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Sep 11, 2013

NYT | Global Update September 11, 2013: Planned as Call to Act, Obama's Speech Became a Plea for Time

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
September 11, 2013
Compiled 20:50 GMT

Global Update


Planned as Call to Act, Obama's Speech Became a Plea for Time

Among members of Congress and in world capitals, President Obama's speech on Syria offered some relief about a possible diplomatic solution, but few reassurances.

U.N. Rights Panel Cites Evidence of War Crimes by Both Sides in Syria

Investigators say government forces and rebel fighters have killed, tortured and raped on a huge scale.

Obama Delays Syria Strike to Focus on a Russian Plan

President Obama said he would pursue a "diplomatic path" on the Syria crisis even while making the moral case for punishing the country for its deadly use of chemical weapons.
Fashion & Style

Video: New York Fashion Week: Elements | Mood

A thematic visual diary of New York Fashion Week inspired by the essential building blocks of fashion and style.

Op-Ed Contributor

Syria: Let the Whole World Vote

The U.N. General Assembly could serve as a global grand jury to condemn the use of chemical weapons.

Chemical Disarmament Hard Even in Peacetime

Large numbers of foreign troops would almost certainly be needed to safeguard inspectors working in the midst of the civil war.

U.N. Guilty of 'Collective Failure' in Syria, Leader Says

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, spoke as diplomatic energy was intensifying over a Russian proposal to secure Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

An Unlikely Evolution, From Casual Proposal to Possible Resolution

A seemingly offhand remark by Secretary of State John Kerry actually grew out of talks between Russia and the United States, and it allowed Vladimir V. Putin to seize control of the Syria debate.

Verizon Set for $49 Billion Debt Sale

Verizon Communications prepared to sell $49 billion worth of bonds on Wednesday in what would be the largest investment grade corporate bond sale ever, trumping the previous record set by Apple's $17 billion bond sale in April.

Court Says Privacy Case Can Proceed vs. Google

A unanimous decision found little merit in Google's legal maneuverings, stating at one critical point that the company was basically inventing meanings in an effort to declare its actions legal.

The Surprise in Apple's Cheaper iPhone? In China, It's Expensive

While many analysts had expected Apple to price the iPhone 5C at about $400, it will actually go for significantly more than that in China, where the company is struggling.

Apple Unveils Faster iPhone, and a Cheaper One, Too

The lower-cost model, the iPhone 5C (the "C" for color), comes in a plastic case and has the same features as the now-outdated iPhone 5.

Machines Made to Know You, by Touch, Voice, Even by Heart

How can Web sites, along with smartphones, refrigerators and television sets, verify your identity? Researchers are proposing new tools to leave passwords in the dustbin of history.

With iTunes Radio, Apple Takes Aim at Pandora

The service could pose a threat to Pandora Media, which dominates Internet radio.

Argentina Should Loom Large at 2014 World Cup

The team is different from the one that got bounced out of the 2010 tournament in South Africa, and it no longer depends mostly on Lionel Messi, its biggest star.
United States 2, Mexico 0

U.S. Wins and Secures Spot in World Cup

With goals by Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan, the United States beat Mexico before 25,584 ecstatic fans and qualified for its seventh straight World Cup.

Talk of a Cooler 2022 World Cup Heats Up

Sepp Blatter, the top official at FIFA, has signaled that he supports the controversial decision to move the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the heat of summer to a cooler time of year.

Court Upbraided N.S.A. on Its Use of Call-Log Data

Secret documents showed that the National Security Agency was reprimanded for violating its own rules and misleading the nation's intelligence court about how it used data.

Missouri Legislature Fails to Override Tax-Cut Veto

Gov. Jay Nixon had argued that the cuts would have depleted state financing of education, mental health and other vital services.

Colorado Lawmakers Ousted in Recall Vote Over Gun Law

Two Democrats who supported tough gun-control laws were recalled in what had become a proxy battle, with outside support from advocates on both sides.
Op-Ed Contributor

Syria: Let the Whole World Vote

The U.N. General Assembly could serve as a global grand jury to condemn the use of chemical weapons.
Op-Ed Columnist

Who Do You Trust?

Does the president from Red Square really want to rescue the president who stumbled over the Red Line?
Op-Ed Columnist

Threaten to Threaten

Behind the incredibly messy and confusing situation with Syria.

