Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading, with the Nikkei up 0.58 per cent. Europe is higher after the Greek parliament approved a crucial austerity bill and U.S. stocks have opened higher.
- The Greek parliament passed its austerity bill, with prime minister Lucas Papademos securing 199 votes in favour, well beyond the 151 votes needed for a majority. Demonstrators in Greece had been rioting and setting shops and buildings on fire. Meanwhile, European finance ministers are expected to meet on February 15 to ratify the Greek aid plan. Don’t Miss: Incredible pictures from Athens on Sunday night >
- Japan’s economy contracted 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, on a quarter-over-quarter basis, and fell 2.3 per cent on an annualized basis. Weak international demand hit Japanese exports The Thai floods and strong yen were also responsible for the slowdown. Check out the economies that will dominate the world in 2050 >
- President Obama will present a budget plan to Congress for 2013. The budget calls for higher taxes for millionaires and deficit cuts. He is also expected to propose a $8 billion plan for job training at community colleges. Now here’s why the White House did such a horrible job saving the economy >
- Apple has sued Samsung over patent infringement in smartphones. Apple claims that Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus poses a threat to Apple, and has violated several patented aspects of the iPhone. Apple has also sued Motorola Mobility in a U.S. court to prevent it from asserting patent claims against Apple in Germany.
- Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said the country needs to start fine-tuning its economic policies this quarter. This is fueling speculation that the government will ease policy to improve growth. Meanwhile, Beijing has told its banks to roll-over loans to local governments, postponing its debt problem. Now check out what will happen in emerging markets in 2012 >
- Goldman Sachs is selling 9.5 million shares in South Korea’s Hana Financial Group to raise up to $333 million, according to IFR. The shares were offered at a 2.1 – 4.1 per cent discount of Hana’s last closing price.
- General Electric plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years. This comes ahead of a four-day meeting in Washington aimed at improving the U.S. economic recovery. GE also plans to invest $580 million to expand its aviation operations in the U.S.
- Olympus reported a net loss of 756 million yen ($9.7 million) for the third quarter and is predicting a full-year net loss of 32 billion yen. This comes after a $1.5 billion accounting scandal. Don’t Miss: SocGen’s 40 best dividend stocks in the world >
- The Confederation of British Industry said the UK economy will avoid a technical recession in 2012 and the economic recovery will pick up steam as well. The CBI said this would help avoid the need for more quantitative easing by the Bank of England.
- BONUS – Christian Louboutin has gifted Blake Lively his entire spring collection of heels.
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