Weaker U.S. Q2 Data Gives Far East Stocks a Lift; European Markets Mixed on U.S. & E.U. News; Citibank Goes to Baghdad

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Weaker U.S. Q2 Data Gives Far East Stocks a Lift (AP)

Global stocks rose on Thursday on hopes that the Fed’s stimulus program would regain support in the wake of U.S. quarterly growth lagging predictions. Original estimates called for growth in Q213 of 2.4 percent, but those figures were revised down to 1.8 percent, based on lower consumer spending. On this news, the Nikkei 225 finished the day up 2.96 percent, followed by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, and the ASX 200, up .50 percent and 1.68 percent, respectively.

European Markets Mixed on U.S. & E.U. News (Bloomberg)

Meanwhile, in Europe, the news of lower U.S. Q2 production was combined with the announcement that European Union financial chiefs came to an agreement of how to handle failing banks to boost European markets ahead. As a result, Italian and Spanish bonds moved slightly higher, but had little effect overall on market performance. At the time of this writing, the STOXX 50 was down .17 percent, while the FTSE 100 and German DAX were up for the day, .26 percent and .01 percent, respectively.

Citibank Goes to Baghdad (Bloomberg)

The third-largest lender in the United States, Citibank, received approval this week to open up an office in Baghdad, Iraq. The giant banking company has lobbied for months to enter Iraq to tap the country’s looming trillion-dollar infrastructure spending plans. By establishing one of the first bulkhead offices in Iraq, Citibank hopes to gain the lion’s share of contracts and loans needed to fund the highways and bridges rebuild. The Baghdad office will be the first new foreign office for the banking behemoth in six years, and comes at a time when investors are looking to Citi to scale down in more turbulent markets like Turkey, Pakistan and Uruguay.  Now, if the office workers can just stay out of harm’s way, the company’s investors will rest easier and richer.

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