Top Headlines - part 70

Financial Instability Continues in the EU as ECB Lending Spikes

Financial Instability Continues in the EU as ECB Lending Spikes

FINANCE

  • ECB lending at 2%, much higher than the 0.74% paid for marketplace funding
  • Germany proposes more ECB bond buys, sanctions for overspending
  • IMF to protect EU funds, provide $270 billion to EU

The European Central Bank is lending money to banks at the highest rate since March, signaling tight funding at the market level. Lending has spiked to $11.59 billion, worrying traders who have not experienced such an increase since Irish banks needed central bank funding.

The price to borrow from the ECB is 2%, a figure much higher than the 0.74% paid for marketplace funding. When limited credit availability forces banks to use central banks, their costs add pressure on already vulnerable banks. One trader explained to the Financial Times that for every 40 large banks seeking funding, there is only one large corporate bank willing to lend.

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EU Manufacturing Drops, Causes Higher Unemployment

EU Manufacturing Drops, Causes Higher Unemployment

ECONOMY

  • European PMI falls to 46.4, lowest rate since 2009
  • Manufacturers cut jobs due to low sales, unemployment rises to 10.3%
  • Czech and British factories slow output, German manufacturing declines
  • Reuters poll: 60% chance of EU recession

Europe's manufacturing sector fell in November at its fastest pace in 28 months, with production and new orders down to levels not seen since the height of the credit crisis in mid-2009.

Markit's, a financial services firm, Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the Eurozone fell from 47.1 to 46.4 in November, marking the lowest PMI since the summer of 2009. A PMI under 50 marks a contraction, while anything above suggests growth. This is the Eurozone's fourth consecutive month below 50.

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Trade Panel Presses Forward in Investigation on Chinese Solar Imports

Trade Panel Presses Forward in Investigation on Chinese Solar Imports

WORLD

  • US International Trade Commission votes to investigate Chinese solar imports and impact on US solar industry
  • Investigation may led to Chinese solar imports being heavily charged
  • Democratic lawmakers urge Barack Obama to further probe Chinese solar imports

Members of the Washington-based US International Trade Commission have voted unanimously to move forward in an investigation that may end in Chinese solar imports being subject to heavy tariffs. This vote follows a former complaint in mid-October by Solar World, a German-based company with US branches, calling for heavy countervailing and antidumping duties on Chinese imports.

Solar World claims the Chinese government unfairly boosts solar cell exports through tactics like currency manipulation, preferential loans, cash grants and tax incentives, and proposes heavy importing duties to counteract the alleged negative impact of Chinese imports on the US solar industry.

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Samsung Win: US Refuses Apple Request to Block Galaxy Products

Samsung Win: US Refuses Apple Request to Block Galaxy Products

BUSINESS

  • Apple injunction request on Galaxy line rejected by US District Court
  • Apple, Samsung have 30 patent suits against each other
  • Samsung posted record profit in Q3 2011

A US District Court has rejected Apple’s bid to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy 4G smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US as part of an ongoing patent squabble between the two companies.

The South Korean manufacturer’s triumph follows a ruling from an Australian court last month that lifted a ban on Galaxy products in the country. However, the court once again pushed back the release date to give Apple time to appeal.

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E-Commerce: Walmart Launches 'Shopycat' Gift App on Facebook

E-Commerce: Walmart Launches 'Shopycat' Gift App on Facebook

BUSINESS

  • Walmart launches Shopycat, its first social shopping app affiliated with Facebook
  • Walmart's internet sales are estimated to be 2% of total revenue
  • Walmart to enter India’s $450 billion retail market

With global online retail industry sales up over 13% from last year, Walmart Stores Inc. is looking to boost its online presence with the launch of Shopycat, a Facebook application that offers gift recommendations from Walmart.com and 20 other leading e-commerce retailers.

Currently, Walmart's internet sales are estimated to be 2% of its total revenue.

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Amazon Under Fire Over Kindle Privacy Practices

Amazon Under Fire Over Kindle Privacy Practices

BUSINESS

  • US congressman requests further information on Kindle Fire data collection
  • Device’s browser stores user data to speed up surfing
  • Kindle Fire sales high on Black Friday

Amazon is under increasing scrutiny over privacy protection with US lawmakers requesting more detailed information on how the company’s Kindle Fire tablet device collects user data.

Senior Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey said that an October letter issued by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos failed to address questions on what the company intended to do with the large quantities of information stored by its Silk internet browser.

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Chrome Catches Up With Firefox in The Web Browser Market

Chrome Catches Up With Firefox in The Web Browser Market

BUSINESS

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer continues to account for 50% of browser market
  • Success of Chrome thanks to aggressive release cycle
  • Apple's Safari dominates mobile browser market

Analysts may disagree on the precise numbers, but one thing is clear: Google's Chrome web browser is fast catching up on the open-source Firefox browser produced by the Mozilla Foundation and will soon become the second most popular browser on the web.

Indeed, according to some researchers, it may even have done so already. Recently published figures from Irish firm StatCounter put Chrome in second place, with a market share of 25.7% compared to 25.3% for Firefox.

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Honda Raises Recall Number With Ongoing Airbag Issues

Honda Raises Recall Number With Ongoing Airbag Issues

BUSINESS

  • 917,267 vehicles added to the Honda recall list, total recalls top 2.7 million
  • Models produced up to a decade ago recalled
  • Over 90% of faulty vehicles shipped to US, new recall expected to take heavy toll

Honda is expanding its worldwide recall for airbag defects in popular models like the Accord and the Civic. Japan’s third-largest automaker has added another 917,267 vehicles to the recall across 10 models produced as far back as 2001 and 2002, Honda spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto said in a statement.

The company first began recalling vehicles for the airbag flaw in 2008, with some 950,000 models returned over the next two years. The new additions take the total to over 2.7 million – the largest recall for Honda for an individual defect.

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Generics Hit Shelves After Pfizer’s Patent For Cholesterol Drug Lipitor Expires

Generics Hit Shelves After Pfizer’s Patent For Cholesterol Drug Lipitor Expires

BUSINESS

  • Pfizer’s Lipitor patent expired November 30
  • Watson Pharmaceuticals first company authorized to sell generic version of Lipitor
  • Pfizer could lose $6 billion in revenue in 2012, hopes to make $4 billion from new drugs

Pfizer Inc’s U.S. patent on the cholesterol drug Lipitor expired November 30, allowing competitors to begin manufacturing and distributing generic versions of the drug. Two companies have already expressed interested in doing so.

Watson Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal with Pfizer to market and distribute a generic version of Lipitor, which is manufactured by Pfizer. Pfizer will receive a portion of the net sales, and Watson began shipping its drug on November 30. The agreement expires in November 2016.

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SolarCity Receives Private Funding to Begin “SolarStrong”

SolarCity Receives Private Funding to Begin “SolarStrong”

BUSINESS

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch approves $350 million loan for new SolarStrong project
  • SolarCity received 2011 Green Jobs Award for creating nearly 1,400 green jobs in 2011
  • Funding announcement marks big strides in solar energy since Solyndra scandal

Despite being denied a loan guarantee from the federal government, SolarCity has been approved to borrow up to $350 million from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to support its $1 billion solar panel project destined for 120,000 military homes and office buildings over the next five years

Because of the loan guarantee loss, the project - called Solar Strong - now has higher financing costs, which has in part led SolarCity to downsize from its original 160,000 home estimate.

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