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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia sold off in overnight trade, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng off 1.1 per cent. Shares in Europe are lower and U.S. futures point to a negative open.
- Germany sold €4 billion in two-year debt, below its maximum €5 billion target. Yields on the treasuries increased to zero per cent from -0.06 per cent at a similar auction in July. Demand was somewhat softer than earlier auctions during the year.
- Japan’s trade deficit was larger than expected in July, with the gap between imports and exports standing at ¥517.4 billion ($6.53 billion). That compares to a June surplus of ¥60.3 billion.
- Greek Prime Minister Samaras will speak with Eurogroup President Juncker to discuss an extension of a €11.5 billion fiscal adjustment program by two years, pushing it to 2016 from 2014 as earlier agreed. The press conference will be held at 12:00 p.m.
- Apple and one of its largest Chinese suppliers, Foxconn, improved labour conditions at overseas plants, a new report from the Fair labour Association says. Foxconn has reduced worker hours, now requires breaks, revamped equipment, and updated maintenance policies, according to surveys of plants in June and July. The Fair labour Association says more is still needed to be done. Here’s what Apple stock does before major product announcements >
- Dell’s profit fell more than 18 per cent to $732 million as consumer sales slumped during the second quarter. The company reported earnings of $0.42 a share on sales of $14.48 billion, both below expectations. Dell also cut its earnings forecast for the year to $1.70 from $2.13 a share.
- BHP Billiton reported better-than-expected full-year results this morning, even as second-half profits slid 35 per cent to $7.16 billion. The company said it would have to delay its massive $20 billion Olympic Dam copper expansion and would not approve any other major projects this year.
- The key U.S. economic event on tap today is existing home sales, set for release at 10:00 a.m. Economists expect that the number of houses sold will increase 3.2 per cent to an annualized rate of 4.51 million units. Follow it live on Money Game >
- Minutes from the August FOMC meeting will be released by the Federal Reserve at 2:00 p.m. The market will be closely looking for any hint of added quantitative easing from the statements. Here’s how the recession spread across America and still haunts us today >
- Mitt Romney continued to trail President Obama in a new WSJ/NBC poll. The new data showed Obama with a 48-44 lead, similar to a poll a month earlier. The survey also showed that Paul Ryan had a marginal impact on voters — with 22 per cent saying they were more likely to back the Republican ticket while 23 per cent said they were less likely to. OK folks, let’s talk about taxes >