Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Asian markets were lower in overnight trading, with the Nikkei the exception, up 0.69%. Major European indices are mixed, while U.S. futures indicate a positive open. Now, here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
- New European bank stress tests could come in H1 2011, and will look more like their American counterparts, according to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. The new tests are in response to a prolonged lack of confidence in the system after the last tests were seen as weak. These are the 20 banks most exposed to the European sovereign debt crisis >
- Eurozone PMI for the services sector came in at a better than expected 55.2, as a result of German strength. Employment growth has, however, slowed throughout the region.
- Philips profits were weaker than expected in Q4 2010, based on low TV sales. The company expects developed market demand for its goods to remain weak.
- Cocoa futures are spiking this morning on news that the Ivory Coast’s new president has banned exports for one month. The move is meant to put pressure on sitting president Gbagbo, who is refusing to give up his post. As food prices spike, here are the 25 governments most under threat >
- Ireland’s government is in disarray this morning with the country’s Green Party pulling out of a coalition with Fianna Fáil. The country’s election is set for March 11, but may be moved forward if the government collapses. These could be the next dominos to fall in Europe >
- GE is selling its GE Money Singapore division to Standard Chartered for as much as $701 million. The move continues Standard Chartered’s expansion in Singapore and furthers GE’s divestment from assets it considers non-core.
- The retailer J.C. Penney is giving board seats to Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital and to the Vornando Real Estate Trust as a result of their investments in the firm. Pershing Square Capital owns 16.5% of J.C. Penney. Here’s why Bill Ackman thinks now is the time to buy a house >
- Sanofi-Aventis has yet again extended its offer for Genzyme as both companies continue negotiations. Sanofi-Aventis’ offer remains at $18.5 billion.
- New papers on Israel-Palestine negotiations show Palestinian leadership offering significant concessions, only to be rebuffed by Israeli leadership. Also, it appears the Palestinian leadership is negotiating for different results that the Palestinian people are in pursuit of. Read more on the Palestinian papers here >
- Bonus: Kim Kardashian is back to wanting a child, and says she wants it to look like Kris Humphries, her new boyfriend.