Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Wall Street Breakfast
Wall Street Breakfast
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.

Top Stories
Germany studies potential impact of "Grexit". Germany's finance ministry is assessing the potential impact of a Greek exit from the euro and how "a domino effect on other euro member states might be prevented," the FT Deutschland reports. A spokesman said the government needs to be ready for all scenarios, including "improbable ones." The report came ahead of Angela Merkel hosting Greek PM Antonis Samaras in Berlin today.

Japan plays out its version of the debt-ceiling drama. Japan's government could run out of money in October if parliament doesn't pass legislation that would enable the country to sell ¥38.3T ($487B) of debt, or over 40% of this year's budget. The fate of the bill is in the hands of the opposition-controlled upper house, which may press PM Yoshihiko Noda to fix an election date before approving the debt sales.

General Growth's top shareholder won't sell. General Growth Properties' (NYSE:GGP) largest shareholder, Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE:BAM), has said it has no interest in selling its 40% holding and nor is it trying to buy the mall operator outright. Brookfield's comments came after Bill Ackman's Pershing, which owns 10%, said Brookfield had tried to acquire General Growth, whose market cap is $19.1B, and after he called on the firm to put itself up for sale. Brookfield was -4.9% premarket.

Top Stock News
Salesforce shares drop following disappointing guidance. Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) shares fell 5.6% premarket after it gave FQ3 EPS guidance that was below Street consensus, due to forex fluctuations and slowing technology spending in Europe, with the company's investment in growth and its price war with competitors also possibly hitting margins. Still, FQ2 earnings topped expectations as net losses widened to $9.9M from $4.3M, EPS came in at $0.42 and revenue jumped 34% to $731.6M.

Cisco, EMC partnership hits rough patch. Although Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and EMC (EMC) keep mouthing the right words, their relationship is fraying, Reuters reports. The companies' VCE joint venture hasn't turned a profit, while they are apparently considering buying or partnering with each others' rivals. Indeed, Cisco had a $750M deal to acquire startup and long-term threat Nicira, only to see EMC's VMware (NYSE:VMW) outbid them.

Kodak considers what else it can sell. Its patent auction in limbo due to disappointing bids, bankrupt Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ.PK) is considering the sale of its document imaging (scanners + related software) and personalized imaging (photo kiosks, photo paper, still-camera film) businesses. Kodak, which wants to focus on enterprise solutions, has already announced plans to shut down camera production.

Twitter thinks twice about when to IPO. Twitter is "reevaluating the timing" of its IPO in light of the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) debacle, Fox reports, with CEO Dick Costolo already having suggested that Twitter is in no rush to go public. Meanwhile, Facebook's efforts to strengthen institutional support are said to be falling flat - COO Sheryl Sandberg reportedly raised eyebrows by telling an investor that Facebook priced its IPO at $38 partly to discourage short-term traders.

Santander to sell ~25% of Mexican unit in September listing. Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN) plans to list its Mexican subsidiary in Mexico and New York on September 25, Reuters report, with the Spanish bank looking to sell 6% in the unit's home country and 18.7% abroad. Santander hopes to raise $3B-$4B in the offering.

Lawyers benefit in cellphone patent war. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is paying a small fortune to prosecute its legal war against Android rivals, with just one ITC dispute with Motorola costing $32M in legal fees and other complex or large patent cases reaching $25M. The South Korean theater of Apple's global IP conflict with Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has concluded in (dis)honors basically even: a court has ruled that Apple violated two patents and Samsung one, and awarded small damages to each.

Top Economic & Other News
Typhoon could bring more woe to corn and soybean supplies. Although corn and soybean prices are near record levels because of the drought, the worst may not yet be priced in. That's because a typhoon is threatening the Chinese province of Liaoning, with as much as 3% of the country's corn and soybean output at risk. Meanwhile, Pro Farm is due to issue estimates for this year's U.S. crop production today following the recent Farm Belt tour.

Are you better off than you were three years ago? Probably not, according to a study from Sentier Research, which says that median household income fell 4.8% to $50,964 since the recession ended in June 2009. That's greater than the 2.6% decline during the 18-month downturn itself; since December 2007, household income is off 7.2%.

Central banks watch Danish sandbox. The eyes of global central bankers are on Denmark, which last month made the experimental move of setting its main deposit rate for banks at -0.2%. The ECB has already said it could follow suit, although the possible consequences are uncertain: to claw back the cost of the rate, Danish banks will have to increase the price of lending for customers.

Editors' Picks
Microsoft Windows 8: No Effect On The Smart Phone Market
Market To Economy: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
Plug Your Nose And Buy Hewlett-Packard?

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan -1.2%. Hong Kong -1.3%. China -1%. India -0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow flat. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude -0.4% to $95.86. Gold -0.3% to $1668.60.

Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Durable Goods

Notable earnings before today's open: SOL

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