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Pre-Market: Apple Partners With China Mobile, Personal Income and Outlays Rise

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Apple has 760 million more potential customers than it did last week.

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Stocks are heading toward a strong opening today after news that personal income and consumer spending in the US rose last month.

Stock futures indicate that major indices are likely to extend last week's gains. Future contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 0.28% to 16,227.00 before the opening bell. After rising 2.4% last week as the Fed announced modest changes to quantitative easing and US GDP was revised upward, futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.41% on Monday to 1,822.00, and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.69% to 3,556.75. Bonds, gold, and oil prices were lower this morning.

Personal income growth in November was slower than expected, but consumer spending sped up. Personal income rose 0.2% on a monthly basis after October's 0.1% drop, but spending rose 0.5%, up from 0.3% the month before. Later this morning, the Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for December will be released. Economists expect the indicator to rise one point to 83.5.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally inked a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), the largest mobile carrier in the world, to sell iPhones in China. With more than 750 million new potential customers, shares of Apple are up 3.4%. However, Apple still has to contend with the lack of subsidies in China that lead most subscribers to choose cheaper Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) handsets. Analysts predict between 10 and 24 million iPhone handset sales in 2014. The new phones will work with China Mobile's 4G and 3G network.

Though the holiday season is in full swing, retail traffic at Target (NYSE:TGT) is suffering due to a recent data breach. Consumer Growth Partners estimates that transactions were 3-4% lower over the weekend than last year's pre-Christmas rush. Last week, Target acknowledged that hackers accessed data on 40 million consumers' credit cards.

Today is the first day that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) trades as part of the S&P 500. Shares of the social network company were 0.5% higher ahead of the bell.

Shares of T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) rose 2.5% this morning on speculation that it will soon be acquired. Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank (OTCMKTS:SFTBF), which owns Sprint (NYSE:S), said that he is looking into ways to finance a bid for the fourth-largest US mobile carrier. He is reportedly lining up about $20 billion with several large banks including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).

The budget deal in Washington is very likely to result in greater economic growth, according to the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde. Though she didn't mention an exact number, Lagarde told NBC that the IMF will probably raise its forecast for US GDP next year.


Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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