QE3, which was considered "off the table" just last month, was reported to be a real possibility according to minutes of the Federal Reserve Open Committee meetings from last month. Concern about the economy's growth rate and the high level of unemployment were foremost on policymakers' minds. If inflation remained in check, the FOMC was ready to inject additional monetary stimulus into the economy to address these issues.
Partisan politics are becoming stronger as the White House and congressional leaders will meet again today to iron out an agreement on the budget ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline.
Saudis increase oil output
Saudi Arabia raised its crude oil output last month to 9.7 million barrels per day. The Saudi's action was unilateral among oil producing nations to meet the higher demand for crude worldwide - especially from Asia - according to a Reuters report. This was its highest monthly figure for 2011. The increased production will continue through the rest of the year as other OPEC nations will maintain their current output levels.
Wall Street under scrutiny
As part of an insider trading investigation, U.S. prosecutors listened in on clients of investment firm Primary Global Research. One former executive of the firm pleaded guilty yesterday to selling secret information to hedge fund clients. In a New York Times report, the executive was the first from the expert network industry to be charged by federal prosecutors in its efforts to shut down the practice of disclosing non-public information to clients. The New York Times' report describe the executive, Mr. Don Ching Trang Chu, as a bridge to Asia experts and data sources.
Caller ID goes mobile
T-Mobile will launch the first true caller ID for mobile phones today, according to CNN. Caller ID has been a staple on land lines, but the service has not been available on cell phones before. Names had appeared from your contact list, but a general database of caller names and numbers had not been available previously for cellular customers. The service will cost $3.99 per month. Displayed names and numbers will integrate into contact lists on Android phones seamlessly.
Earnings grow by 50%
As a sign the banking industry is recovering, Capital One reported second quarter earnings up 50% compared with the same period last year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the bank set aside "less money for loan losses and continued to see a decline in charge-offs" for non-performing or underperforming loans.
Ireland's Credit Rating Cut
One week after downgrading Portugal to junk status, Moody's made a similar downgrade on Ireland, warning that the debt-laden country would likely need a second bailout, Reuters reports. This action comes amidst heightened concerns about Europe's ability to address its debt crisis and prevent it from spreading. European financeministers have acknowledged for the first time that some form of Greek default may be needed to cut Athens' debts, the paper said. Investors fear this could have a devastating ripple effect through Europe's banking system.
Murdoch Faces New Static Over Scandal
Rupert Murdoch's bid to purchase BSkyB was dealt a setback when the British government endorsed a move in Parliament to block his bid to buy the British broadcaster, Reuters reports. The long feared and mighty media magnate's empire has been shaken by the ever-widening scandal that resulted in Murdoch's decision to close the top-selling tabloid News of the World, whose journalists are accused of hacking into voicemails of thousands of people, some of the crime victims, in search of stories.
Partisan Positions Put Budget Deal Compromise at Risk
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky faced opposition from conservatives in his party after proposing a "last-choice option" in the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline, The New York Times reports. Prospects for a deal between President Obama and Republicans dimmed, prompting McConnell to propose that Congress empower the president to raise the government's borrowing limit without its prior approval of offsetting cuts in spending, the paper said.
Japan to Continue Whaling
The stage is set for another confrontation between Japanese whalers and the activist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which last year forced early cancellation of the hunt. The BBC reports that Japan has announced its intention to return its whaling fleet back to the Antarctic this year despite activist campaigns, financial problems and new maritime regulations. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said it would continue its campaign to defend the whales.
California Tuition Hikes Tuition for Second Time in a Year
California State University announced that it will hike tuition at its 23 campuses by 12 percent this fall, thanks to a deeper-than-expected $650 million cut in state funding, CNN reports. This increase follows a 10 percent tuition increase that the university system approved last November for the upcoming school year. Full-time students will be paying an additional $516 per semester when they return in the fall. For a freshman, that amounts to an extra $4,128 over four years. The university is slated to receive $2.1 billion in state funding, the lowest level of support its received since the 1998-1999 fiscal year. The university now enrolls 72,000 more students than it did at that time.