A girl dressed as Hindu god Krishna waits backstage to perform during celebrations ahead of the Janmashtami festival in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad August 25, 2013. The festival, which marks the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, will be celebrated across India on August 28.
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- Asian markets were mostly lower. The Nikkei closed down -0.69%, while Korea's Kospi composite was off -0.11%. India's BSE got rocked, falling -3.18%. European markets are down across the board, with Germany's FTSE down -1.44%. U.S. futures were lower.
- Three big economic datapoints today: at 9 am, S&P will publish the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for June. Analysts expect a seasonally-adjusted gain of 1.0% against 1.0% prior. Then at 10 am we get both Conference Board Consumer Confidence for August — 78.0 expected versus 80.3 prior — and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index for August, which is expected to show no gain against -11 prior.
- India's Rupee hit another new low, ticking 66.075 against the dollar. The currency had already hit a record low of 65.56 last Thursday. The most recent plunge was triggered by the government's announcement that it would be providing $20 billion in grain subsidies to the poor, Reuters' Swati Bhat and Manoj Kumar say. The Rupee has also been hit by fears of U.S. Fed tapering.
- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress in a letter that the U.S. government would hit its debt limit sometime in mid-October. Congress must now go through another round of deliberations to raise the debt ceiling, and some House Republicans are already demanding deep spending cuts, especially in "Obamacare," in exchange for doing so.
- CNBC's John Harwood says an Obama Administration official told him that Larry Summers would be named new Fed Chair in a few weeks.
- Germany's business climate index improved to its best level in over a year. Ifo Institute 's print for August ticked 107.5 against 107.0 expected and 106.2 prior. The index hasn't seen that level since April 2012.
- After initially shrugging off Sec. of State John Kerry's remarks on Syria, Brent crude futures are up 1% this morning to $111.89, a level not seen since February. U.S.-traded WTI is up 0.92%. Gold is also up 1.33%. Also, major Mideast stock markets are getting clobbered.
- Bill Ackman's Pershing Square group announced it would sell its entire stake in JC Penney. The fund will have taken a 40% bath over the length of its 17.7% holding.
- Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told The Detroit News' David Shepardson that the agency is considering reviving its $25 billion auto loan program. Created in 2007, the fund was halted in 2011 after two of five companies that had received loans stopped production. On the other hand, Tesla was also a recipient, and the company now enjoys a market cap about half of GE's.
- The Wall Street Journal says China is expected to begin formally dismantling key parts of its state investment fueled growth model during the Party's upcoming Plenum meeting. " Changes under consideration include lifting restrictions on land ownership and urban residency, adjusting the tax system to give more resources to cash-strapped local governments and relaxing controls on energy prices," the paper said. "Financial reforms to free up interest rates on bank deposits and allow money to flow more freely in and out of the country are also near the top of the agenda." The meeting is set to occur before year's end.
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