Eagle Eye Opener: Italy Eyes Big Changes; Asian Stocks Mixed

Eagle Eye Opener

The Boot Won’t Be Europe’s Third Shoe (CNBC.com)

European investors can take heart that Italy’s doing everything in its power to not become the third shoe to drop — behind debt-battered Greece and Spain. Yet, despite progress and economic reform, Italy’s Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said the country still needs “deep changes” to make Italy a more appealing trade partner than it is now. With a realization that fiscal reforms are needed, Italy appears heading in the right direction, even though it’s gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted 2.4% year-over-year, as that’s a .2% improvement over expectations.

Far East Markets Closed Mixed on Uncertainty (MorningStar.com)

With the European Union’s just-confirmed recession, the “fiscal cliff” in the United States and economic downshift in China, Asian investors couldn’t make up their minds where to put their money today. Both Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (.24%) and Japan’s Nikkei (2.2%) closed up, while the Shanghai Composite (.77%) ended the day down.  European Union markets reacted as expected following a second quarter of negative growth with FTSE down .67%, Germany’s DAX dipping .46% and France’s CAC 40 sliding.23%.

Blacker Friday — Wal-Mart Workers to Walk Next Week (YahooFinance.com)

In a protest against low wages, long hours, and already lean benefits that are targeted for even deeper cuts in 2013, workers at a SoCal Wal-Mart distribution center and six Seattle superstars walked off of their jobs yesterday. Investors should be aware of the labor unrest at Wal-Mart and its potential effect on sales, since the protests could spread to other stores operated by the giant discount retailer. A union-backed group named Making Change at Wal-Mart announced that next week, protests and strikes would expand to cities across the United States, including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Those planned strikes would involve thousands of workers. Wal-Mart’s history of crushing previous union protests will be sorely tested next week, as the important holiday-selling season kicks off.

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U.S. stocks fell, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to the lowest level since June, as Wal-Mart (WMT) Stores Inc. forecast earnings that missed estimates and lawmakers prepared for budget talks.

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