Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

premarkets wednesday
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Get the champagne ready -- investors are set to finish a strong year for U.S. markets with a pop.

Here are the 4 things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Futures bounce: U.S. stock futures are pointing to modest gains to kick off Wednesday's session.

This year the Dow Jones industrial average is trading up nearly 9%, the S&P 500 has gained about 13% and the Nasdaq has rallied by more than 14%.

2. International markets overview: European markets are moving higher in a shortened trading day.

Investors in China gave stocks a year-end boost, while many other Asian markets were closed for the holidays.

Buoyed by new trading rules, policy action to support the economy and hopes of more stimulus, the Shanghai Composite was the world's best performing major market in 2014, climbing more than 50%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

3. Economic update: It's a light day for economic news, with just weekly jobless claims due out from the U.S. Department of Labor at 8:30 a.m. ET.

4. Tuesday market recap: It was a down day for U.S. stocks Tuesday. The Dow slipped 0.3%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.6%.

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