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Pre-Market: Apple Strikes Deal With World's Largest Carrier; US GDP Beats Expectations


Jobless claims dipped below 300,000 for the first time since September.

Stocks were mixed this morning as investors were cautious ahead of major economic data releases that could greatly influence the Federal Reserve's decision on monetary stimulus this month.

America's economy grew by more than expected in the third quarter, according to the government's preliminary estimate. GDP rose 3.6% annually in Q3, beating estimates of a 3.1% rise. Second-quarter GDP growth was 2.8%. Initial jobless claims fell by 23,000 last week to 298,000. This news bodes well for the economy and provides a bullish signal for tomorrow's jobs report, but investors might sell if they think that the economic data is good enough for the Fed to scale back its monthly rate of asset purchases.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.03% to 15,881. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures were up 0.02% at 1,792.20 and futures on the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.13% to 3,487.00.

Bitcoin, the digital currency, dropped more than 30% overnight after China's central bank instructed banks not to trade it. Chinese tax-dodgers were among the biggest hoarders of the crypto-currency. The Bank of France also warned of Bitcoin's volatility with relation to legal currencies and the difficulty of converting it.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rose 1.5% in the pre-market on news that the company has struck a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) to offer iPhones on its network. With 700 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the world. On December 18, it will unveil its 4G services. China Mobile's US-traded shares were up 2% before the opening bell this morning.

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T (NYSE:T) is considering bidding up to $2.75 billion for a slice of Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) 700-MHz spectrum. T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) is also eyeing those same assets.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB) shares rose 4% in the pre-market after the company reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations. The menswear retailer earned $0.49 per share in the past quarter.

Overseas indices are also a mixed bag this morning. Both the Bank of England and European Central Bank voted to keep interest rates of 0.5% and 0.25%, respectively. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a 18.6-trillion-yen stimulus package aimed at offsetting the damage of a scheduled VAT hike that will go into effect in April. Most of the stimulus package is comprised of loans and pre-scheduled government spending. The yen dropped 0.3% today to 102.06 to the dollar.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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