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- Asian indices were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei up 1.85%. Major European indices are in the green and US futures indicate a positive open.
- The stalemate on the US budget continues after congressional leaders and President Obama failed to arrive at a conclusion after meetings late Thursday. Failure to reach an agreement midnight tonight could lead to a government shutdown.
- EU negotiations with Portugal over its bail-out package got underway Friday. Officials are said to be pressuring Portugal to make deeper cuts to its budget for the $129 billion package. Don’t miss the 14 countries more likely to default than Spain >
- Silver hit $40 an ounce for the first time since 1980. Investors antsy about inflation and the weakening dollar opted for precious metals instead. The soaring prices have also been attributed to rising demand, in China and India, for a cheaper alternative to gold. Don’t miss: 8 chokepoints threatening the world’s supply of key commodities >
- UK producer prices were up 0.9% from February to March. Output prices for petroleum products, food, chemicals and clothing saw an annualized increase.
- An injunction against BP’s proposed $16bn share swap with Rosneft was upheld by a Stockholm tribunal. The move will force BP to arrive at a settlement with Russian partners TNK-BP. BP also can’t begin exploration in the Arctic.
- Construction of Disney’s theme park in Shanghai began Friday after a decade of negotiations with the Shanghai government. The joint venture between Walt Disney Co. and the Shanghai government is worth 24.5 billion yuan. Click here to see 15 facts about China that will blow your mind >
- Australia rejected Singapore Exchange Ltd’s $8.9 billion bid for ASX Ltd. Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said the deal was not in the “nation’s interest”.
- Google expects to get government clearance today on its $700 million bid to purchase airline fare tracker ITA Software. The deal would give Google control of software that helps run major American airlines and popular online fare-comparison services.
- Egyptians called for a ‘million-man’ protest at Tahrir Square on Friday to pressure transition leaders to dissolve Former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. Meanwhile Egypt’s ruling military council warned troops against participating in the protests. Here are the 11 countries at risk of becoming the next Libya >
- BONUS – Eva Longoria popped out of a barely there tuxedo on the Late Night Show with David Letterman. Longoria was promoting her new cook book.
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