Italy’s debt crisis just keeps getting worse.First, the scoreboard:
Dow: +85.2 pts, +0.7%
S&P 500: +7.9 pts, +0.6%
NASDAQ: +9.1 pts, +0.3%
And now, the top stories:
- As Greece gets its house in order, Italy is increasingly freaking people out. Borrowing costs continue to soar for the debt-laden country, which has global markets worried about a deepening eurozone debt crisis and ultimately contagion. Many blame Italy’s woes to Silvio Berlusconi. In fact, markets rallied on a rumour that Berlusconi would step down. But Berlusconi’s camp quickly denied it. Click here to see where things stand in Europe>
- Meanwhile, the European Financial Stability Facility, or EFSF, sold $4.1 billion worth of bonds in a disappointing auction met with weak demand.
- Jefferies traded higher as it continued its campaign to convince the markets that its exposure to the PIIGS was immaterial. In a statement this morning, Jefferies said it reduced its long and short positions to the PIIGS by almost 50%. The stock closed up 1.4%.
- Otherwise, it was a relatively quiet day for news. We learned consumer credit outstanding increased by $7.3 billion in September, which was higher than the $5.15 billion expected by analysts.
- UPS said it would boost its temporary holiday workforce by 10% this year, which is slightly lower than the 15% growth FedEx announced last month. However, staffing firm Challenger grey & Christmas said holiday hiring at retailers is actually down around 2% so far.
- Shares of Amgen jumped 5.9% today after the company announced a $5 billion share buyback, financed by debt. Debt-financed share buybacks are thought to be propping up the markets lately.
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