Monday Morning Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories Moving Markets

The markets were mixed in Asia overnight. The Nikkei fell 0.94 percent after once again bouncing off a recently-established ceiling just under 11,000. The yen fell slightly to 90.89 per dollar, but is trading just below its 52-week high. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.39 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.52 percent.

Markets are at 5-year highs! Discover the best stocks to own. Click here for our fresh Feature Stock Pick now!

European markets were mixed and relatively flat heading into the opening bell in New York on Monday. Germany’s DAX was off about 0.11 percent, while the STOXX 50 was up 0.08 percent, and London’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.03 percent. Brent Crude was up slightly to $113.30 per barrel.

U.S. futures at 8:00 a.m.: DJIA: +0.14%, S&P 500: +0.15%, NASDAQ: +0.20%.

Here are three stories to keep an eye on:Senate

1) With a short-term debt-ceiling solution expected to pass the Senate and find its way to the President’s desk, the sequester has once again taken center stage on Capitol Hill. In the spotlight are nearly $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts scheduled over 10 years, and some of the nation’s top policy makers are unsure that a solution can be found before the deadline in March.

“I think the sequester is going to happen,” said Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House budget panel, on NBC‘s “Meet The Press.” The spending cuts would have an enormous impact on domestic and military programs, with tens of thousands of temporary government employees expected to be laid off. Each side of the aisle has wagged their fingers at the other party, and economists think the ongoing tension is producing a measurable effect on business activity…