DealBook P.M. Edition September 11, 2013: Verizon Set for $49 Billion Debt Sale

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Verizon Set for $49 Billion Debt Sale Verizon Communications prepared to sell $49 billion worth of bonds on Wednesday in what would be the largest investment grade corporate bond sale ever, trumping the previous record set by Apple's $17 billion bond sale in April.
    After Goldman and a Book, Greg Smith Emerges to Aid Regulators Greg Smith met with officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission in August to talk about the Volcker Rule, Some commentators have expressed skepticism about the value he could add to the debate.
    Deal Professor: Google's Stock Settlement May Not Do Much for Shareholders Google's settlement of a shareholder lawsuit will most likely clear the way for the company to issue new nonvoting Class C shares. The move will perpetuate the control of Google by co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, but may not be in shareholders' best interests, says Steven M. Davidoff.
    Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York's top financial regulator.
    Indian Tribes Press Their Online Loan Case Against New York Two tribes are arguing in Federal District Court in Manhattan that New York's top financial regulator overstepped his jurisdictional bounds in his efforts to end their online lending operations in the state.
    Vivendi to Weigh Splitting Up The French conglomerate Vivendi said on Wednesday that its board was considering cleaving itself in two, months after it struck deals to sell big holdings in the video game maker Activision Blizzard and a Moroccan phone company.
    The documentary
    9/11 Through the Emotional Lens of Cantor Fitzgerald "Out of the Clear Blue Sky" weaves together interviews with Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald; family members of those who were killed on Sept. 11; home video; and rarely seen clips of Cantor executives from the months after the attacks.
    Sotheby's to Weigh Financial Moves Amid Investor Pressure The company said that it was considering moves like a share repurchase or raising its dividend, taking into account a number of factors, including taking on new debt, the value of its real estate and possible tax issues.
    Money Manager Takes Big Stake in News Corp. Southeastern Asset Management, the money manager that fought the buyout of Dell, has taken a 12 percent voting stake in the News Corporation, making it the second-largest investor behind Rupert Murdoch.
    Deutsche Bank Plans to Extend Contract of Co-C.E.O. Deutsche Bank announced on Wednesday that it planned to extend the tenure of its co-chief executive, Jürgen Fitschen, in a move aimed at pre-empting leadership questions at Germany's largest financial institution.
    Vodafone's Bid for Kabel Deutschland Awaits Shareholder Approval The offer has the backing of Kabel Deutschland's board, but Vodafone appeared to be far short of the 75 percent of shareholder votes required before Wednesday's deadline.
    Economic Reports Data to be released includes weekly initial jobless claims and the import price index for August (Thursday); and the producer price index for August, retail sales for August, and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for September (Friday).
    Corporate Earnings Companies scheduled to release quarterly results include Kroger (Thursday); and Pier 1 Imports (Friday).
    In the United States On Thursday, Dell shareholders are set to vote on the sweetened $13.88-a-share buyout offer by the company's founder, Michael S. Dell, left, and Silver Lake Partners.
    Overseas On Thursday, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, will speak at a conference in Latvia, while the Bank of England governor, Mark J. Carney, will testify about monetary policy that day at a parliamentary hearing. On Friday, the European Union finance ministers will gather in Vilnius, Lithuania, to discuss a proposal to build a banking union. 
    Quotation of the Day
    "Denial will never ever leave you if you are directly affected by this."
    David Eagan, who lost two daughters on Sept. 11, in a documentary on Cantor Fitzgerald.

MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report September 11, 2013: Dow rallies, but Nasdaq down with Apple.

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 

NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks tilted mostly higher on Wednesday, with the Dow industrials tallying a third day of triple-digit gains, as reduced worry about Syria countered Apple Inc.’s sharp drop. 

