Will Super Mario play Santa Claus today? Markets will be watching for an early holiday gift from the European Central Bank.
Here are the five things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:
1. More stimulus? There's a slim chance the ECB will use its last meeting of the year to announce more help for the stagnant eurozone economy. More likely is a strong hint, perhaps even a promise, from President Mario Draghi of more action to come early in 2015.
The central bank will cut its forecasts for eurozone growth and inflation at Thursday's meeting.
Asian markets posted clear gains.
2. Oil prices steady: After a turbulent few weeks, oil prices look to be stabilizing. U.S. crude futures were slightly higher at nearly $68 a barrel.
The sharp fall this year is damaging high cost producers but generating a windfall for consumers and drivers. Gas prices for a lucky few have even fallen below $2 a gallon.
3. Earnings and economics: Dollar General ( and )Sears ( will report quarterly earnings before the opening bell. )American Eagle ( and gun maker ) Smith & Wesson ( will report after the close. )
The U.S. government will report weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET.
4. Stock market movers -- General Motors: Shares in GM ( were trading about 2% firmer premarket. News about GM has improved recently after a months of damaging recall headlines. )
5. Futures flat: U.S. stock futures were little changed.