Morning Business Memo:
The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, faces a stark question with his widely anticipated bond-buying program. Is it enough to save the euro? Financial markets will decide whether today’s ECB announcement will force down crippling borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, and prevent the breakup of the single currency for 17 nations. Last month Draghi said he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. The ECB’s plans have met with fierce opposition from Germany’s Bundesbank, which argues that central bank’s sole duty is to hold the line on inflation. But the leaders of Spain, Italy and France have led the call for buying distressed government debt. Among the many questions about the plan: will the ECB announce a cap on the amount of bonds that it is prepared to buy, or is it unlimited? What types of government debt will be purchased? And will struggling governments be forced to ask for a bailout before bond purchases are made?
Europe’s debt crisis is pushing the eurozone toward recession and is dragging down the global economy. That’s the assessment from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which says growth in Germany is slowing and Europe’s largest economy could slip into recession by the end of the year
Is the US jobs market getting any better? The Labor Department this morning releases new claims for unemployment benefits. That comes ahead of the August unemployment report, due tomorrow. The payroll processing firm ADP will release its closely watched report today on private sector jobs. The global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says employers announced fewer job cuts last month. The total was 32,239 workers – the fewest number of monthly job cuts by US-based firms since December 2010.
Nokia showed off its new Windows smartphones, but on day one investors were disappointed. Nokia shares dropped 16 percent. The company says the new phones will go on sale in the fourth quarter in “select markets.” But there was no word on how much the phones would cost or exactly when they’ll be available.
Independent movie theaters in small towns are struggling to stay in business as Hollywood studios switch from 35 mm film to digital. The change is forcing theater owners to abandon film projectors that have been an industry staple since the early 1900s, in favor of new and expensive digital equipment. For small-town moviegoers, the loss of their local cinema means longer drives to theater chains in bigger cities. Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners says converting one screen to digital costs about $70,000. Multiplexes can afford the digital transition, which can be cheaper when buying in bulk.. But those who own smaller theaters with one or two screens could be forced to take out expensive loans.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio ABCNews.com twitter.com/daviesabc