at 10 a.m. Consensus estimates are for a 1.5% increase, vs. a 0.6% decline in October. The Department of Agriculture releases its farm prices index, a possible indicator of inflation, at 3 p.m.

4.-- U.S. stocks on Friday put a damper on the "Santa Claus" rally which propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record closing high on Thursday. At Friday's close, the S&P 500 had dropped 0.03% to 1,841.46. The Dow had shed 0.01% to 16,479.05, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.25% to 4,156.59.

Even so, with only three trading sessions left in 2013, equities are set to end the year with the best performance since 1997.

5.-- An estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers lost federal unemployment benefits on Saturday, a product of the bipartisan federal budget deal this month to curtail government spending. The number of long-term unemployed ballooned to more than 6.7 million in the first half 2010 but has since declined to 4 million.

6.-- Asian markets rose Monday and Japanese stocks are closing the best year since 1972, with the Nikkei up 0.7% on the session and 57% for the year. The yen was up 0.06% against the dollar at 105.35.

7.-- In an about face, Target (TGT) acknowledged Friday that encrypted PIN number data were stolen when its credit card security was breached. A Target spokesperson said however that "the 'key' necessary to decrypt that data has never existed within Target's system and could not have been taken during this incident."

The retailer had previously said the PIN number data was not accessed during the breach.

8.-- White House officials said on Sunday that the number of Obamacare enrollees has topped 1.1 million, with the majority of those signing up in December. The surge in customer enrollment helped offset some of the disappointment with the rollout. The administration had originally hoped for 3.3 million enrollees by year-end.

9.-- A constitutional council in France has given President Francois Holland the go-ahead on a tax on salaries of the wealthiest executives. Including social contributions, the tax on corporate salaries above 1 million euros would amount to 75% of earned income, The Independent reports.

10.-- Aaron Rodgers returned to the field to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 33-29 win over the Chicago Bears for the NFC North championship Sunday. The victory was clinched in the final minute with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.

Rodgers had been out for seven games with a broken collarbone.

-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson

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