With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
GM to Sell Opel to Magna; U.S. Foreclosures Improve in August; Bank of England Holds Rates Steady; Emerging Market Stocks at Expensive Levels; U.K. Housing Prices Rise 0.8% in August; Turkey GDP Down 7% in 2Q; Suntory in Talks to Buy Drinkmaker Orangina.
- Two people told Reuters that General Motors Co. (OTC: MTLQQ) is prepared to sell Opel, its European carmaker, to Canada's Magna International Inc. (NYSE: MGA). The board of trustees that controls a majority stake in Opel has the last word on which Opel's buyer will be. GM was thought to be selling Opel to either Magna of RHJ International SA.
- Nearly 360,000 U.S. housing units – or an average of one in every 357 units – filed for foreclosure in August, down 1% than in July. Nevada remained the state with the highest foreclosure rate, one in 62 units, for the month, followed by Florida's rate of one in 140, MarketWatch reported.
- The Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.5% and kept plans to buy as much as $290 billion (175 billion pounds) in assets to prevent the U.K. economy from slumping further into recession. The U.K.'s FTSE-100 Index responded to the move by rising above 5,000 for the first time in nearly a year, Bloomberg News reported.
- Emerging market stocks, as measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, are at their most expensive level in nearly nine years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Valuations are 19.9 times earnings, and emerging market shares have risen 53% this year as a result of global government stimulus packages, interest-rate cuts, and optimism that the financial crisis is over.
- House prices in England rose 0.8% in August, their second consecutive monthly gain, according to a survey by HBOS, which is owned by Lloyds Banking Group plc (NYSE ADR: LYG). Prices are at nearly the same level as the beginning of 2009, but 10.1% lower than they were in August 2008, MarketWatch reported.
- Turkey's economy shrank 7.0% in the second quarter, Turkish Statistics Institute said, a sharp pace but a much better performance than the 8.0% decline many analysts expected, MarketWatch reported. The second-quarter figures are much better than Turkey's 14.3% gross domestic product (GDP) tumble in the first quarter. Thursday's data "showed that Turkey has become the latest economy to emerge from recession, rebounding strongly in the second quarter of this year," Neil Shearing, emerging Europe economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients.
- Japan's third-largest brewer Suntory Holdings Ltd. is in talks to buy drinkmaker Orangina – maker of Schweppes, Oasis and other brands – from Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) The brewer seeks to expand outside its domestic market, which entrenched deeply in recession during the global financial crisis. "Purchasing Orangina would be a stepping stone to further development in global markets, including Europe," Shigeo Kikuchi, an equity manager at Takagi Securities Co., told Bloomberg. "Japan's beverage industry is saturated and companies need to look for overseas markets to grow so the move is inevitable."