New Progress on Debt Crunch

Morning Business Memo:

An early-morning surprise from Brussels. After all night talks, European leaders appear to have come up with a set of measures to show they're serious about solving the crippling debt crisis. There appears to be new flexibility about sharing eurozone debt. Meeting for the 19th time since the crisis erupted in 2009, leaders of the 17 nations have agreed to loosen the rules of bailout funds that were supposed to help governments make their debt payments. Now the money will be sent directly to struggling banks as well. Agreement was reached to create a single supervisory body for eurozone banks by the end of the year.

In a victory for Spain and Greece, European leaders have also agreed to ease austerity requirements for countries that take bailouts. Germany made concessions in the short term, but leaders of the 27-nation European Union have agreed on a long-term plan for tighter fiscal rules. More centralized supervision of national budgets is something for which Germany has been pushing.

Stock futures rose this morning on Wall Street. European stock averages are up after the plan was announced. Italy's FTSE MIB and Spain's IBEX indexes each rose 3 percent. But many analysts are still skeptical, saying Europe must still move mountains to solve the debt crisis.

Is Research In Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry, in a death spiral? The firm reported even worse results than analysts had expected for its latest quarter. RIM is cutting 5,000 more jobs. And it's delaying the launch of its new phone operating system, Blackberry 10. The firm lost $518 million in its latest quarter.

The deed has been done. Stockton, Calif., has filed for Chapter 9 protection, making it the largest U.S. city ever to declare bankruptcy. The move came after officials were unable to reach a deal with the city's creditors to restructure hundreds of millions of dollars of debt under a new state law designed to help municipalities avoid bankruptcy.

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