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.
OECD: Up To 25 Million Jobs Lost; BHP Affirms China's Strength, Demand; Adobe Buys Omniture; Emerging Market Stocks Double From Oct. Lows; Corning Buys Plastic Maker Axygen BioScience; Blockbuster Closing Up To 960 Stores; Confidence in Global Economy Hits Record High; Facebook Finally Banking Income; U.K. Unemployment Rises to 7.9%
- As many as 25 million jobs worldwide could be lost by the end of 2010 when the smoke finally clears from the global financial crisis, a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "The world economy is indeed recovering. We've thrown trillions and trillions and trillions at it and of course we're seeing results," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said told a news conference. "[But] employment is the bottom line of the current crisis. We cannot claim victory because we see economic indicators going up. We should not assume that [renewed GDP] growth will take care of this."
- Australia-based mining titan BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE ADR: BHP) said China's "economic upswing" is "well advanced" but it won't be until 2010 that true demand for commodities emerges, Bloomberg News reported. The company – via web presentation – said that China's improving economic conditions would help drive demand for commodities such as coal and iron ore.
- Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) – makers of web software Photoshop and Acrobat – said it plans to buy Internet services firm and business software maker Omniture Inc. (NASDAQ: OMTR) for $1.8 billion. After the announcement, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) analysts cut their rating of Omniture to neutral from overweight, saying they think Omniture's upside is limited, MarketWatchreported.
- The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has more than doubled since its October 2008 low, pushed over the 100% mark by swelling commodity prices, improving U.S. retail sales and an upgrade to Indonesia's credit rating. Billionaire investor Kenneth Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Investments, told Bloomberg that emerging markets are leading a "V-shaped recovery" in stocks that will last at least six more months. "The bigger and uglier the bear market, usually the bigger the V," Fisher said.
- Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) announced it acquired plastic maker Axygen BioScience from equity firm American Capital Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACAS) for about $400 million in cash, MarketWatch reported. Corning said the all-stock deal would push revenue for its life science business to more than $500 million by 2011. "Axygen's product portfolio and established distribution network… are critical components to our long-term growth strategy for this business," Peter F. Volanakis, Corning's president and chief operating officer, said in a release.
- Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI) said in a regulatory filing that it plans to close up to 960 stores by the end of 2010. The video rental chain expects a one-time net working capital benefit of $26 million from the closures. Along with conversions of certain stores to outlets and lease mitigations efforts, total store closures will be in the range of 1,335 to 1,560, Reuters reported.
- Confidence in the global economy – as measured by a worldwide Bloomberg survey – hit a record high last week after reports from officials suggesting the recession is over. Bloomberg's Professional Global Confidence Index rose to 58.54 this month from 58.12 in August. A score exceeding 50 means optimists outnumbered pessimists. "Now we have to see if the increase in confidence is matched by actual growth," Christopher Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, and a survey participant, told Bloomberg. "The recovery is still fragile."
- Facebook, Inc., the world's biggest social networking Web site, said it has become "free cash-flow positive," meaning that it is hauling in enough revenue to cover operating costs, The New York Times reported. "This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term," chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog on his Web site. He added that Facebook crossed the 300-million-member mark just six months after adding its 200 millionth member.
- More than 24,000 workers in the United Kingdom filed jobless claims in August, exceeding forecasts of 20,450, said the Office for National Statistics said. The United Kingdom's unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% in the three months to July, up from 7.2% in the previous three months, MarketWatch reported.