President Barack Obama’s decision to delay military action against Syria eased concerns, yet the issue remained on the back burner. “If something were to go wrong, we would be back to focusing on Syria,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital

Wall Street downgrades Apple
What’s News: Apple gets drubbing on concerns about the pricing strategy of the iPhone 5C in China. NSA admits privacy protection violations. Gogo unveils new system to speed up wi-fi on airplanes. Joanne Po reports. Photo: Apple 

Erasing losses and extending gains into a seventh session, the S&P 500 index SPX +0.31% added 5.14 points, or 0.3%, to end at 1,689.13, with consumer staples the best performing of its 10 major industry groups.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.11% lost 4.01 points, or 0.1%, to 3,725.01.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.89% rose 135.54 points, or 0.9%, to 15,326.60, with International Business Machines Corp. IBM +2.20% pacing blue-chip gains, up 2.2%, a day after agreeing to sell its customer care outsourcing business for $505 million to Synnex Corp. SNX +20.07% .
Unlike the S&P and the Nasdaq, the Dow does not include Apple AAPL +0.33% , shares of which fell 5.4% a day after the consumer-technology company announced two new models, with analysts criticizing the cost of its lower-priced iPhone, saying it would prove too pricey to succeed in emerging markets.
At the start of Wednesday’s session, Apple’s weighting in the Nasdaq Composite was 8.3%, making its impact the largest of its components, according to Nasdaq OMX. 

Watch Apple, Men's Wearhouse
WSJ's Steven Russolillo joins the News Hub to discuss three stocks to watch. 

Verizon Communications Inc. VZ +0.00%  gained 0.1% after the telecommunications giant and Dow component launched the biggest corporate bond sale on record, selling as much as $49 billion in bonds to help finance its $130 billion purchase of Vodafone Group PLC’s UK:VOD +1.08%   VOD +0.50%  stake in Verizon Wireless. 

For every seven stocks falling, roughly eight gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 657 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 3.1 billion. 

In an address from Washington Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said he was putting off a request that Congress authorize U.S. strikes targeting the Syrian regime after a deadly chemical-weapons attack last month. Obama said his administration will pursue a Russian proposal for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community. 

“Stock markets are ready to pause their recent rally as investors digest the diplomatic solution proposed over dismantling chemical weapons in Syria. The stock market has a way of discounting developing geopolitical situations quickly,” Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Companies, wrote in emailed commentary. 

A new yellow iPhone 5C at Apple’s event in Beijing.
“The diplomatic pause by the U.S. is bullish for risk-based assets including stocks, but the risk of unusual or unexpected twists in the process remain, as suggested last night by President Obama,” Dickson added.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note 10_YEAR +0.07% used in determining mortgage rates and other consumer loans fell 6 basis points to 2.908%, while the dollar DXY -0.04%  fell against other currencies.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery GCZ3 +0.07% fell 20 cents to settle at $1,363.80 an ounce. 

The cost of oil also fluctuated, with crude futures for October delivery CLV3 +0.13% up 17 cents, or 0.2%, to end at $107.56 a barrel. 

Markets offered little reaction to Commerce-Department data showing wholesale inventories and sales both rose 0.1% in July. 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

CNBC | Wall Street at Close Report September 11, 2013: Stocks close near highs, SandP 500 logs 7-day rally; Apple slumps 5%

The Dow and SandP 500 finished near session highs Wednesday, with the S&P logging its seventh-consecutive session in positive territory. But the Nasdaq ended lower, dragged by Apple's sharp decline.
(Read more: After-hours buzz: Pandora, Qualcomm, Apple & more)
  Name Price   Change %Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 15326.60
135.54 0.89%
SandP 500 S&P 500 Index 1689.13
5.14 0.31%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 3725.01
-4.01 -0.11% 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 135.54 points to finish at 153,26.60, logging a three-day win streak, boosted by IBM and Disney. 
The SandP 500 climbed 5.14 points to close at 1,689.13. But the Nasdaq slid 4.01 points to end at 3,725.01. So far this month, all three major averages are up more than 3 percent each.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 14.

Among the key SandP sectors, health care and consumer staples led the gainers, while utilities slipped.

Investors will be looking ahead to next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting amid expectations that the central bank could announce a tapering of its bond-buying program.

"The Fed may still be quite dovish and give the market a taper that's on the lighter side—the consensus is around $10 billion," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "If the Fed comes in with something much stronger than what the markets anticipate, you're going to see Treasury yield climb and that could create a bit of uncertainty in the equity market."

President Obama addressed the nation in a televised speech from the White House on Tuesday evening, saying he would work with allies to force Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. His comments came after Damascus accepted Moscow's proposal to hand over its weapon stockpile in a bid to avoid a U.S.-led attack. Obama voiced skepticism the strategy would work, however, and urged war-weary Americans to support the use of military force if necessary.

