-Oil: WTI for February delivery increased as much as 42 cents to $36.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $36.46 as of 10:55 a.m. London time. In recent days, the spread between WTI and Brent has closed to almost zero while options traders bet on oil falling to as low as $15 a barrel in 2016. This morning OPEC released its latest World Oil Outlook in which they see demand falling through 2020, but less than previously forecast. Their projections assume oil will rise to an average of $80 a barrel by 2020. Low oil prices are really starting to bite across oil-producing nations, with Venezuela and Canada being hit particularly hard.
-China extends yuan trading: Chinese authorities announced they will double the yuan’s onshore trading hours from January as it prepares for the currency’s addition to the IMF reserve basket next year. Chinese equities, which suffered the biggest-ever destruction of their stock-market value during the mid-year crash, did pretty well for those that bought early and held on, with the Shanghai Composite Index rallying 13 percent in 2015. One of the few forecasters to predict the equity boom and bust is warning of more risks to China’s markets in 2016.
-U.K. GDP: Third-quarter GDP in the U.K. rose 0.4 percent, less than the 0.5 percent forecast, and GDP growth in the second quarter was revised down as fears grow over a loss of momentum in that economy. A Bloomberg survey of economists said the two biggest risks facing the U.K. economy in 2016 are Brexit and Brexit.
-Hedge fund winners: In a year where hedge funds suffered some dismal performances, a handful of multibillion-dollar firms including Blackstone Group LP, D.E. Shaw Investments LP, Millennium Partners LP, and Citadel have managed to post double-digit returns. During 2015 energy bets were the hardest hit, with some of the worst distressed debts losing over 80 percent.
-Stock market movers — Chipotle, Micron, Nike, Guotai, Panmure Gordon: Beleaguered restaurant chain Chipotle (CMG) is down 2% ahead of the open on reports of more E. coli cases tied to the popular Mexican food chain. Chip maker Micron Technology (MU) reported unimpressive quarterly earnings Tuesday evening, causing its shares to plunge nearly 6% premarket. Nike (NKE) shares are higher in premarket trading after beating earnings expectations. Shares in brokerage Guotai jumped to three weeks highs in Hong Kong after its CEO, who has been missing since Nov. 18, resurfaced. The company issued a statement saying the CEO had been «assisting in certain investigations.» U.K. brokerage firm Panmure Gordon warned it will post an annual loss for 2015, sending shares lower by 20% in London.
-Economics: At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release data on personal income and expenditures in November. Also at 8:30 a.m., November’s report on manufactures’ durable goods orders is due from the Census Bureau. The bureau will also post new home sales data for November at 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., watch for the weekly update to U.S. crude inventories data.
-International markets overview: European markets are up more than 1% in early trading, while Asian markets ended mixed. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed up nearly 1% with oil shares powering the gains. Crude prices jumped nearly 1% off an 11-year low. Data from the American Petroleum Institute revealed an unexpected fall in U.S. oil inventories. The market will also be digesting OPEC’s annual World Oil Outlook. Tokyo was closed Wednesday for a holiday.
-Tuesday market recap: The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.9% and the Nasdaq closed up 0.6%.