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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia traded mostly lower overnight, with Japan’s Nikkei down 0.8 per cent. Shares in Europe are slightly higher while U.S. futures point to a positive open.
- Moody’s downgraded at least 12 Spanish banks into junk territory, following the country’s own cut earlier this month. The hit included ratings action to Spain’s two largest banks, Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, although they both remained with investment grade ratings. Here’s George Soros’ plan to save Europe >
- Spain sold more than planned in a successful bond sale, issuing €3.08 billion in shorter-term debt. Yields on the country’s six-month bills increased from the last auction, hitting 3.237 per cent.
- Italy’s Treasury issued €2.99 billion zero-coupon bonds this morning, at the high end of expectations.
- The U.K.’s budget deficit widened to £17.9 billion, above expectations for a £14.8 billion read. That’s up from £15.2 billion a year ago.
- Japan’s lower house passed a bill that would double the consumption tax to 10 per cent over three years. The country is hoping to rein in its growing national deficit. However, the vote threatened Prime Minister Noda’s standing as it faced strong opposition.
- Congress is considering delaying automatic federal budget cuts to March 2013, Bloomberg’s Roxana Tiron reports. The delay targets the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts set to go into effect at the start of 2013.
- News Corp. is considering splitting itself into two separate companies, the Wall Street Journal’s Martin Peers, John Jannarone, and Anupreeta Das report. One company would operate New Corp.’s entertainment business, while another would hold its publishing entities. Here’s Rupert Murdoch’s response to shareholders embarrassed by the firm’s ongoing phone hacking scandal.
- Facebook named Sheryl Sandberg to its board of directors. Sandberg is Facebook’s chief operating officer and has been with the firm since 2008. “Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years,” Mark Zuckerberg said. These are the two companies that had worse IPOs than Facebook >
- Housing prices increased 0.67 per cent sequentially in April, topping expectations for a 0.3 per cent gain, new Case Shiller data shows. That represents a better-than-expected per cent 1.9 per cent year-on-year decline. At 10:00 a.m., Consumer Confidence and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index will be released. Both are expected to fall. Follow it all live on Money Game >