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 downplays talk of leveraging ESM to €2T+. The eurozone is discussing leveraging its ESM permanent bailout fund, German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter confirmed today. However, a ministry spokesman described as "illusory" that the mechanism's capacity could be increased to over €2T from the €500B pledged, as reported by Germany's Spiegel at the weekend. Either way, the techniques used would be similar to those deployed for the temporary EFSF.

Apple seeks another $707M from Samsung. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) wants Judge Lucy Koh to award another $707M in damages from Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) on top of the $1.05B a San Jose jury awarded the company last month. Apple also wants a permanent ban on 26 Samsung smartphones - it was previously looking for just eight - and three tablets come December 6. Samsung wants a re-trial, alleging that the time constraints of the California trial prevented it "from presenting a full and fair case."

Top Stock News
GE targets $5B in sales for mining-equipment unit. GE (NYSE:GE) aims to boost its revenues from its mining-equipment and services unit to $5B from $2B "within a few years." As it did with its oil and gas ops, the conglomerate plans to grow GE Mining through acquisitions even though mining companies such as BHP (NYSE:BHP) have been scaling back investment as commodity prices fall. "It is a good a time to be looking at acquisitions in a value sense," said GE Mining CEO Geoff Knox.

Yahoo's Mayer to increase focus on user experience. Marissa Mayer plans to hold two meetings tomorrow with Yahoo (YHOO) employees detailing her plans for the company, All Things D reports. These include increasing transparency, concentrating on metrics much more, and refreshing the company's email and homepage by putting a greater focus on the consumer experience, even at the expense of the bottom line in the short term.

Japan looks to nix KKR's bid for Renesas. Japanese state-backed investment fund Innovation Network is in talks with major manufacturers - reportedly including Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Panasonic (PC) - about acquiring struggling chipmaker Renesas (OTCPK:RNECF), which is the subject of a bid of over ¥100B ($1.3B) from KKR (NYSE:KKR). The Japanese government fears that KKR would "cut off the less-profitable operations" that are important for Japanese end users.

Rambus "willfully" destroyed potential court evidence. Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) "willfully" eradicated documents that could have been used in its IP dispute with Korea's Hynix Semiconductor (OTC:HXSCF), a District Court judge has ruled, although he said that Rambus' patents are still valid. Judge Ronald Whyte didn't set a penalty for the U.S. company, but Hynix expects the ruling to "substantially limit" the royalties it will need to pay Rambus for infringing the latter's IP.

Facebook shows value for advertisers. Facing pressure to demonstrate how it can benefit advertisers, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is working with data-mining company Datalogix to track how many users buy a firm's products after seeing its ads on the social network. Of 45 campaigns measured, advertisers earned an extra $3 in incremental sales for every dollar spent on Facebook in 70% of cases. However, Datalogix's techniques have raised the usual privacy concerns.

EU banks looking to offload billions in property loans. Having sold €7.5B in commercial real-estate loans this year, European banks are working on divesting another €11B worth by the end of 2012, data from property services group CBRE shows. Banks are racing to sell the assets to comply with new regulations requiring them to increase the amount of capital they hold against the loans, but the rush means they often take big losses.

DJIA could add Apple. S&P (MHP), the new owner of the DJIA, is considering changes to the way the iconic index is calculated in order to be able to include Apple (AAPL) without it holding too much sway. "Most institutional investors have moved on from the index," says UBS' Mark Haefele. Meanwhile, UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) will today replace Kraft (KFT) in the DJIA following the latter's split into two.

Toyota to release 21 new hybrids. Toyota (TM) intends to launch 21 hybrid vehicles in the next three years and expects sales of at least 1M such units in 2013-2015. Toyota also plans to release a new electric mini-car later this year, for which Panasonic (PC) will provide the battery, and a fuel-cell vehicle by 2015. However, Toyota has abandoned plans for widespread sales of the minicar, saying it had overestimated the market and battery capability.

Top Economic & Other News
China's Beige Book adds to the gloom. China's Beige Book has found that China's monetary easing over the summer is having a limited effect, with banks increasing the availability of loans but companies borrowing less. Manufacturers and retailers are less bullish than they were in the previous report, while more firms are reducing staff. The findings are pretty much in line with China's worsening economic data.

Senate passes $500B spending package. The Senate authorized a $500B spending bill over the weekend that will finance the government for half a year from October 1, adding to approval from the House. Congress has now broken up ahead of the elections on November 6, leaving plenty of unfinished business. That includes measures to forestall the "fiscal cliff" and a renewal of the farm bill.

German business confidence drops. Germany's Ifo business climate index unexpectedly fell to 101.4 in September from 102.3 in August and vs. a Reuters consensus of 102.5. It's the index's fifth consecutive drop, with the readings for current conditions and business expectations also declining. The gloom can be found across the board, including in the manufacturing, retail, wholesale and construction sectors.

France says Greece should get more time. French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault has said Greece should receive more time to meet the conditions of its €174B bailout as long as the country "is sincere in its commitment to reform." Ayrault's comments are the most explicit yet from France about leniency for Greece, although the viewpoint faces strong opposition in Germany.

U.K. to set up bank to encourage lending to small firms. Frustrated by banks' unwillingness to lend to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the U.K. government plans to create a bank that will facilitate such loans as part of an attempt to revive the economy. The state will provide £1B and try to attract £1B of private capital, and then borrow another £8B. However, the new bank won't lend directly to SMBs, but will instead fund financial institutions that do.

Editors' Picks
Without Steve Jobs, Apple Is Without A Map
Not Time To Get Nervous (Yet)
The Fiscal Cliff: QE Slayer

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan -0.5%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China +0.3%. India -0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.7%. Paris -1.1%. Frankfurt -0.7%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.4%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -1.3% to $91.68. Gold -1.05% to $1759.30.

Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Chicago Fed National Activity Index
10:30 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook

Notable earnings before today's open: LEN

Notable earnings after today's close: PAYX, RHT

See full real-time earnings coverage »

Wall Street Breakfast is sent out by email for free -- Get it now »