Morning Business Memo
By John Kapetaneas
Major bitcoin exchange website Mt. Gox went offline today, as trading on the Tokyo-based site came to a screeching halt. The site had disabled withdrawals earlier this month. The apparent closure has added to investor scrutiny over the virtual currency, which tumbled below $500 Tuesday after streaking to a high of over $1100 in December. Read more about Bitcoin's troubles.
Markets across the globe are mixed this morning; US futures are down slightly, while Asian stocks rose despite the drastic drop in the Chinese yuan, which fell to a more than three-year low. European stocks fell on the heels of tepid growth prospects over the next year, disappointing earnings results, and concerns over slowing Chinese growth. Crude oil fell nearly 1 percent to $101.81 a barrel. Gold dropped $3.70 to $1,334.
Las Vegas casino operator MGM Resorts announced intentions to spend $5 billion to $10 billion on a potential casino in Japan. The news comes a day after billionaire Sheldon Adelson announced that his Las Vegas Sands was also contemplating a similar investment in the country. Operating casinos is illegal in Japan, but many are expecting pressure from Tokyo's 2020 Olympics Games selection to boost a bid for legalization in an effort to boost tourism.
In earnings reports, food stocks sent mixed messages Tuesday, with winter weather affecting sales for a number of companies. Revenue for Cracker Barrel restaurants came in below analysts' estimates despite posting increased profits. Meanwhile, Bloomin Brands, operator of casual dining restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's, narrowly beat Wall Street estimates. Home Depot beat analyst expectations.
Companies also reporting today: AMC Entertainment, Dreamworks Animation, Hertz, Macy's, Papa John's, Martha Stewart Living, Office Depot, Rosetta Stone, T-Mobile, Toll Brothers, Vitamin Shoppe, and First Solar.