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By Jamie McGeever LONDON (Reuters) - Euro zone government bond yields plumbed record lows on Wednesday and the euro fell to its weakest in a year against the dollar on expectations the European Central Bank will act soon to counter low growth and slowing inflation. The prospect of further stimulus, through an asset-buying program known as quantitative easing, also buoyed stock markets. Fuelling the speculation of ECB easing, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Italy must lower its growth forecast for this year, and German consumer sentiment fell for the first time since early last year. "When the (euro zone's) largest economy is falling behind, this is very much increasing the chances of the ECB heading for further monetary measures, above all QE," said DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz.
(Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a flat opening for Canada's main stock index on Wednesday with September futures on the S&P TSX index marginally lower at 0715 ET. No major Canadian economic data is due for release on Wednesday. Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday as shares of Tim Hortons Inc climbed after the coffee chain said it planned to merge with Burger King Worldwide Inc in a C$12.64 billion deal. Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were up 0.10 percent at 0715 ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.05 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0. ...
The cost of borrowing for eurozone countries fell to record low levels on Wednesday, despite gloom over the economic outlook and crisis over economic policy in France. The bond interest rates are falling following comments made by the head of the European Central Bank assuring that deflation will be kept at bay. The interest rate or yield indicated by traded German 10-year bonds, the benchmark for the eurozone, fell to a record low level of 0.915 percent from 0.939 percent late on Tuesday. The rate for French 10-year debt fell to a record low of 1.249 percent from 1.275 percent, against a background of the formation of a new government in France following the shock dismissal on Monday of economy minister Arnaud Montebourg, who had criticised economic policy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday denied reports that the son of a top minister was involved in influence peddling, seeking to staunch the type of corruption allegations that sent the country's last government to election defeat. Modi's office issued the rebuttal shortly after Home Minister Rajnath Singh gave an emotional statement to the media, saying he would quit public life if reports in recent days about his adult son proved to be true. "The reports are plain lies," the prime minister's office said in a statement, adding that they "constitute a malicious attempt at character assassination and tarnishing the image of this government." Earlier, the Economic Times wrote that Singh had complained to leaders of the ruling party that a ministerial colleague had been spreading false rumors against him. Singh, a former president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), holds the second most senior cabinet post after Modi and is responsible for policing and internal security.
When Francois Hollande's inaugural parade was drenched in rain and his plane hit by lightning on the same day, some jokingly wondered whether this was a divine warning of things to come. More than two years on, a deep-set malaise has gripped France as record unemployment, stagnant growth and political instability take their toll on a country already well-versed in what the New York Times once dubbed "existential anguish". "People feel exasperated about a lot of things with the economy because it seems that nothing works," said Stephane Garelli, a professor at the Swiss-based IMD business school.
By Edward McAllister ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - More than 100 demonstrators marched peacefully in St. Louis on Tuesday, calling for the arrest of a white police officer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, almost three weeks ago. By nightfall, a small group of about 30 protesters marched along the street that has been the center of demonstrations since the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, where the majority of residents are black and most elected officials and police are white. Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, has been put on paid leave and is in hiding. Brown's death focused global attention on the state of race relations in the United States and evoked memories of other racially charged cases, including the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, in Florida in 2012.
Japan could soften the impact of a planned sales tax increase by raising it in stages rather than IN a single hike, an outside adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday. Koichi Hamada, professor emeritus of economics at Yale University, also told Reuters that Abe should focus on structural reforms and slash corporate taxes deeper than currently planned to boost the economy and attract investment. Abe raised the sales tax in April to 8 percent from 5 percent to curb Japan's runaway government debt. "As we have seen, the shock from the consumption tax hike could be large," Hamada said in an interview.
France's new economy minister vowed on Wednesday to rebuild trust in the euro zone's second largest economy and put an end to mixed messages and infighting on its economic policy. Speaking a day after President Francois Hollande named him to replace maverick, anti-globalisation leftist Arnaud Montebourg, 36-year-old former investment banker Emmanuel Macron sought to reassure that he would form a close-knit partnership with Finance Minister Michel Sapin. Macron, a former Rothschild banker who was seen as the corporate world's ear at Hollande's office until he stepped down from the role this year, pledged to try and rebuild trust in France among investors and the French themselves.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — If there were any doubts that former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist would be accepted by Florida Democrats, they were cast aside as he overwhelmingly earned the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott on a day when four states chose candidates for statewide office.
By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona state treasurer and businessman Doug Ducey claimed victory on Tuesday in the race to be the Republican nominee to replace outgoing Governor Jan Brewer, who has clashed repeatedly with the White House over illegal immigration. With border security issues high on the political agenda, Ducey held a convincing lead of 37 percent in the six-way race after most of the ballots had been counted. His closest rival, ex-mayor Scott Smith, took some 22 percent of the vote. Christine Jones, 46, a former internet hosting company executive, finished third.
An American writer released this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria is doing well and is excited to be free, his mother said on Tuesday. Peter Theo Curtis, 45, went missing in 2012 and was held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria, whose rivals, the militant group Islamic State, last week killed journalist James Foley. "He was so excited," his mother, Nancy Curtis, told ABC News in an interview taped on Monday. Last week, Islamic State released a video showing his beheading and threatening to kill another American journalist being held hostage, Steven Sotloff.
By AARON MENDELSON SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The California State Senate passed legislation on Tuesday imposing strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones, a move supporters said will protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance. The bill attracted bipartisan support in the Senate, passing 25-8 during the evening vote in Sacramento. The legislation would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned aircraft, or drone, except in emergencies such as a fire or a hostage-taking. Other public agencies would be able to use drones, or contract for their use, to achieve their "core mission," so long as that mission is not to gather criminal intelligence.
European stock markets were subdued on Wednesday, as investors tracked news from Ukraine and shrugged off gains in Asia and on Wall Street, dealers said. In midday deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.08 percent to 6,828.64 points. "Traders are sitting on their hands as they await further developments from the Ukrainian situation," said analyst David Madden at trading firm IG. Kiev said a convoy of tanks and heavy weapons from Russia was travelling towards a government-held town in restive east Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday not to escalate an offensive against pro-Moscow rebels, and threatened economic retaliation for signing a trade accord with the European Union. At the leaders' first meeting since June, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko replied by demanding a halt to arms shipments from Russia to the separatist fighters. The pair shook hands at the start of talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk, only hours after Kiev said it had captured Russian soldiers on a "special mission" on Ukrainian territory. Responding to a video of the detained servicemen, a Russian defense ministry source told Russian news agencies that the servicemen had crossed the border by mistake.
A federal judge has rejected the United States' bid to dismiss a more than $25 billion lawsuit filed by Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the former chief executive of American International Group Inc, over the insurer's government bailout, clearing the way for a Sept. 29 trial. Court of Federal Claims said the case brought by Greenberg's Starr International Co on behalf of itself and other AIG shareholders involves "complex financial and economic issues" that deserve analysis and testimony from qualified expert witnesses. "The decision speaks for itself," David Boies, a lawyer for Starr and Greenberg, said in a statement. Starr sued in 2011, contending that the $182.3 billion bailout was an illegal taking that violated its due process rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S.