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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading with the Nikkei up 1.58 per cent. Europe is higher on news that Greece may be closer to a bailout and U.S. futures are flat.
- The ECB is swapping Greek bonds for new ones of equal structure and nominal value, to avoid losses in a debt restructuring, according to Bloomberg. And Germany wants euro-area finance ministers to avoid a two-step vote on a €130 billion bailout for Greece, when they meet in Brussels on February 20. Don’t Miss: This is why EU leaders don’t want a Greek credit event >
- Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel has taken another blow as German president Christian Wulff resigned amid a legal probe into corruption allegations. Merkel canceled today’s debt crisis meeting with Italian prime minister Mario Monti on the news. Wulff is the second German president to quit in less than two years.
- Billionaire investor Carl Icahn offered to buy CVR Energy for at least $2.6 billion. Ichan already has a 14.5 per cent stake in the company. Meanwhile, CME Group has made a bid for the London Metal Exchange, while the NYSE Euronext has also expressed interest. LME’s board will review the bids in a meeting on February 23.
- January CPI rose 0.2 per cent month-over-month, and core CPI also increased 0.2 per cent.
- Dutch insurer Aegon NV which owns Transamerica, posted a 75 per cent decline in fourth quarter profit. Ageon reported net income of €79 million and said profits were hit by lower investment returns, reorganization costs, and interest rates.
- UK retail sales unexpectedly gained 0.9 per cent month-over-month in January, against expectations of a 0.4 per cent fall. Retail sales were boosted by purchases of furniture and sports goods.
- Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports fell 2.1 per cent from a year ago, after a 9 per cent gain the previous month. Exports declined for the first time in three months as Europe’s debt crisis led to weaker electronics and petrochemical shipments. These 10 countries will command world trade in 2050 >
- Apple’s share of China’s smartphone market fell to 7.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, from 10.4 per cent the previous quarter. Apple’s market share declined for the second straight month on competition from Chinese vendors, and as consumers put off purchases till the launch of the iPhone 4S. Now here’s GMO’s three-tier short for China >
- Online-review service Yelp plans to raise $115 million in its March IPO. It amended a filing with the SEC and now expects to issue more than seven million shares of Class A stock.
- Bonus – Evan Rachel Wood was spotted filming A Case of You in New York.