Apple tumbled more than 5 percent a day after the tech giant unveiled two new iPhones. Disappointment over the pricing of the lower-costing iPhone 5C weighed on the company's shares, according to market watchers who said the price tag may be too high and may limit sales in key emerging markets.

BofA Merrill and Credit Suisse cut their ratings on the stock to "neutral," while at least four brokerages lifted their price targets.
 (Read more: Would you buy the new low cost iPhone?)

Morgan Stanley edged higher after UBS upgraded the bank to a "buy" rating with a $33 price target, citing its increasingly wealth management-driven business model. Meanwhile, the brokerage downgraded BlackRock to a "neutral" rating, with a $280 target.

Verizon Communications officially launched a massive bond sale, offering $49 billion worth of debt in the biggest-ever corporate issue on record. The deal tops Apple's previous record of a $17-billion offering back in May. The telecoms giant will use the proceeds to replace a bridge loan used to finance its acquisition of Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless.

On the economic front, mortgage applications tumbled last week as rates hit their highest for the year, with refinancing activity dropping to its lowest in more than four years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Wholesale inventories ticked up 0.1 percent in July, according to the Commerce Department, after slipping 0.2 percent in June. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a gain of 0.3 percent.
The government auctioned $21 billion in 10-year notes with a high yield of 2.946 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.86, compared to a recent average of 2.73.

"Bottom line, outside of Syria, we know the most important short term focus of the market is next week's FOMC meeting and we will likely get a taper but only $10 billion to $15 billion," said Peter Boockvar, managing director at The Lindsey Group. "At this reduced level, the sharp increase in interest rates over the past few months I continue to believe has priced in this Fed move and this good auction result today reflects that. This said, the QE taper is out of the bag and Treasury rallies should be sold."  
The Treasury is set to auction $13 billion in 30-year bonds on Thursday.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter:

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin September 11, 2013

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Tuesday, 11 September

London Market Report
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Markets were rangebound on Wednesday but managed to eke out small gains by the close of trade as traders digested ongoing developments in Syria and a fall in unemployment in the UK.

The FTSE 100, which swung between gains and losses for most of the day, finished just 4.44 points higher at 6,588.43 - this was its highest closing price since August 13th when it ended the day at 6,611.94.

The STOXX Europe 600 index meanwhile rose to a five-year high today, gaining 0.4% to 310.88 – its highest level since June 2008.

Global stocks rose strongly on Tuesday after Syriaaccepted a Russian proposal to hand over all chemical weapons to international control in an attempt to avoid US military action.

In a nationally televised speech last night, US President Barack Obama asked Congress to delay a vote on military action against Bashar al-Assad's regime in light of recent diplomatic developments. He said that the Russian initiative "has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force".

“The fact remains that the congressional vote on military action is merely delayed rather than ruled out,” said Brenda Kelly, Senior Market Strategist from IG.

UK jobless rate edges lower

Supporting stocks this morning was a fall in the UK unemployment rate from 7.8% to 7.7% in the three months to July, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of people claiming jobless benefits fell by 32,600 in August compared to a revised fall of 36,300 in July, the biggest decline since June 1997. Economists had forecast a drop of 21,000.

Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney has vowed that interest rates would remain at a record low of 0.5% as long as the unemployment rate holds above 7%.

Analyst Sasha Nugent from Caxton FX said that the decent report will "most definitely cause the market to question BoE’s policy ahead of tomorrow’s Inflation Report. All figures are pointing to the fact that maybe the market is right, the BoE may have to raise rates sooner than they think."

Speaking this afternoon, Monetary Policy Committee member David Miles struck a dovish tone as he attempted to downplay tightening fears in the aftermath of the data. He said that the recovery may be in progress but assured that it is only just starting.

FTSE 100: ARM, Glencore lead the risers

Leading the risers today was chip designer ARM Holdings after key customer Apple unveiled two new iPhone models. The phones use a new 64-bit processor, which analysts believe will equate to an increased royalty rate to ARM than the 32-bit previously used.

Glencore Xstrata was continuing to perform well after yesterday raising its target for expected synergies post-merger and cutting capex guidance. Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Jefferies all raised their price target for the stock today with the latter saying that it remains "one of our top picks".

