Good morning, friends and Fortune readers.
Happy Monday! It’s starting to look like January may not be as fun of a month as December was for investors. U.S. stocks look set to slide at the start of trading today, as the euro hits a nine-year low against the dollar and crude oil futures drop to new five-and-a-half-year lows.
Here’s what you need to know about today.
1. Auto sales take the wheel
The monthly — and yearly — sales reports from auto companies will come in today, and its expected to be another strong month. The total sales for 2014 are expected to be the highest since before the credit crisis, and the positive growth manufacturers saw throughout the year is likely to have continued into December. Trucks, especially, have been doing well in recent months, so it will be interesting to see if that trend continued in December.
2. New year, new Congress
A new Congress will be sworn in today, with Republicans taking control of the Senate and adding more members to their majority in the House. One story to watch today is the election for Speaker of the House. Current Speaker John Boehner is facing mounting dissent within his ranks, driven largely by what’s seen as his being soft on economic issues, such as immigration. If a more conservative challenger was to somehow pull of an upset, it could make then next two years very interesting.
3. Oil still sliding
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: oil prices are falling to new lows. Crude oil futures drop to new five-and-a-half-year lows this morning, dropping to $55 a barrel according to Reuters. Reasons for the decline in prices: Russia hitting post-Soviet highs in production and middling economic data from multiple countries suggesting industry may not be raising its demand for crude oil in the near-term.
4. Euro hits a nine-year low
As of right now, the Euro is worth about $1.19 U.S. At its low point earlier this morning, the European currency was at its lowest worth against the U.S. dollar since 2006. This decline came after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested that quantitative easing could soon come to the continent, reported the BBC. Political turmoil in Greece could also have contributed.
5. On with the (electronics) show
The International Consumer Electronics Show kicks off today in wonderful Las Vegas. What can we expect? The New York Times notes that the “Internet of things” (a term that refers to the concept of a world filled with connected devices) is likely to take center stage, with wired home products on display. So get ready for your thermostat to talk to your refrigerator!