Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets fell in overnight trading with the Nikkei posting a 0.6 per cent decline and the Shanghai composite down 0.8 per cent. European markets are mostly higher this morning, save for Spain. S&P 500 futures are up 5 points and Dow futures are up 40 points.
- S&P downgraded Spain to BBB- from BBB+ after U.S. markets closed Wednesday, citing increased domestic political uncertainty and policy uncertainty at the euro-area level. SPAIN’S IN TROUBLE: Here’s The Worst-Case Scenario >
- The Chinese yuan rose to its highest level against the U.S. dollar in 19 years, breaking 6.28 per dollar, after the central bank raised the currency’s fixing by 0.09 percentage points – the most in seven weeks. These 15 States Would Get Slammed In A Trade War With China >
- Greece’s unemployment rate jumped to 25.1 per cent in July from 24.8 per cent in June. Youth unemployment also remained elevated at 54.2 per cent in July.
- Yields on shorter maturity Italian bonds rose at an auction today to 2.86 per cent from 1.75 per cent at the last auction on September 15, but demand also came in stronger. The bid-to-cover ratio was 1.67, up from 1.49 in September.
- The BAE-EADS merger fell apart due for political reasons when German chancellor Angela Merkel called French president Francois Hollande and said that the deal was off. The merger of the two companies would have created the world’s largest defence contractor.
- IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde came out against austerity at the IMF’s annual meeting in Tokyo today, saying budget deficit targets in Europe didn’t make sense if growth failed to materialise. Lagarde also said Greece should get more time to meet its bailout commitments.
- Striking gold miners in South Africa rejected a “final offer” from employers in wage negotiations, suggesting that the two sides are still far from an agreement that would end the strikes. South Africa’s Currency Is Finally Having A Monster Up Day — But It May Be Too Late For That >
- Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo overtook HP as the world’s largest PC manufacturer for the first time in Lenovo’s history. Research firm Gartner said that Lenovo has managed such impressive gains partly through aggressive pricing.
- In the United States, initial jobless claims came in at 339K, well below estimates of 370K. The trade deficit widened to $44.2 billion in August, greater than estimates of $44.0 billion. For more, visit Money Game >
- Bonus: Lindsay Lohan bailed her mum out of foreclosure, TMZ reports.