IATA: Eurozone crisis could cause $8.3B in airline losses. The International Air Transport Association has warned that the airline sector could makes losses of $8.3B next year if a failure to resolve the eurozone's debt problems causes a banking crisis and economic turmoil. The organization's main prediction for 2012 is for a profit of $3.5B, down from a prior forecast of $4.9B. The IATA's outlook for 2011 remains unchanged at a profit of $6.9B.
Cameron threatens to block new EU treaty. U.K. PM David Cameron has warned he will veto the eurozone's deal to save itself unless he obtains assurances that future EU regulations won't threaten the City of London or free-market rules. The French and Germans would like the whole of the EU to sign any new treaty but say the eurozone is prepared to go it alone. Meanwhile, Timothy Geithner is in France on the latest leg of his European tour as he pushes the EU to get its act together.
Citigroup to chop 4,500 jobs. Citigroup (NYSE:C) plans to slash 4,500 positions - a larger cut than was previously reported - and will take a $400M charge related to the move in Q4 2011. The layoffs, revealed yesterday by CEO Vikram Pandit, are part of an attempt to reduce costs amid slumping revenue and "unprecedented" market conditions. Given Citigroup's size, it's just "a drop in the bucket," an analyst said, and there could be more to come.
Germany puts on better show at bond auction. After its disastrous bond auction a couple of weeks ago, Germany received bids for €8.67B ($11.6B) of five-year notes at a sale today, more than the maximum target of €5B. The paper was sold with a yield of 1.11%.
MF Global's collapse hits farmers. It's not just Wall Street players getting hurt by MF Global's (OTC:MFGLQ) bankruptcy - farmers who used MF as their broker are also waiting to get their money back. In the meantime, they are missing deadlines for buying next season's seeds and are delaying equipment purchases. The cash crunch could cause a major revision to the outlook for U.S. crops.
House panel to vote on banning insider trading in Congress. Like turkeys holding a vote to ban Thanksgiving, a House panel plans to decide next week on a rule to stop insider trading by Congressmen. Until now, legislators have been able to trade stocks based on information they receive in hearings, and apparently there's enough legal wiggle room that the SEC might not be able to make an enforcement case stick.
Bloomberg rebuts Bernanke's rebuttal. Responding to Ben Bernanke's rebuttal of "wildly inaccurate" news reports about the Fed's lending programs, Bloomberg calmly goes line by line through each of the Chairman's points. Market Currents editor Stephen Alpher reckons its a "TKO for Bloomberg."
China OKs Nestle's chocolate purchase. China has approved Nestle's (OTCPK:NSRGY) plan to buy a 60% stake in Hsu Fu Chi, China's biggest confectioner. At $1.7B, it's one of the biggest deals by a foreign company in China, easing concerns that regulators are on a protectionist bent.
India suspends further opening of retail market. Bowing to intense domestic pressure, India's government has suspended a controversial decision - pushed by PM Manmohan Singh - that would have allowed Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and other foreign companies to own supermarkets in the country.
Berkshire Hathaway unit to buy solar farm. MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), has agreed to buy First Solar's (NASDAQ:FSLR) 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm in California. There is no word on the price tag, although the plant, which will be one of the largest ever, is expected to cost more than $2B to build.
Boeing, employees hope for calmer skies. Boeing's (NYSE:BA) machinists union is due to vote today on a four-year contract extension that both sides hope will lead to more harmonious relations after years of rancor. Frost & Sullivan analyst Wayne Plucker said defense cuts and the intensifying competition with Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF) make good labor relations "pivotal."
Sanofi insulin drug raises cancer risk, study shows. Sanofi's (NYSE:SNY) Lantus, the world’s leading insulin drug with annual sales of $4.7B, almost triples the risk of developing cancer among diabetics, a Swedish study shows. Sanofi dismissed the research as being flawed and too small.
ING to take €1B charge on U.S. insurance ops. ING (NYSE:ING) will take a charge of between €900M ($1.2B) and €1.1B on its U.S. insurance business in connection with its closed block of variable annuity policies. The Dutch bank said certain policyholder behavior had diverged from earlier assumptions it had made. Shares -1.9% premarket.
In Asia, Japan +1.7% to 8722. Hong Kong +1.6% to 19241. China +0.3% to 2333. India +0.4% to 16877.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt +0.5%.
Futures at 7:15: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude flat at $101.31. Gold -0.1% to $1730.40.
Wednesday's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
10:00 Quarterly Services Report
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
3:00 PM Consumer Credit
Earnings Results: Companies that beat EPS expectations last night and today include Men's Wearhouse (MW).
For full real-time earnings coverage, please click here.
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