Models relax before presenting creations from the Michael Kors Spring/Summer 2014 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 11, 2013.
Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.26% on the news of flat machine orders; Korea's KOSPI up 0.01%; and Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 0.07%. European markets were all down, and U.S. futures were pointing lower.
- Bad numbers came out of Europe today, with industrial output in Italy falling 1.1% in July. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase. The figure fell 1.5% across the Eurozone, again worse than the 0.3% expected decline.
- Greek unemployment continues to rise, climbing to 27.9% in June from 27.6% the month prior, according to the country's statistics service ELSTAT. Youth unemployment is once again a particularly bad problem in Greece, with the country's 15-24 year old crowd now at 58.8% unemployment.
- Australian unemployment also rose, to 5.8% from 5.7% the month previous. The slowdown in China has driven down commodities prices and forced the closure of some mines in Australia, MarketWatch's James Glynn reports. But the newly-elected conservative government has promised to cut taxes, which has bolstered business and consumer confidence.
- The G20 group of major economies saw a GDP boost of 0.9% in the second quarter vs. 0.6% in the quarter previous, according to an OECD survey. Countries like Korea, Indonesia, and Turkey helped the growth figure, while Canada and Mexico dragged it down.
- This morning at 8:30 we'll get initial U.S. jobless claims, the last big labor market indicator before the FOMC meeting next week. Economists are expecting 330,000, up from 323,000 previously.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has written a new op-ed in the New York Times directly urging the American people against a strike in Syria. Putin warns that an attack would escalate the situation against the world's wishes, and that chemical weapons attacks were carried out by rebels hoping to spark international intervention, not Syrian President Assad.
- Japan is thinking of injecting $50 billion in economic stimulus to "cushion the blow" of the national sales-tax increase meant to reduce the government's huge debt, Reuters' Yoshifumi Takemoto and Yuko Yoshikawa report. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed his cabinet to come up with a stimulus plan to help offset the growth-damaging tax hike, from 5% to 8%, planned for April.
- Bucking analyst expectations, Bank Indonesia unexpectedly raised the country's benchmark interest rate to 7.25% from 7% in an effort to defend the rupiah, which has been getting demolished lately like many other emerging market currencies.
- "Activist investor" Carl Icahn took to CNBC's Closing Bell yesterday to declare his position in Apple, which announced two new iPhones yesterday. "We look at the markets and look for no-brainers and I think Apple is just a no-brainer," Icahn said. The hedge funder, who has been vocal about the company on Twitter, said he bought "quite a bit of the stock."
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