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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading, with the Nikkei up 1.4%. European stocks are now in decline following rumours of possible EU downgrades, and U.S. futures point to a negative open.
- J.P. Morgan missed estimates today on revenue of $22.2 billion, below $23 billion estimates. Revenue at its investment bank were stunted as top line results in debt capital markets and equity markets cooled 40% and 26%, respectively. Earnings per share were in line with expectations at $0.90, however that number had been revised lower over the past four weeks.
- U.K. producer prices fell 0.2% in December, surprising economists who forecast a 0.1% gain. This was the first drop in 18 months, the Office for National Statistics said. The decline was attributed mostly to lower petroleum costs.
- Italy successfully sold €4.75 billion of debt maturing in 2014. Demand weakened from earlier auctions, with the bid-to-cover ratio at 1.2. Yields on Italian debt, however, fell to 4.83% from 5.62% in a December auction. Here are the countries most exposed to Italian debt.
- Deposits at the European Central Bank hit new highs again, with more than €489.9 billion stored at the ECB as financials avoid lending with each other. Eurozone institutions also took advantage of €1.5 billion from the ECB’s overnight lending facility, below Wednesday’s €3.2 billion level. Click here to see what will happen in Europe in 2012 >
- Bank of America is considering leaving certain regions of the country as its financial problems deepen, sources tell the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick and Joann Lublin. The bank told U.S. regulators that a contraction is an option if an emergency economic scenario comes to fruition. Here is the Fed’s 2012 black sky scenario.
- Drug-maker Novartis will layoff 1,960 of its U.S. workforce as the patent on its top blood pressure drug Diovan expires. The company will take a $900 million charge on the cuts in the second quarter of the year. In 2010, Novartis fired 500 employees in one of its British factories.
- Eastman Kodak has met with Citigroup to provide emergency bankruptcy financing as the company teeters on the brink, sources tell Bloomberg. Kodak executives declined to comment to Business Insider, but the imaging firm continues to burn through capital. In its last quarterly filing, Kodak had $862 million in cash on hand, down from $1.4 billion in September 2010.
- A number of economic data points will hit the market today. The U.S. trade balance widened to -$47.8 billion, above economist estimates of -$45 billion. At 9:55 a.m., U. Michigan Consumer Confidence will be announced, with economists looking for gains to 71.5. Follow both live on Money Game.
- Federal prosecutors have joined the SEC in its investigation of how Diamond Foods paid walnut suppliers. San Francisco’s U.S. Attorney’s office is looking into claims that Diamond Foods underpaid growers to make itself appear more profitable as it entered negotiations to purchase a variety of snack brands. The news puts Diamond Foods’ $2.35 billion purchase agreement for Pringles in limbo.