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Pre-Market: Apple Makes a Strange Acquisition; Vehicle Sales Expected to Rise


Stocks are heading south before this week's jobs report.

Stocks are heading for losses on Tuesday morning as index futures sink below recent milestones ahead of major economic data releases later this week.

The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was set to open below the psychological threshold of 16,000 this morning. Futures on the index were down 0.39% at 15,935.00 while futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 0.26% to 1,795.00. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures sank 0.12% to 3,478.75.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were up 0.8% this morning. The move could be explained by UBS analysts upgrading the company to a Buy from Neutral. Also, it was reported late yesterday that Apple acquired Topsy, a social media analytics company for about $200 million. Topsy uses Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) to find popular trends. It isn't yet clear what Apple plans to do with Topsy.

Today, Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) could see heavy trading as automakers release sales figures for November. Economists predict that the pace of total vehicle sales will rise to an annualized 15.7 million from 15.2 million. Domestic sales are projected to rise to 12.3 million. Chrysler, which is owned by Fiat S.p.A. (OTCMKTS:FIATY), saw sales increase 16% last month, boosted by Black Friday sales. Fiat is aiming to spin off Chrysler and take it public.

Gamers are buying up consoles by the millions. Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 sold 2.1 million units since hitting the shelves. It is on track to meet sales estimates of 3 million by the end of the year. The console launched in Europe over last weekend, where it sold 700,000 units, beating Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One, which launched in all markets earlier.

Yesterday, mobile phone transactions for Cyber Monday sales climbed 16% from a year ago to $2.29 billion. Mobile sales accounted for almost a fifth of total sales.

Overseas markets were in the red as well this morning. Spain reported that the number of citizens filing for jobless claims fell by 2,475 in November to 4.8 million. Over the past year, that number is down by almost 100,000. This was the first-ever November drop in the number of jobless Spaniards.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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