Heading the other way were Admiral, G4S, Hargreaves Lansdown, Land Securities and Standard Life after going ex-dividend, meaning that from today investors will not be able to benefit from each companies' latest dividend payments.

Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread was extending losses after falling sharply on Tuesday as it announced a slowdown in second-quarter growth. Weighing on the stock this morning was a downgrade by JPMorgan Cazenove to 'neutral' as the bank said the shares are now "fully valued" after their recent 25% outperformance of the UK market over the past year.

The same bank also cut its rating for BSkyB to 'neutral', causing the pay-TV and broadband group to fall this morning.

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher, owner of B&Q and Screwfix, declined after reporting a 1.6% fall in first-half profits as it blamed depressed consumer confidence and cold weather.

FTSE 100 - RisersARM Holdings (ARM) 986.50p +4.84%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 339.00p +3.12%
Experian (EXPN) 1,189.00p +2.24%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,073.00p +1.51%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,651.00p +1.29%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,619.00p +1.28%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 210.15p +1.08%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 297.20p +0.92%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,161.50p +0.89%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,486.00p +0.81%

FTSE 100 - FallersAdmiral Group (ADM) 1,227.00p -4.14%
Kingfisher (KGF) 408.50p -2.74%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 75.99p -2.58%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,325.00p -2.43%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 312.10p -2.41%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,618.00p -2.06%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,154.00p -2.04%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,805.00p -2.01%
G4S (GFS) 254.30p -1.93%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,020.00p -1.92%

FTSE 250 - Risers888 Holdings (888) 161.60p +8.09%
Perform Group (PER) 547.50p +3.79%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 235.10p +2.93%
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 98.70p +2.60%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 759.50p +2.57%
Grainger (GRI) 178.90p +2.29%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 170.00p +2.16%
Carillion (CLLN) 318.00p +2.15%
UBM (UBM) 743.00p +2.13%
Devro (DVO) 336.20p +2.03%

FTSE 250 - Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 110.20p -4.67%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 317.10p -4.57%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 648.50p -3.21%
Synthomer (SYNT) 242.00p -2.89% Group (MONY) 163.70p -2.85%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,140.00p -2.64%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 28.21p -2.59%
Polymetal International (POLY) 736.50p -2.58%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,369.00p -2.49%
Temple Bar Inv Trust (TMPL) 1,191.00p -2.46%

FTSE 100EuronextDax perfCAC 40
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- US delays vote on Syria military action
- US wholesale inventories and MBA mortgage data
- UK unemployment rate falls
- Italy to vote on Berlusconi ousting next week

FTSE 100: 0.07%
DAX: 0.58%
CAC 40: 0.06%
FTSE MIB: 1.33%
IBEX 35: 0.84%
Stoxx 600: 0.35%

European stocks bounced up after the US delayed a vote on a military strike in Syria.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday night said he will pursue Russia’s proposal to have Syria relinquish its chemical weapons to international control.

Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s government welcomed the recommendation.

However, Obama maintained that the US must take action, if needed, in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians on August 21st.

He said it was “too early to tell whether this offer will succeed”, adding that any agreement must verify that Assad keeps its promise.

Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari Research, said: “The only question now is whether Assad will go along with the proposal, or whether this is, as some suspect, just a tactic to delay the vote in Congress.

“Whichever it is, the markets are liking it. The news that Obama has asked Congress to hold off on voting on military action spurred on gains in US and Asian equities overnight.”

Ishaq Siddiqi, Market Strategist at ETX Capital, added that the potential Federal Reserve tapering of stimulus remains the narrative driving price-action.

The Fed will announce whether it determines the economy and jobs market has picked up enough to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases at the next policy meeting on September 17th to 18th.

Also in the US, wholesale inventories rose in July by 0.1% after falling 0.1% in June, the Commerce Department revealed, missing the consensus for a 0.3% increase.

A separate report from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association showed a 13.5% fall in mortgage applications for the week ending September 6th, a five-week low. The data pointed to signs that rising mortgage rates are having a material impact on the housing market. The average 30-year conforming fixed mortgage rate climbed to 4.80% from 4.73% a week ago.

