Bernard Hickey details the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with Bank of New Zealand, including news that US jobless claims fell 4,000 to 364,000 last week, surprising economists who had expected it to rise to 380,000.
This sign of resilience in the US economy helped boost US stocks around 0.6% by late trade. European stocks also rose around 1% overnight. See more here at Bloomberg.
The New Zealand dollar was firm this morning around 77.5 USc in line with the stronger overseas stock markets, despite ultimately disappointing GDP figures yesterday. See more here in BNZ's Currencies report.
However, revised figures out for the September quarter found the world's largest economy grew at an annualised rate of 1.8%, which was less than expected.
Also, Fitch Ratings warned it may cut America's AAA credit rating because of rapidly rising US government debt.
Fitch said the government would need to find US$3.5 trillion of budget savings in coming years to stabilise the US debt to GDP ratio at 90%. Zerohedge reported yesterday the ratio had risen above the key 100% seen as dangerous for any economy to rise beyond. See more here at Bloomberg.
Elsewhere, Bloomberg reports that Greek creditors are rebelling against a plan that would effectively increase the size of the losses they will have to take on their holdings of Greek government debt to 65% from 50%.
This ratchets up the level of tension around Greece's precarious finances and will complicate already fraught efforts to solve the European debt crisis.
Closer to home, receiver KordaMentha announced last night it had set a January 31 deadline for Chinese bidder Shanghai Pengxin to finalise its purchase of Crafar Farms. The bid has yet to receive approval from the Overseas Investment Office.
Stuff reports there is a fresh 'mystery' bidder for Crafar Farms that wants to obtain foreign funding.
Finally, we at Interest.co.nz wish everyone a Merry Christmas and pass on our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season to all, particularly all the good people at Bank of New Zealand who have supported the 90 seconds at 9 am video over the last two years. This is our last 90 seconds at 9 am for 2011. We resume on January 9.
For your viewing pleasure and for those hoping for a White Christmas in New Zealand, here is Alex Tarrant's video of snow falling outside the Reserve Bank.