Bundesbank chief considered quitting. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann has thought about resigning in recent weeks, due to his opposition to Mario Draghi's plans for the ECB to resume the buying of eurozone government debt, Germany's Bild reports. However, unlike his predecessor Axel Weber, Weidmann has stayed so that he can fight the good fight from within.
Bernanke unlikely to flick the printing press switch. In case you forgot, Ben Bernanke is due to make his long-awaited speech at Jackson Hole today, when he'll probably reiterate what we already know - that the Fed's considering more easing - but not announce more money printing. Charles Plosser, the hawkish head of the Philly Fed, yesterday told CNBC that there's no point to another round of QE, partly because it risks future inflation.
Japan's economic picture gets gloomier. Japan's industrial production fell 1.2% on month in July, sharply worse than consensus for growth of 1.7% and the 0.4% increase in June. CPI excluding food fell 0.3% on year, prompting fears that Japan is a long way from escaping deflation. The figures add to slowing retail sales and exports, and the government downgrading its economic forecast. Still, at least unemployment was unchanged at 4.3%.
Top Stock News
New Barclays chief cuts ROE targets. New Barclays (BCS) CEO Antony Jenkins has told the FT that he's cutting the bank's return-on-equity goal to 11%-11.5% from the 13%-15% targeted by predecessor Bob Diamond. Jenkins' top priority is to restore Barclays' battered reputation, and he'll unveil a "transformational plan" in Q1 next year, although it will take 3-5 years to implement. Jenkins is also committed to Barclays remaining a "universal bank."
Investors like SAIC's separation plan. SAIC (SAI) intends to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies, with one focused on government technical services and enterprise IT, and the other on science and technology services. The split will allow the entities to bid for more contracts, which they can't do now because of conflicts of interest. Shares surged 14.3% premarket.
Sharp delays production of iPhone screens. Sharp hasn't yet started the mass production of screens for Apple's (AAPL) next iPhone, the WSJ reports. Sharp had hoped to have begun deliveries by now and it is unclear when it will be able to start, although the iPhone's two other screen suppliers, LG Display and Japan Display, have commenced shipments. Still, the delay at Sharp raises doubts about whether Apple will be able to meet demand.
Your daily Zynga executive defection report. Studios VP Bill Mooney and marketing VP Brian Birtwistle have left Zynga (ZNGA), Bloomberg reports. Zynga has also lost its COO, chief creative officer, and a few other important figures over the last month, as a crashing stock price triggers an exodus from a company whose business culture has been frequently criticized.
Microsoft dominates Berlin tech fest. The IFA international conference for consumer electronics and home appliances has officially started in Berlin today, although the unveiling of some major products already took place earlier in the week. There's been a deluge of Windows 8/RT (MSFT) tablets, including from Dell (DELL) and H-P (HPQ), not to mention Samsung (GM:SSNLF) beating Nokia (NOK) to the punch with a Windows 8 smartphone. In short, Microsoft is dominating without exhibiting.
Energy firms escape major damage from Isaac. Energy markets aren't expecting "lasting disruptions" from Hurricane Isaac, Tudor Pickering analysts have said, but they are "looking for confirmation of this" from oil and gas companies. Phillips 66 (PSX) found some flooding at its refinery in Belle Chasse but the markets are mostly reassured: Valero (VLO) and Anadarko (APC) are among firms reporting no damage to their facilities.
Top Economic & Other News
Eurozone inflation rises. Eurozone August CPI rose to +2.6% on year from +2.4% in July and topped consensus of +2.5%. The increase takes inflation further away from the ECB's target of just below 2%, and may reduce the chances of the bank cutting rates at a policy meeting next week. The prospect of rising inflation is also cited as a reason for the ECB not to buy eurozone government bonds. Meanwhile, unemployment remained at a record high of 11.3% in July.
Merkel wants Spain, Italy to delay bailout requests. Angela Merkel has asked Italian PM Mario Monti to postpone making a request for any bailout and will ask Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy to do the same, El Mundo reports. The speculation raises the question as to whether Monti was planning to ask for a bailout. For her part, Merkel hopes to resolve the crisis at the Bundesbank, especially with Jens Weidmann's thoughts of quitting.
In Asia, Japan -1.6%. Hong Kong -0.4%. China -0.3%. India -0.9%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.6%. Paris +1.4%. Frankfurt +1.3%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.6%. S&P +0.6%. Nasdaq +0.7%. Crude +0.7% to $95.31. Gold +0.3% to $1661.40.
Today's economic calendar:
9:45 Chicago PMI
9:55 Reuters/UofM Consumer Sentiment
10:00 Factory Orders
10:00 Bernanke: ‘Monetary Policy Since the Crisis’
3:00 PM USDA Ag. Prices
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