Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Headlines

  • Hollande Mittal Push Risks Hurting Economy by Spooking Investors. President Francois Hollande’s threat to nationalize an ArcelorMittal (MT) steel plant, while saving 600 jobs, may curb the creation of new employment by reinforcing France’s notoriety as a difficult place for business. Hollande has given Lakshmi Mittal, the chief executive officer and biggest shareholder of the world’s largest steelmaker, until Dec. 1 to either keep jobs at the plant, sell all of it or face its nationalization. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who kicked off the week by saying Mittal is no longer wanted in France, says he’s found a buyer for the whole site, including the part Mittal would like to keep. The tactics are the strongest yet by the French government in a long list of attempts to preserve jobs at home. They come as foreign direct investment inflows have halved in five years, local companies are holding off spending and jobless claims are at their highest in 14 years.
  • Italy Unemployment Rose to Highest in 13 Years in October. Italy’s unemployment rate rose more than expected in October to the highest level in 13 years as businesses refrain from hiring after the recession entered its second year. The unemployment rate rose to a seasonally-adjusted 11.1 percent from 10.8 percent in September, Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. Economists had predicted a reading of 10.9 percent, according to the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Unemployment remained above 10 percent for a ninth month.
  • Brazil GDP Grows at Half Forecast Pace as Investment DivesBrazil’s economy expanded in the third quarter at half the pace forecast by economists, as government stimulus efforts fail to revive investment that fell for the fifth straight period. Rate futures plunged. Gross domestic product grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter, the national statistics agency said today in Rio de Janeiro. That was less than the forecasts of all 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg whose median estimate was for a 1.2 percent expansion. “Today’s report was awful,” Neil Shearing, who was forecasting below-consensus 1 percent growth as chief emerging markets economist for Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone from London. “The really disappointing thing about today’s data is that despite all the policy stimulus over the past year, it’s clear the economy is still struggling to get going.
  • The Economy's Improving? Tell Small Business. According to a Gallup poll out Friday from Wells Fargo (WFC), small business owners’ confidence fell the most since the fall of 2008. The quarterly index, based on responses from 600 business owners, dropped 28 points as more businesses reported declining revenues, payrolls, and capital investment, both in the last 12 months and in their expectations for the year ahead.
  • Recession Left Baby Bust as U.S. Births Lowest Since 1920.
Wall Street Journal: 
  • Boehner: Fiscal Talks at Stalemate. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) declared talks between the White House and Congress to avert the fiscal cliff at a “stalemate” Friday, as lawmakers from both parties hardened their positions the day after Republicans rejected a White House offer to address fiscal concerns. Mr. Boehner and other top Republicans roundly panned the White House offer, delivered to Capitol Hill by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday in a series of meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said the proposal was not a “serious offer,” while Mr. Boehner said the White House plan is the “wrong approach.” “There’s a stalemate, let’s not kid ourselves,” Mr. Boehner said. “Right now, we’re almost nowhere.”
  • Fiscal Cliff: Live Stream.
  • U.S., Europe to Huddle on Google(GOOG) Probes.
  • Noonan: The Drawn-Out Crisis: It's the Obama Way. The president seems to prefer frustration to good-faith negotiation.
Zero Hedge:
  • UN chief 'horrified' by Syrian violence. The 20-month conflict in Syria has reached "new and appalling heights of brutality and violence" as the government steps up its shelling and air strikes and rebels boost their attacks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday. 
  • Egyptians protest after draft constitution raced through. Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested against President Mohamed Mursi on Friday after an Islamist-led assembly raced through approval of a new constitution in a bid to end a crisis over the Islamist leader's newly expanded powers. "The people want to bring down the regime," they chanted in Tahrir Square, echoing the chants that rang out in the same place less than two years ago and brought down Hosni Mubarak.
  • Canada's economy disappoints in third qtr, outlook dim. Canada's economy lost some fizz in the third quarter as exports suffered their biggest drop in three years and businesses scaled back investments, though the slowdown is unlikely to knock the Bank of Canada off its rate-hike stance. The economy grew at a weaker-than-expected 0.6 percent annual rate in the July-September period, after two straight quarters of 1.7 percent expansion, according to Statistics Canada data on Friday.
Financial Times:
  • It’s 2007 again, thanks to the US Fed. High-yield bond and loan market issuance year to date in both the US and Europe stands at about $570bn – on a par with the peak five years ago. Almost 30 per cent of all junk bonds have few terms, a new high, according to data from JPMorgan, while debt issuance for the purpose of paying the owners dividends is also above 2007 levels. Issuance of collateralised loan obligations this year will come in at about $45bn, more than the past four years combined.

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