An unmanned Delta 4 Heavy rocket, the largest booster in in the U.S. fleet, lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to put a classified satellite into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office August 28, 2013
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- Markets in Asia were higher. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.91%. Korea's Kospi climbed 1.22%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.10%. European markets were higher across the board led by London's FTSE at 0.46%. U.S. futures were pointing higher.
- Q2 GDP was revised up to 2.5% from 1.7%; — analysts expected 2.2%.
- Gold and oil futures were all down this morning as fears of an imminent Western strike in Syria were put on hold. December yellow metal contracts were off -0.61% and Brent futures for October declined -0.75%.
- The bloodbath in emerging market currencies temporarily receded Thursday, with India's Rupee recovering 1.6% to 67.66 against the dollar. Turkey's Lira and Indonesia's rupiah gained 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. The Indonesia Central Bank raised interest rates 50 bps to 7%.
- Italy's business confidence index recovered to a near-two-year high, with wholesale demand rising. The survey ticked 92.9 for August against 91.8 prior and 92.5 expected. It's the strongest print since November 2011. Consumer confidence was also higher. Meanwhile, Germany's latest unemployment reading stayed at 6.8%, and the rate of Spanish GDP contraction slowed slightly.
- Bloomberg's Dawn Kopecki reports the Justice Department has joined the SEC in investigating whether JPMorgan illicitly hired candidates merely to gain business from their wealthy family members. She also lays out the broader predicament faced by the firm: "JPMorgan, led by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 57, is contending with criminal investigations of its energy-trading and mortgage-backed securities operations. The firm also faces U.S. probes of its anti-money-laundering safeguards, foreclosures, credit-card collections, and $6.2 billion in losses last year on botched derivatives bets by a U.K. trader known as the London Whale."
- The situation is even uglier at two other financial firms: the CEO of Zurich Insurance resigned this morning after the company's CFO committed suicide. And a Goldman Sachs managing director was indicted yesterday afternoon on rape charges.
- Federal regulators may be ready to settle the proposed US Air-American Airlines merger, Reuters' Diane Bartz reports. " In a document filed jointly by the Justice Department and the two companies on Wednesday, the government said it was "open to a settlement that addresses the anticompetitive harms posed by the merger but have not yet received any such proposal from the defendants."
- The New Zealand government says further testing on dairy giant Fonterra's products thought to contain botulism came up negative. The scare brought import bans from multiple countries and a general scare in the Kiwi economy, which relies heavily on dairy exports.
- Heisman Trophy Winner and Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel's sentence from the NCAA for allegedly taking money for signing autographs? A suspension for the first half of the first game of the season, against Rice.
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