Global markets stumble. Stocks in Asia and Europe lose ground in trading on Wednesday as lingering concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis hurt sentiment and yesterday's comments on QE3 from the Fed's Charles Plosser set a gloomy tone on the effectiveness of stimulus. The Shanghai Composite briefly fell below the 2,000-point mark as Chinese stocks traded at their lowest level since January 2009. In Spain, stocks dropped sharply and yields surged after Catalonia stoked independence concerns by announcing a snap election. Spain's benchmark 10-year bond rose as much as 23 basis points to 5.94%. Mining stocks are driving the charge lower in Britain, with lower commodity prices and a production warning from Anglo American (OTCPK:AAUKY) tipping sentiment.
LIBOR might get new boss. The British Bankers' Association is reportedly close to giving up the responsibility for setting the London Interbank Offered Rate after the organization's council cleared the path. The decision by the BBA comes in front of Friday's release of a government-commissioned study of the unregulated trade group. If the move is officially cleared, British or international regulators could be in charge of overseeing the closely-watched rate.
Japanese automakers slash production. Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) are cutting production in China due to a decline in demand that comes amid simmering tensions between Japan and China over a territorial dispute. Toyota and its Lexus brand are adjusting production down while Nissan's Chinese joint venture will stop making passenger vehicles through Oct. 7. Just another effect of the skirmish, one strategist says: "The market could be stuck with this for months to come."
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Mayer rallies the troops. Marissa Meyer painted in very broad strokes her plan to create a new Yahoo that will be highly focused on personalizing its various platforms at an all-hands meeting at the company's headquarters. The exec says the company will have a strong mobile position by 2015 (mobile is a clear weak spot right now), and will only approve projects capable of obtaining 100M users or $100M in revenue. She also claimed Yahoo, which just agreed to return $3.65B to shareholders, will make more "acqui-hires" to reel in engineering talent. Details on individual products and layoff plans were skimpy.
Cisco mulls over life after Chambers. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) CEO John Chambers reveals a few of the candidates that the company is considering as possible successors for when he retires. After manning the ship for over 16 years, Chambers is expected to step down in two to four years. His storied tenure at Cisco includes a brief time heading the world's most valuable company as well as riding out the dot-com boom and bust. The short list of potential hires includes the company's current COO and a number of senior managers of global operations.
Barnes & Noble to launch new Nook tablets. Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) will release two high-definition versions of its Nook tablet just ahead of the crucial holiday shopping period. A 7-inch tablet priced at $199 and a 9-inch version selling for $269 are priced at or below new offerings from rival Amazon. CEO William Lynch says the company has placed its largest devices order ever as he fully expects the company to grow market share by Christmas.
Full speed ahead for Netflix. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings says Europe will be a major focus of the company over the next two to three years as he sees the company's streaming service eventually landing in nearly every nation on the planet with the possible exception of the always-problematic China. He takes on the threat of Amazon head on, noting that Netflix spends 3X what Amazon does on content to the benefit of customers and calling Amazon Prime a "confusing mess" with an algorithm that isn't as clever as that of Netflix.
Major banks see network attack. Cyberattacks hit websites run by Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), disrupting customers attempting to log into their accounts. The coordinated breach follows attacks on the websites of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) over the last week that security expert say could be linked. At least one group has claimed responsibility for the incidents as retaliation for what it labels an anti-Muslim film, although that claim is unsubstantiated at the moment.
Google and Yahoo getting cozier. Though Eric Schmidt didn't sound enthusiastic about Google's relationship with Apple yesterday, he declared Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) "would love" to replace Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) search provider. Yahoo is dissatisfied with results of the Microsoft partnership, and has reportedly been in talks with Google about a deal. But regulators might stand in the way.
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Home prices: Looks like a recovery. Housing prices rose for the sixth straight month Tuesday, with the Case-Shiller 20-area index rising 1.2% from a year ago, and up 5.9% for the first seven months of the year. The FHFA Housing Price Index rose 0.2% from a month prior, and 3.7% from a year ago. Prices are still 30% below a 2006 peak - but that's some improvement over the 35% hole they were in in February.
Gold buying by central banks cools off. Central banks only slightly adjusted their gold reserves in August, according to fresh data from the IMF. Even typically-heavy buyer Russia only moderately upped its gold holdings as it joined the host of nations waiting to see if the Federal Reserve would pull a rabbit out of its hat. A number of central banks in emerging markets were modest buyers of gold during the month, while the Czech Republic and Mexico were net sellers.
Underlying Disaster In Europe Accelerating: Spain's Finances Collapsing
Good News, For Now
Why Haven't Amazon Shares Collapsed? Because Jeff Bezos Is The Next Elon Musk, Not The Next Steve Jobs
In Asia, Japan -2.0%. Hong Kong -0.8%. China -1.1%. India -0.3%.
In Europe, at midday, London -1.1%. Paris -2.1%. Frankfurt -1.5%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.1%. S&P flat. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -0.7% to $90.77. Gold +0.1% to $1767.90.
Today's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
10:00 New Home Sales
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
1:00 PM Results of $35B, 5-Year Note Auction
1:15 PM Fed's Evans: 'Perspectives on Current Economic Issues'