Moody's Affirms US Rating, Warns Of Downgrade (Bloomberg)
The outlook for the U.S. grade is now negative, Moody’s said in a statement yesterday...The compromise “is a positive step toward reducing the future path of the deficit and the debt levels,” Steven Hess, senior credit officer at Moody’s in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We do think more needs to be done to ensure a reduction in the debt to GDP ratio, for example, going forward.” A decision on the rating may be made within two years, or “considerably sooner,” according to Hess. Fitch’s David Riley said that while the rating may be cut in the medium term, its risks in the near-term “are not high.” The company expects to complete the ratings review by this month. “Although the agreement is a good first step in adjusting the fiscal challenges that the U.S. faces, it is just a first step,” Riley, Fitch’s London-based head of sovereign ratings, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
China Ratings Agency Downgrades US Debt (CNBC)
China's Dagong Global has cut the credit rating on U.S. sovereign debt to A from A+, Chen Jialin, general manager of the international department at the firm told CNBC on Wednesday. The agency has also put the U.S. on negative outlook.
New Waves Of Layoffs Suggests Jobs Report May Disappoint (CNBC)
Economists expect about 85,000 non farm payrolls and a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, when the monthly employment report is released Friday. But some traders see that number as too high, and there are whispers the number could be flat. RBS economist Michelle Girard said she expects 75,000 jobs were added, but she concedes that number could be too high. Just 18,000 non farm payrolls were added in June, and 25,000 were added in May. "I just think there was very little reason for people to be hiring in July, if they weren't hiring in May or June. I don't think they'd be inspired to hire in July. The degree of uncertainty seemed greater," said Girard.
West Reading police sergeant charged in stun-gun incidents (ReadingEagle)
A West Reading police sergeant was charged Tuesday with using a stun gun on three people, including shooting his father with the nonlethal weapon and posting a video of the incident on YouTube...Beighley shot his father, James Beighley, with a Taser he had taken home against department rules. Beighley, who is married with two children, was living at his father's house in Topton between July and October 2010. Beighley was on the phone with his brother, Daniel Beighley of California, when he heard his father coming up the steps. He hung up the phone and shot his father with the stun gun as his father opened the bedroom door. Matt Beighley said he videotaped the act with his Blackberry and emailed a copy to his brother, then posted it to YouTube.
Berlusconi to speak as Italy market worries mount (Reuters)
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi speaks to parliament on Wednesday to try to calm fears over escalating market turmoil that has brought Italy to the edge of a Greek-style financial crisis. Italy's Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti met the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, for emergency talks as the yields on Italian and Spanish 10-year bonds flirted with new 14-year highs and banking shares tumbled.
BofA In Talks For Foreclosure Settlement (Reuters)
Bank of America has told state and federal officials that it wants protection against future litigation relating to mortgage servicing and in exchange is willing to reduce the amount owed by some of its troubled borrowers, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the talks. As per the discussions, BofA wants the principal amount to be $1 million or less in certain geographic areas, a person told the Journal. A reduction would apply to the bank's own mortgages and those its services for private investors, the paper said.
Mormons Duck Political Duel (WSJ)
The Mormon Church is preparing for the 2012 elections with a campaign message of its own: It has nothing to do with orchestrating or promoting the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., both Mormons.
Risk Aversion Pushes Gold Higher (WSJ)
"Longer-term, gold is likely to be supported by uncertainty in the U.S. fiscal plan—agreeing a sizeable deficit reduction is looking an increasingly remote prospect—and the ongoing debt crisis in the euro zone marked by the widening spreads on peripheral bonds," said Credit Argicole analyst Robin Bhar. Given that there is little reason for sentiment towards the financial markets to turn positive, gold's ascent looks assured for some time to come. Although U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a bill raising the nation's debt ceiling, it still faces downgrade risks, growth risks, and the looming prospect of a third round of quantitative easing.
Blackberry Readies iPhone Challenge (WSJ)
Early Wednesday, RIM was expected to roll out five new smartphones, including its first all-touch screen phone. RIM executives said the phones will be available in stores world-wide within weeks, offered by more than 200 carriers. But it's unclear the new devices will be able to deliver the sort of buzz—and sales—that will help BlackBerry catch up quickly to offerings by Apple Inc. and Google Inc. RIM, which once dominated the sector, has taken more than a year to release a new model and is now a distant third place in North America. The Canadian company's stock has fallen 68% year-to-date and on Tuesday closed at $24.15—near its 52-week low.
Bwahahahaha, Newt Edition (NYT)
Paul Krugman: "The former Speaker says, "This is a Paul Krugman presidency,” Gingrich told Bill O’Reilly. “[Obama] believes that stuff. He actually believes in left-wing economic ideas. The only problem with them is that they don’t work.” Yes, I’m secretly giving Barack marching orders, and only pretending to be deeply frustrated by his actions and rhetoric. Incidentally, those “left-wing economic ideas” are Economics 101; and try stacking up my economic predictions over the past few years against any of Gingrich’s favorites."
Man pleads guilty in puffer fish toxin case (Daily Herald)
A Lake in the Hills man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he acquired lethal puffer fish toxin in what authorities said was a scheme to kill his wife. Edward Bachner, 38, of the 5700 block of McKenzie Drive, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud related to purchasing a $20 million life insurance policy on his wife, Rebecca, and to filing a fraudulent $111,000 federal tax return for 2005...After the hearing ended, Bachner turned and smiled to relatives in the audience. Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Michael Gillespie said Bachner’s wife, as well as parents, his brother and his sister, were in the audience. “They were there in support,” he said.