UK unemployment rate falls

The UK unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in the three months through July from 7.8% in the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It beat expectations for the rate to hold steady and marked the lowest rate since the quarter through November last year, adding to speculation the Bank of
England (BoE) might raise interest rates sooner than anticipated.

BoE Governor, Mark Carney, has vowed that interest rates would remain at a record low of 0.5% as long as the unemployment rate holds above 7%.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits fell by 32,600 in August compared to a revised fall of 36,300 in July, the biggest decline since June 1997.
Economists had forecast a drop of 21,000.

ARM rises on Apple’s iPhone reveal

British multinational semiconductor and software design company ARM topped the European risers after Apple unveiled its latest iPhone models, which was seen as a potential earnings boost for the firm.

Telefonica edged higher following reports it was considering an offer to help fellow investors in Telecom Italia sell their stakes in the Italian firm.

Kingfisher declined after the home-improvement retailer said first-half adjusted pre-tax profit fell to miss estimates.

Nokia Oyj advanced after Berenberg Bank raised its recommendation on the Finnish phone maker to ‘buy’ from ‘sell’.

Vivendi SA dropped after its biggest shareholder, Vincent Bollore, who was among candidates to fill the role of Chief Executive Officer, said he isn’t seeking a paying position at the French conglomerate.

Campari jumped following reports the alcoholic liquor company opened a new bottling plant in the US.

Brent crude and euro gain

Brent crude futures climbed $0.465 to $111.770 per barrel on the ICE.

The euro rose 0.29% to the 1.3307 US dollar mark.

Italy’s 10-year yield premium rose above that of Spain on Wednesday as investors speculated over the future of the ruling coalition amid reports lawmakers will hold a vote on whether to expel Silvio Berlusconi from the Senate following his conviction for tax fraud.

Italian 10-year yields held at 4.55% on the day while Spanish equivalents were down 1 basis point at 4.52%.

US Market Report
- Citigroup to lay-off 2,200 workers at mortgage unit –Fox Business
- Apple shares off 6 per cent
- Mortgage applications down on the week

Dow Jones Industrials: 0.59%
Nasdaq Composite: -0.27%
S&P 500: 0.06%

US stocks were trading in a mixed fashion following the release of economic data and after the US postponed a vote on whether to launch a military strike against Syria.

A report on wholesale inventories from the Commerce Department showed stockpiles at distributors rose less than forecast.

A separate report from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association revealed a 13.5% drop in mortgage applications for the week ending September 6th, a five-week low. The data pointed to signs that rising mortgage rates are having a material impact on the housing market. The average 30-year conforming fixed mortgage rate climbed to 4.8% from 4.73% a week ago.

Nevertheless, Capital Economics thinks that higher rates will slow, but not derail, the recovery in housing market activity. “The bigger picture is that the cost of credit, even at today’s slightly higher rates, is historically very low,” they explain.

On the geopolitical front, President Barack Obama on Tuesday night said he will pursue Russia’s proposal to have Syria relinquish its chemical weapons to international control.

Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s government said it would agree to recommendation in exchange for avoiding US military strikes.

However, Obama insisted that the US must take action, if needed, in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians on August 21st.

“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments,” Obama said.

Ishaq Siddiqi, Market Strategist at ETX Capital said: "This certainly hit his credibility here as his tone changed quickly – Obama had to strike up a balanced tone this time around; the US is prepared to respond with a strike but let’s give diplomacy a chance.

"The market feels somewhat mixed on Syria at the moment as a result – encouraging that an imminent strike is off the cards and negotiations have been thrown to the UN before any action is taken."

Apple falls as critics slam 'expensive' new iPhones

Apple was making headlines on Tuesday night as it unveiled its new iPhone models. Shares in the tech giant fell as critics said the new models were too expensive to increase sales in emerging markets.

At least three of Wall Street’s largest brokers: UBSCredit Suisse and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch have today downgraded their view on the shares of Apple.

For the latter of these brokers two of the reasons to proceed in the above fashion were the lack of a “lower-end” iPhone and price points that will be too high to increase penetration in emerging markets, as well as the lack of an agreement with China Mobile.

Apple stock is now dropping by 6%.

Verizon declined as the US telephone carrier began selling today $45bn to $49bn of bonds, more than twice the size of Apple’s unprecedented $17bn issue in April.

