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Top 5 Things to Know in The Market on Monday

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, December 17: 1. U.S.

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, December 17:

1. U.S. Futures Point to Higher Open

U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open at the start of the trading week.

At 5:40AM ET (10:40 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures were up 40 points, or around 0.2%, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 5 points, or about 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 19 points, or roughly 0.3%.

The move in premarket comes after Wall Street tumbled 2% on Friday, as weak data from China and Europe stoked fears of a global economic slowdown. Friday also marked the first time since March 2016 that all major indexes closed in correction territory.

Elsewhere, European stocks started the week on the backfoot, with all the major bourses in the region trading in negative territory.

Earlier, stocks in Asia closed mostly higher. Investors are now looking to a major speech by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of China's economic reforms.

2. U.S. Dollar, Treasury Yields Slip

Away from equities, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.2% to 96.72, pulling back from the 19-month high of 97.70 it hit on Friday.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields inched lower, with the benchmark 10-year note standing at 2.88%, while the yield on U.S. government bonds with 2-year maturities stood at 2.72%.

Investors awaited cues on U.S. interest rate hikes from a Federal Reserve meeting later this week.

The Fed is widely expected to announce its fourth rate hike of 2018 on Wednesday, but more importantly, investors will be watching for signals from the U.S. central bank on its plans for next year.

While policymakers have pointed to three increases in 2019, the market is starting to bet the U.S. central bank may halt its rate hikes altogether next year as risks to the U.S. economy mount.

3. Oil Prices Tick Higher

In commodities, oil prices ticked higher, staging a modest rebound after falling by more than 2% in the prior session amid concerns over demand in the wake of weaker growth in major economies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 48 cents, or about 0.9%, at $51.95 per barrel.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.88 per barrel, up 60 cents, or 1%.

Indications that U.S. drilling activity fell to its lowest level in about two months helped ease worries about oversupply in the market.

Read more: Commodities Week Ahead: Oil Awaits Year End To Play Out: Barani Krishnan

4. U.S.-China Trade Dispute Rumbles On

The United States said that China's "unfair competitive practices" were harming foreign companies and workers in a way that violates World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, the latest development in the ongoing U.S.-Sino trade dispute.

U.S. trade ambassador Dennis Shea also said that Washington would lead reform efforts.

He was addressing the start of a two-day review of U.S. trade policies, held every two years at the WTO, which continues on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last month to hold off on additional tariffs on each other's goods for 90 days in order to allow for negotiations to continue.

Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a trade dispute for the most part of the year, with both countries slapping tariffs on several of each other's products.

5. UK PM May to Rule Out Second Referendum

In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to state her opposition to a second Brexit referendum in an address to parliament today.

Another ballot "would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver," the prime minister will say, according to prepared remarks released in advance.

With just over 100 days until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, Brexit remains up in the air with growing calls for a no-deal exit, a potentially disorderly divorce that business fears would be highly damaging, or for a second referendum.

The pound was a shade higher at 1.2610 (GBP/USD).

-- Reuters contributed to this report