Good morning! Here's what you need to know.
- The Nikkei gained 1.00% but was the lone brightspot among Asian markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell -1.34%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was off -0.11%. European markets are flat. US futures are slightly lower.
- The Census will release international trade data at 8:30 am ET; consensus is for the U.S. trade deficit to shrink $2 billion to $43 billion. At 9:30, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will speak at a press breakfast. And at 10, the BLS will published the latest job openings and labor turnover survey. Job openings are expected to tick 22,000 higher to 3.85 million.
- Disney, Coke, CVS, Marathon Oil, Archer Daniels Midland and First Solar will announce quarterly earnings today.
- A report from the Commerce Department's inspector general found that the system for releasing market-sensitive economic data possessed vulnerabilities that could be exploited, WSJ says. The probe focused on "black box" devices reporters hook their computers into on data release days. The FBI is concerned reporters may be sending early reports of the data to traders.
- Italy fell into its eighth-straight quarter of contraction as its latest GDP figures showed a -0.2% decline in Q2. Analysts were expecting -0.4%. Year-over-year, GDP fell -2.0%, which beat expectations of -2.2%. "Italy's economy is no longer in freefall, but it continues to contract, dragged down by a collapse in domestic demand, a severe credit crunch and the adverse effects of a tax-driven fiscal consolidation programme," says Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy.
- New Zealand is probing why dairy megagroup Fonterra waited 48 hours to respond to inform lawmakers it had shipped tainted products across Asia, WSJ reports. The investigation comes as China and Russia have imposed bans on certain products from New Zealand. The New Zealand dollar rebounded against the USD Tuesday after plummeting Monday.
- Australia's central bank cut the benchmark interest rate a quarter of a point to 2.5%, the lowest level in the country's history. It's also the first time the central bank has cut rates during an election. PM Kevin Rudd has called for elections on Sept. 7.
- India's Rupee fell to a record-low 61.39 against the dollar. WSJ's Sudeep Jain reports: The rupee has lost more than 12% since the start of May after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted it may wind down its bond-buying program soon.Foreign investors have been dumping Indian assets over fears that India will struggle to fund its wide current-account deficit if global liquidity tightens."
- Morgan Stanley Chief Economist Vincent Reinhart is convinced the August jobs report will be the one to determine how quickly the Fed begins tapering its asset purchase program. "If the August jobs report is weaker than the print on Friday, then it would be difficult to justify dialing back policy accommodation. A report around these July payroll gains or stronger, the Fed can assert that there has been enough sustained improvement to justify scaling back the pace of its purchases," he says in a new note.
- Don't miss our Henry Blodget's take on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos $250 million purchase of the Washington Post yesterday afternoon. "This is a man who invests in rockets and atomic clocks, after all," he writes. "He doesn't necessarily make these investments for the money." And here's Bezos' letter to Post employees.
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