It will be the largest sale of corporate debt ever. Demand indications are positive although the firm has had to offer a sizeable discount.

Marriott International gained as China’s richest man Wang Jianlin said he has hired two investment banks to buy hotel-management companies.

Weak third-tier economic figures

US wholesale inventories grew by 0.1% month-on-month [Consensus: 0.3%].

Mortgage applications fell by 13.5% last week MBA data showed.

Crude futures edge high

Front month West Texas crude futures are now rising by 0.36% to the $107.79 per barrel level on the NYMEX.

10-year US Treasury yields are now down by 1 basis point to the 2.96% mark.

S&P 500 - Risers
Marriott International Inc. (MAR) $42.83 +2.93%
Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) $52.07 +2.40%
Philip Morris International Inc. (PM) $86.23 +2.37%
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) $34.85 +2.23%
Sprint Nextel Corporation (S) $6.47 +2.21%
Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX) $44.50 +2.16%
Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH) $52.17 +2.03%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) $190.25 +1.95%
Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) $232.78 +1.79%
Dentsply International Inc. (XRAY) $45.16 +1.76%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Apple Inc. (AAPL) $465.76 -5.84%
QUALCOMM Inc. (QCOM) $67.81 -3.26%
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $305.23 -2.50%
PVH Corp. (PVH) $121.75 -2.33%
ONEOK Inc. (OKE) $51.38 -2.08%
NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) $26.25 -2.02%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $55.52 -1.98%
Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) $16.09 -1.95%
Williams Companies Inc. (WMB) $35.49 -1.93%
Exelon Corp. (EXC) $30.16 -1.85%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) $190.25 +1.95%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $32.85 +1.42%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $63.69 +1.36%
Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $48.49 +1.06%
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $88.71 +1.02%
AT&T Inc. (T) $34.23 +0.76%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $123.92 +0.74%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $89.15 +0.70%
Alcoa Inc. (AA) $8.11 +0.68%
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) $106.97 +0.67%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Intel Corp. (INTC) $22.90 -0.39%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $74.32 -0.38%
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $22.23 -0.20%
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $77.85 -0.13%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $53.61 -0.11%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $46.47 -0.01%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Baidu Inc. (BIDU) $147.50 +4.91%
Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) $232.78 +1.79%
Facebook Inc. (FB) $44.37 +1.77%
Dentsply International Inc. (XRAY) $45.16 +1.76%
CH Robinson Worldwide Inc (CHRW) $60.22 +1.69%
eBay Inc. (EBAY) $54.34 +1.59%
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) $43.30 +1.52%
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) $75.33 +1.50%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $32.85 +1.42%
Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) $15.66 +1.36%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Apple Inc. (AAPL) $465.76 -5.84%
QUALCOMM Inc. (QCOM) $67.81 -3.26%
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $305.23 -2.50%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $79.63 -2.08%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $55.52 -1.98%
Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) $26.27 -1.83%
Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $40.46 -1.49%
Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) $164.79 -0.95%
Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO) $39.32 -0.86%
Randgold Resources Ltd. Ads (GOLD) $72.88 -0.75%

Broker Tips
Panmure Gordon has kept its positive stance on pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline, despite recent concerns over rising competition from generic versions of its Advair drug, recommending investors to 'buy' on weakness.

The broker said that there are still a number of regulatory process steps and many years before any possible increased competition to Advair: "The market has taken a dim view of developments which provide a good entry level into the stock in our view."

Jefferies has raised its price target for mining group Glencore Xstrata after the company increased the expected synergies target following its merger and scaled back spending guidance.

"Glencore remains one of our top picks, especially as we have recently become more positive on the outlook for the sector. We expect volume growth, opex cuts, capex cuts, asset disposals (including possibly $5bn for Las Bambas) and the cyclical resilience of its Marketing business to lead to strong dividend growth and support a premium equity valuation."

JPMorgan Cazenove has downgraded its rating for cafe, hotel and leisure group Whitbread from 'overweight' to 'neutral', saying that the company is a long-term winner but fully valued for now.

Whitbread has outperformed the UK market by 25% over the past year, outperforming the European leisure sector by 19%. As such, it now trades at 17 times estimated earnings for the year ending February 2014. "With short-term headwinds we believe the shares are now full valued and would wait for a better entry point," JPMorgan said.