Thursday, September 22, 2011

Morning Brief: Markets open sharply down on weakening outlook for economy; Liberty Media wins court battle that could have prevented spinoff of Starz Group

Stock markets around the world opened in free fall today, with the German DAX and the British FTSE down over 4 percent, and the French CAC 40 down over five percent.

“Today, we really seem to be stuck in a negative spiral,” said Matthias Jasper, head of equities at WGZ Bank in Düsseldorf was quoted in the NYT report this morning. “Investors just want to keep their exposure low and watch from the sidelines.”

U.S. markets are expected to open down sharply, as well, following warnings from the Federal Reserve that outlook for the economy was poor.

Yesterday afteroon Moody's, one of the three big credit agencies, downgraded the ratings of three major U.S. banks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

Liberty Media won a legal challenge initiated by New York Mellon Trust Co. that would have prevented the spinoff of its Starz Entertainment group, according to a BusinessWeek report today. The spinoffs are part of a financial restructuring of the company controlled by billionaire John Malone.

In Georgia executed Troy Davis last evening, still proclaiming his innocence. In Texas, Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist, was executed for infamous crime of dragging James Byrd Jr. to his death in 1998.

In the United States, only Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, District of Columbia are without the death penalty. In both New York and Massachusetts the state courts have ruled he death penalty unconstitutional and currently without a death row.