Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading but the Nikkei fell 1.14%. Europe is up after French president Nicolas Sarkozy promised to do everything to save Greece, and U.S. futures are up ahead of the market open.
- More bad news for French banks, Moody’s downgraded Societe Generale to Aa3 from Aa2 and Credit Agricole to Aa2 from Aa1 today, over the banks’ exposure to Greek debt and concerns of funding. French regulators believe that Societe Generale could be the target of a takeover from a foreign bank. Meanwhile BNP Paribas announced a $95 million asset sale to raise its Tier 1 ratio 9% by 2013. Don’t Miss: The 16 strongest banks in the world >
- European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to announce options for the introduction of euro bonds, though he added it wouldn’t help end the debt crisis. Meanwhile French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to hold a teleconference with Greek prime minister George Papandreou today. Reminder: Here’s who gets crushed if Greece goes bust >
- Markets had received a boost of confidence earlier this week, after reports that China would buy Italian bonds. Today however, Chinese president Wen Jiabao said “countries must put their own houses in order,” He said that developed nations in debt should cut their deficits and make changes to their fiscal and monetary policy instead of depending on China for a bailout.
- August retail sales came in flat, while sales ex-auto were up 0.1%, while core PPI was up 0.1% >
- The U.S. Treasury is reportedly expected to accommodate Federal Reserve stimulus plan Operation Twist, in which the central bank would buy long-term Treasuries to drive down long-term interest rates. The Fed will discuss Operation Twist at its policy meeting on September 20 and 21.
- Indian inflation rose 9.78% year-over-year in August, compared with 9.22% in July. Inflation is at its highest level in over a year and India’s central bank is expected to raise interest rates by 25 bps at its September 16 policy meeting. Check out 10 hyperinflation horror stories of the 20th century >
- Business inventories just missed estimates rising 0.4% in July from the previous month.
- In M&A news, Oaktree Capital Management Funds has made a $670 million bid for toymaker Jakks Pacific in a letter to the company. Oaktree, which has an almost 5% stake in Jakks, plans on taking the company private, but has had its previous offers rejected. Meanwhile Conagra is expected to withdraw its $5.18 billion bid for Ralcorp, if the company refuses to enter into talks by September 19.
- Democrats took a beating last night as Republican Bob Turner beat Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin 53% to 47%, with 70% of precincts reporting, to win disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s seat in a special New York election. Meanwhile, President Obama’s job approval rating is at 45%, a record low, and 62% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy, according to a Bloomberg poll.
- BONUS – Jennifer Connelly was spotted walking her family to school in New York and debuted her three-month old daughter Agnes for the first time.
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