Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are on just this side of positive territory, even as the U.S. dollar strengthens. Investors are betting the Federal Reserve will raise rates sooner than expected.

Last week’s surprise drop in unemployment to 10% has investors wagering that the Fed could raise interest rates sooner than originally expected. Chairman Ben Bernanke, however, has insisted that rates will be kept low for the foreseeable future, reports Sara Lepro for the Associated Press.

In a break from what’s become a near-daily tradition, gold prices have dipped 2% to $1,143.50 this morning, continuing a decline that began on Friday. The unemployment figures strengthened the dollar, which it a five-week high against a basket of currencies. This, in turn, has caused gold demand to dip slightly, reports Hibah Yousuf for CNNMoney. PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bullish (NYSEArca: UUP) is trading flat so far this morning.

Nearly 200 countries have kicked off a meeting today to discuss climate change and how it can best be addressed. The meeting will run through Dec. 18. One of the biggest issues is achieving adequate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially from the world’s biggest polluters, reports Tom Zeller Jr. for The New York Times. The iShares S&P Global Clean Energy (NASDAQ: ICLN) is up more than 2.5% this morning.

President Barack Obama announced today that he plans to cut the projected long-term cost of TARP by more than $200 billion. This could open the door for a new and much-needed jobs creation program, reports Deborah Solomon for The Wall Street Journal. With these new numbers, the Treasury is estimating that TARP will cost $141 billion over the next 10 years.

For more stories about the financial sector, visit our financial category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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