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5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens Tuesday

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Home stretch for stocks

Investors are holding out hope for a rally to end 2022, even though stocks are headed for a down December and their worst year since 2008. News that China effectively ended its zero Covid policy (more on that below) boosted global markets and added some pep to U.S. equities futures early Tuesday. Still, we could be in store for some volatility this week as trading volumes are expected to be low due to this being the week between Christmas and New Year's. Read live markets updates here.

2. China plans to open up

Travelers check in at Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport in on Dec. 12, 2022, after China relaxed domestic travel restrictions.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Travelers check in at Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport in on Dec. 12, 2022, after China relaxed domestic travel restrictions.

The Chinese government is, for all intents and purposes, putting an end to its zero Covid policy. Come Jan. 8, travelers arriving on China's mainland will no longer have to quarantine. On that same date, Chinese officials also plan to stop tracking close Covid contacts, halt risk areas designations and end measures that hamstrung imports. Chinese citizens will also soon be able to travel overseas, officials said. While these swift changes have lifted optimism in markets, including the oil trade, China finds itself contending with a jump in infections that's straining the country's health system.

3. Blizzard's deadly aftermath

A loader clears roadways on December 24, 2022 in Hamburg, New York. The Buffalo suburb and surrounding area was hit hard by the winter storm Elliott with wind gusts over 70 miles per hour battering homes and businesses through out the holiday weekend. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)
John Normile | Getty Images News | Getty Images
A loader clears roadways on December 24, 2022 in Hamburg, New York. The Buffalo suburb and surrounding area was hit hard by the winter storm Elliott with wind gusts over 70 miles per hour battering homes and businesses through out the holiday weekend. (Photo by John Normile/Getty Images)

The winter storm that assaulted much of the country has left dozens dead, including at least 27 in Buffalo region of western New York. Weather authorities expected the snow to continue through much of Tuesday in Erie County, New York. While Buffalo and its surrounding area are used to rough wintry conditions, officials called this blizzard, with its four-plus feet of snow and arctic temperatures, "generational" and "one for the ages." The storm came as many Americans set out to travel for the Christmas weekend, but the weather prompted the cancellation of several thousand flights (more on that below) and left many stuck without power.

4. Southwest slammed for cancellations

A Southwest Airlines aircraft taxis as a Delta Air Lines aircraft lands at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 24, 2022.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
A Southwest Airlines aircraft taxis as a Delta Air Lines aircraft lands at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 24, 2022.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it would look into Southwest Airlines' large rate of flight cancellations as the country contends with the aftermath of a large, deadly blizzard. Southwest canceled 70% of its flights Monday and warned it was on pace to operate only a third of its schedule for several more days as it works to fix things. Southwest's problems came as other airlines started to stabilize. "USDOT is concerned by Southwest Airlines' disproportionate and unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays as well as the failure to properly support customers experiencing a cancellation or delay," the Transportation Department said late Monday.

5. Mysterious firm pops up in FTX case

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves following his arraignment in New York City on December 22, 2022.
Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves following his arraignment in New York City on December 22, 2022.

North Dimension, one of dozens of obscure firms within Sam Bankman-Fried's collapsed crypto empire, is drawing more attention than it was probably intended to. According to an SEC filing last week, investors looking to trade on FTX were told to wire money to North Dimension in an alleged attempt to hide from customers that the money was actually going to an account controlled by Alameda Research, FTX's sister firm. There's more to it, though, and it's weird. According to an NBC News investigation, North Dimension also had a now-defunct and possibly phony website that purported to sell electronics. It didn't mention any connections to SBF's businesses, but it did share a Berkeley, California, address with FTX US. Read more from NBC News.

– CNBC's Sarah Min, Evelyn Cheng and Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.

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