Here are five things that matter for markets now:
- At least 84 children were killed in Pakistan in a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, in the northwest of the country, Reuters reports citing Pakistani officials. Taliban gunmen took hundreds of children hostage in a school in the city.
- The Russian central bank hiked its interest rate by 6.5 percentage points to 17% overnight in a desperate attempt to stop the ruble's freefall. The Russian currency initially jumped 8% but later in the morning all the gains were wiped out and the currency was up only a little over 1%.
- Chinese factories' activity contracted in December for the first time in seven months, a purchasing managers survey showed. The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index(PMI) fell to 49.5 in December from November's final reading of 50.0 and below the 50.0 forecast by analysts.
- The price of oil continued its fall to below $59 a barrel for the first time since May 2009. The Chinese PMI contraction and the weakening emerging markets currencies have contributed to the oil price fall. International benchmark Brent crude has almost halved since reaching a 2014 high of $115 a barrel in June.
- Spanish oil major Repsol (REPYY) has agreed to buy Canadian oil company Talisman Energy (TLM) in a deal worth $8.3 billion, the FT reports. Repsol says the deal would boost its output by 76%.