Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian indices were mixed in overnight trading with the Shanghai Composite up 1.27%. Europe is mixed and U.S.markets opened with gains over 1%.
- Initial jobless claims fell to 395K, against last week’s revised number of 402K, while the trade deficit widened to $53.1 billion >
- French banks are taking a hit in the market today. BNP Paribas’ stock dropped over 6% on rumours that it may face another $713 million loss on Greek debt. Meanwhile, SocGen and Credit Agricole also moved lower weighing on France which is down about 1.3%. Refresher: A quick guide to who gets crushed if Greece defaults >
- Italian economic minister Giulio Tremonti appeared in Parliament today to present the government’s response to the debt crisis but faced criticism over the government’s failure to make clear details on the austerity plan. Tremonti said Italy needs to cut its deficit to about 1% next year, though it would probably be too drastic, and called for ‘strong measures’ to balance the budget. Don’t miss: The sad story of how Italy got to be such a wreck >
- In earnings news, Cisco Systems’ shares rebounded 7% in after-hours trading as the company posted earnings, excluding items of $0.40 a share, on revenue of $11.2 billion, beating estimates.
- Aegon NV, the Dutch owner of U.S. insurer Transamerica, reported a 2.1% fall in net profit to $573 million. The company said a loss in its customer base and weakness in the dollar were the main reasons for the drop in earnings
- Bank of America is looking to sell part of its $17 billion stake in China Construction Bank and is reported to be in exploratory talks with principal investment funds of Kuwait and Qatar. Bank of America is expected to sell half its stake to build up its Tier 1 capital and meet new requirements.
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron said police have made 1,200 arrests around the country over riots. In a speech today, he warned that looters would be tracked down and charged, amidst reports that UK police are raiding houses and plan scores of arrests. Meanwhile he is under increased pressure to reconsider his £2 billion cuts to police funding.
- AOL has announced a $250 million buy back plan after its stock plummeted yesterday, following its earnings release. CEO Tim Armstrong said the move made sense for the company and its shareholders.
- Gold crossed the $1,800 per ounce mark today but receded as investors continue to seek out a safe haven from the debt crisis in Europe and U.S.’s economic uncertainty. Check out the only currencies that have outperformed gold this year >
- BONUS – Jessica Alba has said she doesn’t want her children to become Hollywood stars.