Pre-Market Primer: House to Vote on Boehner's 'Plan B'; Apple Loses Key Patent

By Vincent Trivett  DEC 20, 2012 8:59 AM

The breakdown of talks between Democrats and Republicans sent stocks down.

 


MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Fiscal cliff negotiations have investors on edge, but an upwardly revised final reading of the US economy's growth could boost stocks today.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were dead flat at 13,219. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) inched up by  0.01% to 1,433.10 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.11% to 2,695.75.

House Speaker John Boehner will call a vote for the Republican "Plan B" tax bill. The GOP plan will only raise taxes on those earning more than $1 million per year. President Barack Obama has promised to veto the bill, as it only adds $300 billion in government revenue over ten years.

The Nikkei Index (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) ended down 1.19%, stemming the post-election rally. The Bank of Japan has bowed to incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's demands for more monetary easing, but not by as much as he would have liked. The central bank expanded its asset purchase program to 76 trillion yen, but did not change its inflation target.

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) is in talks to be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE), a commodities and derivatives trading platform. IntercontinentalExchange reportedly offered $33 per share, a 37% premium over the exchange's closing price.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) suffered another legal blow yesterday when the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that it should have never granted a patent for Apple's pinch-to-zoom technology. The smartphone software feature figures prominently in Apple's legal win over Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) in August. The US Patent and Trademark Office's move will strengthen the Korean company's case as it tries to overturn the $1.05 billion verdict against it.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) will release its fiscal third-quarter results after the bell today. The BlackBerry maker is expected to show earnings of $0.35 per share on $2.65 billion in revenue as it struggles to hang on to subscribers ahead of the release of the BlackBerry 10 next month.

The final reading of US GDP in the third quarter was revised up to a 3.1% annual rate of growth. The previous reading showed a 2.7% increase. Initial claims for unemployment insurance ticked up to 361,000 last week, an increase of 2,000 over the week before.

Later this morning, a report is likely to show that existing home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.9 million homes in November. House values in October, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Home Price Index, are expected to show a 0.3% increase.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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