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90 seconds at 9 am: US stocks down 0.9% as jobless claims rise and consumer confidence weakens; Euro-zone doubts return; Chinese, Euro factory output contracts
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news US stocks fell around 0.9% overnight as doubts arose about the likelihood of more US Federal Reserve money printing and concerns about the Euro-zone's troubles re-emerged.
Also, US jobless claims rose to a one month high and US consumer confidence slumped to its lowest level since January, driven in part by a surge in petrol (gas) prices. New Zealand regular petrol prices hit a record high NZ$2.23/ltr overnight.
Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve St Louis President James Bullard poured cold water on the suggestion the US Federal Reserve should launch a third round of quantitative easing or money printing to buy government bonds, saying better figures since the last Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting in early August made minutes released yesterday from the meeting less relevant. The minutes reported the FOMC was considering more stimulus 'fairly soon'.
However, US Federal Reserve Chicago President Charles Evans called for monetary policy easings around the world, including in China.
Markets are in a holding pattern awaiting US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech to the Jackson Hole symposium for central bankers in Wyoming on August 31, followed soon after by policy making meetings and decisions on possible money printing by both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
Concerns are also growing about Europe's apparent indecisiveness and division over how to solve the Euro-zone crisis. Spain has yet to formally request a bailout, which is seen as the necessary trigger for mass ECB bond buying to bring down Southern European bond yields. Reuters reported however, that a Spanish bailout request was imminent.
Elsewhere, French President Francois Hollande is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weekend for the first time in weeks to discuss the crisis and the apparent plan by the ECB for massive bond buying. They are also expected to discuss an extension of Greece's bailout plan. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has already indicated Germany is against any extension of Greek's bailout.
The renewed concerns about the Eurozone came as the Markit flash PMI for the Euro-zone indicated a 0.5% contraction in Euro-zone GDP in the September quarter. See more here at Reuters.
In China, the HSBC Markit flash PMI found factory output there would contract for a 10th month and at the fastest rate since November. See more here on Bloomberg.
(Updated with more detail)