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Pre-Market Primer: China Rallies on Relaxed Foreign Investment Rules; PC Shipments Drop


And Apple is cutting orders for iPhone 5 components.

US stocks were slightly lower this morning after overseas markets rallied overnight.

Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.16% to 13,411. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures dropped 0.15% to 1,464.90. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures slipped 0.61% to 2,727.00. No major US economic indicators are on tap for today.

The Shanghai Composite (SHA:000001) rose over 3% today after Chinese regulators said they will lift restrictions on how much foreigners can invest in the country. The government will increase investment quotas for the Renminbi Qualified Institutional Investment program by 10 times.

The Japanese yen fell to 89.28 to the dollar, the lowest level in over two years, on speculation that the Bank of Japan governor will announce more monetary easing in a major speech tomorrow.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) cut its orders for components to be used in the iPhone 5. Screen orders for the current quarter were cut by half. Apple's stock price fell by 3.8% before the opening bell.

Despite the release of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8, PC sales during the holiday quarter fell 4.3% as customers increasingly opted for mobile devices. Industry research firm Gartner said that PC shipments fell to 90.3 million units in the quarter. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) reclaimed the top spot for market share from Lenovo (PINK:LNVGY). JPMorgan Chase responded by upgrading HP shares to neutral from underweight.

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) dropped its bid for Dutch rival TNT Express NV (AMS:TNTE) after European regulators vetoed the deal. TNT shares fell about 42%. UPS was set to pay $7 billion for the company. It's market cap after today's plunge is just $2.6 billion.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said today that Greece and the eurozone will improve significantly in 2013.

"It's clearly the case that investors are returning to the eurozone, and resuming confidence in that market," she said in an interview with the BBC World Service. As for Greece, Lagarde commended the country for taking the tough austerity measures. She says that the country will outperform significantly in 2013.

"The country is going to turn out better results than what was even planned -- but it has to continue doing a massive effort on collection of revenue and collection of tax."

Over the weekend, Greece was rocked by a violent attack on the headquarters of the New Democracy party as well as the homes of several journalists. Some homes were firebombed and a gunman with a Kalashnikov rifle fired into the party's buildings. Despite the attacks, Greece's equities rose to their highest level in 17 months.

Eurozone industrial output fell again in November 2012, this time by 0.3% after a 1% drop in the previous month. On an annual basis, the economy shrank by 3.7%

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that rich industrialized countries will improve this year. The OECD's composite leading indicator stayed steady from October to November 2012 at 100.2. The growth outlook for the US and UK rose, and China's edged closer to its long-term average. Core eurozone countries are also stabilizing.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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