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US Market Update TRADETHENEWS.COM STAFF US Mid-Session Update: Tepid, Holiday Week Trading Begins   
Mon, 22 Dec 11:43 AM EST/04:43 PM GMT
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Economic Data
- (PT) Portugal Oct Current Account Balance: 0.5B v €0.6B prior
- (IL) Israel Nov Unemployment Rate: 5.6% v 5.7% prior
- (BR) Brazil Nov Total Outstanding Loans (BRL): 2.963 v 2.926T prior; M/M: 1.3 v 0.8% prior; Banks' Lending (BRL): 1.377 v 1.364T prior; Personal Loan Default Rate: 6.5 v 6.5% prior
- (US) Nov Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index: 0.73 v 0.25e
- (MX) Mexico Q3 Aggregate Supply and Demand: 3.0% v 3.2%e
- (US) Nov Existing Home Sales: 4.93M v 5.20Me
- (EU) Euro Zone Dec Advance Consumer Confidence: -10.9 v 11.0e

The second-to-last week of 2014 has begun with pretty slack trading and modest equity gains. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.44%, while the S&P500 and the Nasdaq are more or less unchanged.

Energy market volatility has hit natural gas hard this morning. The front-month Henry Hub contract is down about 9% on the session to $3.16, the biggest one-day loss in a year. There are no proximate causes for today's slide, however unseasonably warm weather in the US should continue through the end of the year and gas stockpiles are building as a result. Natural gas names Chesapeake and Range Resources are down 6% a piece this morning. WTI crude is around $55.70, off earlier highs north of $58. Saudi Arabia said Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so.

Russia's situation continues to deteriorate. The Russian central bank has bailed out its first ba ...
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