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October 12, 2012
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  Top Stories 
  • U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly drop
    U.S. claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly plunged to a four-year low last week, pulling the more indicative four-week moving average to its lowest level since March. Some observers, however, say the drop may be a statistical fluke. MarketWatch (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. trade gap widens in August
    A 4.1% jump in the U.S. trade deficit in August from July suggests that already-thin U.S. economic growth didn't get any help from the trade sector in the third quarter. The latest trade balance was hurt by rising oil prices and an absence of global demand that reduced exports to their lowest level in six months. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • German institutes raise alarm over ECB bond purchases
    The independence of the European Central Bank is in jeopardy and inflation may be sparked by the ECB's bond-buying plan, warn Germany's four leading economic institutes. Meanwhile, new national figures show inflation in struggling periphery countries outpacing corresponding rates in healthier economies in the eurozone. Reuters (10/11) , The Wall Street Journal (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • EU, U.S. may launch talks on giant trade zone
    A giant trading bloc accounting for half the world's GDP would the objective if the U.S. and EU launch talks next year on free trade. The European Commission is considering whether to propose opening negotiations and will decide on the basis of a report by a joint EU-U.S. panel. Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan) (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • South Korean central bank cuts rates
    As expected, South Korea's central bank has reduced its key interest rates in an attempt to brace the country against a weak market in China and crisis in Europe. "Central banks need to be in an easing mode at least until early next year. We still have a lot of uncertainties centered on the European debt crisis, the U.S. fiscal cliff and China's slowdown," said Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo. Bloomberg Businessweek (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
    European investors took heart from another upbeat U.S. jobs report and a downgrade in Spain's credit rating that raised hopes that Madrid will finally seek a bailout. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended the day 0.79% higher at 270.84. In the U.S., initial enthusiasm over the report on lower jobless benefit claims faded during the session, and the S&P 500 finished virtually unchanged at 1,432.56. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indices. The Wall Street Journal (10/12) , The Wall Street Journal (10/11) , CNNMoney (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian markets trade lower
    Asian investors keyed on lower machinery orders in Japan and a downgrade in Spain's credit rating, causing most markets to finish on the downside. The Nikkei fell 0.58% to 8,546.78, the Kospi was down 0.78% to 1,933.09, the ASX edged 0.16% lower to 4,483.50, and the Hang Seng added 0.38% to 20,999.05. Bloomberg Businessweek (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • South Korean companies' outlook dims
    Leading companies in South Korea have a grimmer assessment of financial conditions in the fourth quarter, with a pessimistic survey index of 86, down from 89 in the preceding quarter. "China's slow growth and a prolonged recession in advanced markets dampen exports and domestic consumption. Under this climate, it is unlikely that local financing conditions will improve for the foreseeable future," commented the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which conducted the business survey. (South Korea) (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • World economists project only modest growth in 2013
    Hundreds of economists surveyed worldwide believe the global economy will improve only slightly next year, with their latest average forecast of 3.4% growth down a bit from a July projection. Separately, a report by HSBC Holdings found that emerging markets suffered more than others in the third quarter from lagging global trade. Reuters (10/11) , China Daily (Beijing) (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  • Taiwan asserts greater opening to outside investment
    Foreign capital, including investment from China, now has a wider opening to Taiwan. In a speech before the Taiwan assembly, President Ma Ying-jeou advocated "normal opening and exceptional control" for foreign investment in general. Minister of Economics Shih Yien-shiang separately noted looser rules and quicker approvals for Chinese investment. China Economic News Service (Taiwan) (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AIA agrees to acquire ING Groep's Malaysia unit
    AIA Group is investing more heavily in Malaysia with its agreement to buy ING Groep's insurance business in the country. "The deal may add around 5% to AIA's earnings per share and shift its business to a higher-growth region," said Arjan van Veen, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group. Bloomberg (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  People & Personalities 
  • Grant Bailey leaving ING Investment Management
    With a reported breakdown in talks between Ameriprise Financial and ING Investment Management for Ameriprise to acquire ING's Asian investment businesses, ING Asia-Pacific chief Grant Bailey is leaving the firm, sources say. Chief Financial Officer Satish Bapat will succeed Bailey. (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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