The Federal Reserve is expected to announce a third round of bond purchases. Find out more.
Fed to Take Action Today?
Global financial experts expect the Federal Reserve to announce a third round of bond purchases on Thursday meant to ease long-term interest rates and spur borrowing and spending, the Associated Press reports. Other economists predict the Fed will extend its timetable for any rise in record-low short term rates beyond late 2014 at the earliest, the AP said. Fed officials, who began their discussions on Wednesday, will announce their decision over the noon hour Eastern Time. Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to hold his quarterly news conference later in the day.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wins Court Victory on Debt Crisis
Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court on Wednesday granted approval of one of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s key initiatives in her bid to resolve the ongoing debt crisis. The court’s ruling paves the way for the 17 countries of the euro zone to establish a European Stability Mechanism, which is akin to “a continental version of the International Monetary Fund,” the BBC reports. The mechanism will handle bailouts and complement the efforts of the European Central Bank to buy the bonds of beleaguered countries like Italy and Spain. The court did set certain conditions, including a requirement for parliamentary approval of any increase in the agreed-upon German contribution of 190 billion euros, or about $240 billion, the BBC said. Had the court not ruled in Merkel’s favor, it could have unleashed new waves of instability on the financial markets.
Apple Launches iPhone 5
Apple yesterday launched iPhone5, a thinner, taller, faster version of iPhone 4S, according to CNN Money. The four-inch screen accommodates five rows of apps, one more than previous versions. Processing speeds are twice as fast thanks to the company’s new A6 chip.
The device, the first Apple smartphone to have 4G-LTE connectivity, goes on sale on Sept. 21 for a starting price of $199. An improved iSight camera will offer a panoramic mode, better low-light capability and the ability to take photos while shooting videos.
One Giant Leap for Two Aerospace Giants
The European Aeronautics Space & Defence Co. (EAD), parent company of Airbus, is in advanced talks about a possible merger with British defense group BAE Systems (BAE), Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The merged group would be owned 60 percent by EADS and 40 percent by BAE. The two companies would remain separately listed, however, and some BAE holdings would be “ringfenced” to protect existing defense contracts.
Zuckerberg Reassures Shareholders
Facebook stock made its biggest one-day gain yesterday after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the social media company was positioned to enter the Web search market, Reuters reports.
The comments at a tech industry conference in San Francisco appeared to reassure investors concerned with slowing rates of advertising revenues at Facebook. Through Tuesday, Facebook shares had fallen by roughly half since the company’s initial public offering in May. Shares ended at $20.93 after Zuckerberg’s first major public appearance since the IPO.
How Many Calories with That Big Mac?
McDonalds announced yesterday that starting next week it will post the calories for all U.S. menu items, according to USA Today, which describe the move as a response to pressures to share nutritional information with customers.
Rivals are expected to follow the example set by the industry leader, which is effectively adopting a rule currently being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. The rule, proposed by the Obama Administration, would require many chain restaurants to post the caloric value of their products.
McDonalds was also one of the first major restaurant chains to stop using trans fats for its French fries, and to start offering salads and putting fruit into children’s meal. Panera became the first major chain to post calories on menu boards in 2010.