10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

Gisele

Photo: AP

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Asian markets were mostly up in overnight trading with the Shanghai Composite rising 2.66%. Europe is lower and U.S. futures are moderately higher ahead of the FOMC announcement at 2:15 PM ET.
  • The Fed finishes its two-day meeting today and markets are expecting it to announce Operation Twist. Jefferies expects the Fed to announce $300 billion-sized “Operation Twist”. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have warned Fed chairman Ben Bernanke against pursuing another round of quantitative easing. Check out the ultimate preparation guide for today’s huge Fed announcement >
  • Greek prime minister George Papandreou is convening a cabinet meeting today to push for more budget cuts and ensure the next tranche of loans by October. This comes after two teleconferences between finance minister Evangelos Venezelos and representatives from the EU and IMF. Meanwhile, European officials will return to Greece next week for a complete review of the economy. Don’t Miss: Here’s who will get crushed if Greece goes bust >
  • Existing home sales beat expectations rising 7.7% in August to 5.03 million >
  • Microsoft raised its quarterly dividend by 25% to $0.20. Microsoft’s ability to return cash to shareholders is hindered because much of it is held internationally, and the company would have to pay taxes to bring it back to the U.S. for the sole purpose of paying a larger dividend. Also in tech news, it was revealed that the Apple’s iPhone 5 will be unveiled on October 4. Meanwhile, the U.S. is probing into charges that Google raised its ad-rate 50-fold for rival Microsoft.
  • Oracle posted net income of $1.84 billion or $0.36 per share in the quarter ending August 31. Revenue jumped 12% to $8.37 billion, beating estimates of $8.36 billion, but the server business worsened as the company chose to end lower-margin deals.
  • Oil and energy giant Apache Corp. had agreed to buy Exxon Mobil Corp’s North Sea Assets for $1.75 billion in cash. The fields produce 19,000 barrels of oil and 58 million cubic feet of gas a day, and the deal would include a stake in the Beryl/Brae gas pipeline.
  • Japan’s exports increased less than expected because of a decline in the shipments of electronic parts and a strong yen. Nominal exports rose 2.8% year-over-year in August against expectations of an 8% jump. The indices of all industrial activity in July however increased 0.4% month-over-month, posting a gain for the fourth straight month.
  • London based Lloyd’s posted a pre-tax loss of £697 million for the first half of 2011. Profits were hit after the insurance market took losses from the natural disasters in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
  • UK consumer confidence fell 1 point to 48 in August, hitting a four-month low, as consumers get more pessimistic about the economy. The latest minutes of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee showed that most members thought $78 billion of additional monetary easing would be necessary in coming months. Check out 10 countries where consumer spending will explode >
  • BONUS – Gisele Bundchen was stopped for speeding by a Massachusetts state trooper but avoided getting a speeding ticket.

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