10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

Maria Menounos Extra Pretty Woman Bikini Times Square ‘Extra’ host Maria Menounos, an avid New England Patriots fan, makes good on her Super Bowl bet with fellow correspondent, AJ Calloway, and bares all in a New York Giants Bikini in Times Square.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

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

  • Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with China’s Shanghai SE Composite shedding 1.7 per cent. European shares are mostly lower while U.S. futures point to a negative open.
  • Time is running out in Greece, which must secure its second bailout package of €130 billion, or $171 billion, to avoid default. Today Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is expected to call politicians to discuss the implementation and details of the cuts leaders have already agreed to in principle. Here’s who gets hurt if Greece defaults >
  • U.S. regulators are on the verge of proposing new regulations for the $2.7 trillion money-market fund industry over the coming two weeks, the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Ackerman and Kirsten Grind report. The new rules would require the short-term money instrument funds to reserve capital through one of three ways, including stock or debt offerings. However, fund managers are vastly opposed to the new regulations.
  • German industrial production fell 2.9 per cent in December, an unexpected loss as most economists saw the country posting flat production. It also marks the largest drop in two years, accelerating November’s 0.6 per cent decline. All sectors saw lower activity, with investment goods down 3.6 per cent, and construction activity off 6.4 per cent.
  • India’s economy is forecast to grow by 6.9 per cent for the year ending in March, below economist expectations for a 7.0 per cent rise. If growth declines to 6.9 per cent, it would be the slowest expansionary rate in three years. India has had difficulty battling high inflation this year, and its central bank has been focused on trying to tame that number. This is what will happen in emerging markets this year.
  • Glencore, one of the world’s biggest commodity trading houses, agreed to buy mining company Xstrata for £39.1 billion, or $62 billion. That number is much lower than earlier estimates that pegged the deal at £50 billion. The transaction will be completed entirely with stock, and the combined company will have annual sales over $209 billion. Meet the mysterious commodity brokerage firms that control prices of the world’s goods >
  • Toyota raised its annual profit forecast to ¥200 billion, or $2.6 billion, from ¥180 billion. However that figure is substantially below analyst estimates for ¥285.4 billion. The Japanese automaker said cost cuts helped protect profitability, as the yen’s surge cut profitability by ¥200 billion.
  • Australia’s largest investment bank, Macquarie, slashed its full-year profit guidance 25 per cent as trading revenues remain weak. A drop of 25 per cent would mean earnings of slightly more than $765 million. The bank noted improvement in its fixed income and currency division, but that capital markets and its annuity business remained severely impacted.
  • Economic data out of the U.S. this morning largely beat expectations, with JOLTs Job Openings jumping to 3.38 million, from 3.12 million. Economists polled by Bloomberg had forecast an increase to 3.25 million. Economic sentiment also surged above expectations to 49.4, from 47.5 in January. A reading above 50 indicates a positive outlook.
  • Earnings season continues with major reports out from Coca-Cola and Walt Disney. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect earnings per share of $0.77 and $0.72 for Coke and Disney, respectively. The House of Mouse will be watched closely to see how advertising is holding up at the start of 2012. Click here to see what we’ve already learned this earnings season >

Bonus: ‘Extra’ host Maria Menounos went on air in a Giants’ coloured bikini to pay up for losing a Super Bowl bet.

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