Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, December 24:
1. Mnuchin Holds Call with Bank CEOs, Will Convene 'PPT'
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will convene a call with the president's Working Group on Financial Markets, which includes Washington's main stewards of the U.S. financial system and is sometimes referred to as the "Plunge Protection Team."
The group, which was also convened in 2009 during the latter stage of the financial crisis, includes officials from the Federal Reserve as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mnuchin spoke with the chief executives of JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on Sunday, amid the rout on Wall Street.
"Today I convened individual calls with the CEOs of the nation's six largest banks," Mnuchin said on Twitter shortly before financial markets were due to open in Asia.
"The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending," the Treasury said in a statement.
2. U.S. Government Shutdown Could Extend into January
Market focus will stay attuned to developments out of Washington DC after the failure by the U.S. Congress and President Donald Trump to agree to a spending bill by midnight Saturday resulted in a partial U.S. government shutdown.
The president's budget director and chief of staff on Sunday said the partial U.S. government shutdown could continue to Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes.
"It's very possible this shutdown will go beyond (December) the 28th and into the new Congress," Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday.
"I don't think things are going to move very quickly here for the next few days" because of the Christmas holiday, added Mulvaney.
The U.S. Senate adjourned on Saturday without breaking an impasse over Trump's demand for more funds for a border wall.
Building a wall along the border with Mexico to keep migrants from entering the country illegally was a central plank of Trump's presidential campaign, but Democrats are vehemently opposed and have rejected his funding request of $5 billion.
3. Trump vs. Powell
The advisers of President Donald Trump have discussed in recent days arranging a meeting between him and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in the coming weeks.
That comes following reports on Saturday that Trump has privately discussed the possibility of firing Powell, whom he appointed.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later said Trump told him he had "never suggested firing" the Fed chairman.
An attempt to remove the Fed chairman would be unprecedented and seen as an attack on the U.S. central bank's independence, which is meant to insulate it from political considerations.
The U.S. central bank lifted rates for the fourth time this year last week and kept most of its guidance for additional hikes over the next two years, drawing the ire of Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the Fed's tightening as damaging to the economy.
4. U.S. Futures Point to A Christmas Eve Bounce
U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open at the start of the holiday-shortened trading week, as investors geared up for Christmas.
U.S. stock and bond markets will see an abbreviated session on Monday, with equity markets ending at 1:00PM ET (18:00 GMT), while bond markets are set for a 2PM ET (19:00 GMT) close.
Both markets will be closed on Tuesday in observation of Christmas Day.
At 5:35AM ET (10:35 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures were up 75 points, or around 0.35%, the S&P 500 futures rose 11 points, or about 0.5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 45 points, or roughly 0.7%.
The move in premarket comes after stocks plunged again on Friday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its worst week since the financial crisis in 2008, down nearly 7%.
The Nasdaq Composite Index closed in a bear market and the S&P 500 was on the brink of one itself, down nearly 18% from its record earlier this year.
Elsewhere, European shares were lower, with thin volumes dampening trading activity across the region. Germany's DAX and Italy's FTSE MIB were shut for Christmas Eve. Other markets were set to close early, with Britain's FTSE 100 finishing trade at 7:30AM ET (12:30 GMT).
Earlier, Asian shares ended mixed. Moves were limited by a holiday in Japan, while many bourses closed early for Christmas.
Read more: Key 2018 Headwinds To Continue Into 2019: Marc Chandler
5. U.S. Dollar, Treasury Yields Slip
Away from equities, the U.S. dollar started the week on the backfoot, as sentiment in financial markets remained fragile on heightened worries over political instability in the United States.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.25% to 96.20.
Meanwhile, in the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields inched lower, with the benchmark 10-year note standing at 2.78%, while the yield on U.S. government bonds with 2-year maturities stood at 2.63%.
-- Reuters contributed to this report