France's finance minister Francois Baroin has demanded an investigation into "the causes and eventual consequences" of an erroneous email by ratings agency Standard and Poor's that it had lowered France's AAA rating. The email caused market turmoil about the nation's sovereign debt, the New York Times reports. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been striving to ensure that Europe's financial turmoil does not take root in his country. France is one of the biggest financial contributors to the European effort to contain the debt crisis, which makes maintaining the country's flawless rating increasingly a challenge. S. and P. attributed the email to “a technical error” and affirmed that the rating was unchanged.
Italy Inches Closer to Unity
Former European Commissioner Mario Monte emerged as a favorite to replace Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and lead a unified emergency government that would implement long-delayed reforms, Reuters reports. The latest development follows the appointment of former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos to lead an interim crisis cabinet charged with saving Greece from default, bankruptcy and an exit from the euro zone, Reuters said. The 17-nation currency bloc is unable to afford a bailout of Europe's third biggest economy. The Italian Sensate is expected to approve austerity measures designed to avoid a bailoutm paving the way for Berlusconi to resign.
Asia Stocks Rebound
Asian stocks bounced back from the biggest decline in seven weeks as U.S. jobless claims fell to their lowest level in seven months Thursday and the selection of a new Greek premier eased concerns about the reach of Europe's debt crisis.
Heigh-Ho! Disney Reports Record Earnings
Investors in Disney just may be the happiest stockowners on earth as the Walt Disney company reported record third quarter net income of $1.1 billion, a 30 percent increase over last year. Revenues were up 7 percent to $10.4 billion. Disney's magical performance was driven by the Fortune 500 company's consumer products and parks and resorts segments, as well as by its cable networks, including ESPN and the Disney Channel, CNN reports.
Starbucks Has the Juice with Evolution Fresh Acquisition
Starbucks Corp. announced the $30 million cash acquisition of natural fruit and vegetable juice maker Evolution Fresh. The omnipresent Seattle-based coffee company is looking to enter the $1.6 billion premium juisce business and the $50 billion health foods market and plans to open a chain of stores next year centered on "wholesome" beverages and food, the Chicago Tribune reports.
NBA Negotiations Take a Time-Out
After 11 hours of negotiations, the NBA and its players took a time out while the players' union weighs the league's latest revised offer. The offer is based on the possibility of a 72-game season that would start Dec. 15. Union president Derek Fisher said the offer doesn't address all the system issues that are important to the players. NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league is at the point where "you have to be through negotiating." Points of contention include salary cap system issues, draft age, the commissioner's disciplinary rights, and other ancillary issues.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.