Oil Patch Woe and Fed Decision Looms–5 Things to Know Today

December 16, 2015, 12:01 PM UTC
Workers walk towards Halliburton's "sand castles" at an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. hydraulic fracturing site north of Dacono, Colorado, U.S.
Photograph by Jamie Schwaberow—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are higher again this morning as the world decides that it can live with higher U.S. interest rates after all. Crude oil prices have come under pressure again and are just above $37 a barrel. The dollar is little changed against the euro, but hit another four-year high against the Chinese yuan earlier.

Forget interest rates, this is what you’ve really been waiting for–Star Wars. Today’s must-read story is by Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram, who attended the Hollywood premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monday and has the full run down. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers. Read her full run down here ahead of the film’s Friday premiere.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Will an interest rate hike finally happen?

The Federal Open Markets Committee concludes its two-day meeting today and will reveal its decision on whether or not to raise interest rates at 2 p.m. ET. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will hold a news conference shortly after at 2:30 p.m. ET. Investors put an 80% chance on the Fed raising rates after this meeting, the first time since 2006.

2. Halliburton-Baker Hughes merger in doubt

The collapse in crude prices is on the verge of killing the proposed merger between two of the world’s biggest oilfield services companies. Halliburton and Baker Hughes have pushed back the deadline for completing their $35 billion merger by another four months to April 30, after the Department of Justice’ antitrust experts raised more concerns about the deal’s impact on competition in the sector.

3. China hosts the World Internet Conference.

Executives from the top technology firms and China’s most senior political leaders will gather in Wuzhen, China Wednesday to kick off the second-ever World Internet Conference. President Xi Jinping gave the keynote address, and some speculate that he could remove a ban on certain international media websites. The event will also address “cybersecurity, China’s technological future, and global Internet governance,” according to Samm Sacks, a senior China analyst at Eurasia Group.

4. Valeant holds its investors day.

Valeant (VRX) meets with investors today and will provide updates on its financial guidance, discuss its research and development efforts, and provide updates on operations. Valeant’s stock fell nearly 64% from a 52-week high in August before regaining some of its stock price Tuesday after it announced a new pharmacy distribution agreement with Walgreen (WAG). The companies agreed on a 20-year deal that would cut prices on some of Valeant’s brand name drugs by 10%. Valeant was also served with another letter from Congress today asking again for more information regarding how it prices drugs and its former relationship to specialty pharmacy Philidor.

5. Warren Buffett hangs with Hillary.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton, helping the Democratic presidential candidate raise money during her visit to his hometown of Omaha. The fundraiser event is scheduled for this morning, and tickets started at $500 and went up to $2,700 for those looking to snap a photograph with either Clinton or Buffett, the second-richest man in the U.S. This is one of two fundraisers Buffett participated in for Clinton. He was also at the New York fundraiser for the Hillary Victory Fund last week where seats started at $33,400 a head, reported Bloomberg.

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