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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia sold off in overnight trading, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng falling 1.9 per cent. Shares in Europe are also sharply off and U.S. futures point to a negative open.
- The European Commission said this morning it is willing to directly recapitalize banks through the European Stability Mechanism — the continent’s permanent €500 billion bailout fund set to go into effect this summer.
- Italian borrowing costs increased to more than six per cent when the country auctioned 10-year debt. Yields jumped to 6.03 per cent on bonds maturing in 2012. Separately, shorter-term two-year Spanish debt jumped to 5.11 per cent.
- Euro-area economic confidence hit a two-and-a-half year low, falling to 90.6 from 92.9 a month earlier. Economists had anticipated the May reading at 91.9. Click here for the eurozone crisis for dummies >
- The European Central Bank denied earlier claims that it had advised Spain on major bank recapitalization, saying it has “not been consulted and has not expressed a position on plans by the Spanish authorities.”
- Brent crude futures fell below $105 per barrel this morning, the first time since December 2011.
- Research in Motion announced it has hired JP Morgan and RBC to advise it on strategic options unexpectedly after the closing bell. The company also said it would post a first quarter operating loss and continue to layoff employees.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook says television is an area of “intense focus” for the U.S.’s most valuable company. Cook spoke at the All Things D, D10 Conference yesterday in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Now, here’s what the next iPhone could look like >
- Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination for the presidential race this November, after winning the primary in Texas with more than 69 per cent of the vote. One of these 16 people could be Romney’s choice for VP >
- The key U.S. economic announcement of the day is pending home sales, which will be released at 10:00 a.m. Expectations are for no sequential change in April, representing a 22.0 per cent year-on-year gain. Follow it live on Money Game >