tv World Business Today CNN August 18, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT
if christine o'donnell is watching, you're very welcome to come back tomorrow night live and finish what we started. that's all for us tonight. i'm zain vergee at cnn in london, here are the headlines. it's the world's most populous democracy but india spugt limits on this man's right to peacefully protest government corruption. and thousands of voters to support him by showing up to protest. pope benedict makes a four-day to madrid. not everyone is happy to see him. some spaniards are take together streets and protesting the pope and the whole event. president bashar al assad tells the u.n. that military and
police operations against anti-government protesters have stopped. rights activists say that's just not the case and civilians are still dodging sniper fire. for the second time in the month, a person has been killed by a shark in the indian ocean, this time in what was supposed to be the first cherished moments together. a newlywed's holiday was turned into horror off of coast of the seychelles island. i'm zain vergee, "world business today" starts now. good morning from cnn london, i'm nina dos santos. >> and a very good afternoon from the cnn hong kong, i'm andrew stevens. you're watching "world business today," the top stories this thursday, august 18. foster's knocks back a second big bid from sabmiller.
is there any more growth to be squeezed from the aussie beer market. against a backdrop of slowing growth and crippling debt, u.s. vice president joe biden visits the biggest creditor. and you can call it anti-branding. why abercrombie and fitch is willing to pay one tv star not to wear its clothes. we're one hour into the trading day here in europe. let's have a look at how the markets are faring. this is the picture across the board. some of the markets down well in excess of 1.5%. the dax on its way to being down 2% lower on the back of asia's performance overnight. let's have a look at the currency market for a moment. the euro trading at 144.08 against the greenback, the british pound trading at 165.21 and the japanese yen at 76.57 at the moment.
andrew. >> that japanese yen is hurting the japanese economy. it came within a fifth of the yen's highest level ever -- strongest level since the second world war. that's why the big exporters in japan are facing such tough times at the moment. there are disappointing new export numbers as well. we're looking at losses at well over 1% right across the key indices in asia. hong kong down 1.3. that market just closing. the aussie market down 1.2%. also have a downgrade by morgan stanley of the chinese economy, that's certainly not helping sentiment either. on the corporate front, investors had lenovo. demand may falter if weakness in
the global growth persists. the stock was hammered, down more than 7% in hong kong as investors look to future earnings. in the united states, there has been some dissent coming out of the u.s. federal reserve. three officials from the central bank are now speaking out against the chairman ben bernanke's recent decision just last week to keep rates low for the next two years to come. despite that news it was a relatively stable day on wall street compared to some of the recent mayhem we've seen of late, andrew. okay, let's check the u.s. markets, nina, to see where they'll begin trading today. these numbers do fluctuate. this is where they stand at the moment, though, take a look at the numbers there. they certainly were all negative. you see the dow down 0.75%, the nasdaq 1% even and the s&p down by more than 0.66%. that's what the futures are telling us at the moment, nina. staying with the united states, "the new york times" is
reporting that the u.s. justice department is investigating the country's largest credit ratings agency. we're talking about standard & poors here. the investigate has little to do with the agency's downgrade of the united states' credit rating a couple of weeks ago. instead it says that the justice department actually wants to know if standard & poor's improperly rated dozens of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crunch of 2008. the times is reporting that the inquest began before the s&p cut of the credit rating just last month. foster's, the australian brewer is rejecting a $10 billion hostile bid by sabmiller breweries. let's go to rami inocencio now with more on that reply from foster's. $10 billion is a huge sum of money but it wasn't sweet enough for foster's group to bite. in a statement, foster's had
this to say, the board of foster's carefully considered the offer and intends to unanimously recommend shareholders reject the offer. that's because foster's says $10 billion actually significantly undervalues the company. breaking it down, that values each share at $4.90 aussie per share. analysts have said sabmiller would have to up that offer to 5.10 or maybe as high as 5.30. sabmiller released this statement, basically sabmiller has decided to make an offer to foster's shareholders directly. so far, there's been no willingness to engage and 09% of all shareholders would need to approve the takeover bid. >> interesting. a lot has changed since june when the first takeover, the friendly takeover was announced. market conditions certainly much
weaker now than it was then. there. >> are two reasons foster's might be nearing a wall on this. no other company has actually come calling for foster's to join them. basically there's no competition and less of a possibility for a price war. that is related to what's happened in the past month. markets have sunk because of sovereign debt issues in europe. the debt ceiling in the u.s. and the falloff from a slowing global economy. what does that mean? less buying power for any company that does want to do a takeover. foster's will release full-year earnings next week. if that comes out better than expected, that may push sabmiller to do a third offer at the higher price. >> rami inocencio, thank you. and tony fernandez may soon score a majority steak in the
asian football club. he's been negotiating to buy 66% of qpr. he was a west ham supporter until his two attempts to buy a portion of that particular club were blocked. he's scheduled to appear in a news conference in about four hours from now. now, still ahead, joe biden starts his official tour of china. we're live in beijing with the latest on that. later in the show, finders, keepers. a new plan by the venezuelan president, hugo chavez, aims to boost the country's gold reserves but at what cost. just before that, let's take a look at the price of gold. right now it's changing hands at a price of $1795 an ounce. gold hit an intraday high, 1795.50 just before easing back a few dollars. it's bounced right back up close
♪ we need your questions ♪ each and every kind ♪ every kind ♪ will this react with my other medicine? ♪ ♪ hey, what are all these tests even for? ♪ ♪ questions are the answer ♪ yeah ♪ oh it's hard to compete with hong kong's pretty spectacular skyline but this helicopter did catch our attention. it's a high-flying advertisement for chinese sovereign bonds would you believe? not that they actually need the composu exposure. now, the low yield on that debt is a sign that investors are confident in beijing's ability to bay them back.
welcome back from cnn hong kong in london, this is "world business today." >> we stay with the china story for a moment. the u.s. vice president joe biden is in beijing where he's kicked off a five-day visit at a critical juncture in economic relations between china and the united states. >> the return to recession starts to grow tensions between the world's biggest debtor nation and its biggest foreign creditor are bound to be returning high. that promises to make mr. biden's visit a particularly busy and interesting one. >> he'll be holding talks today with a man who's widely expected to become china's next president. and on pri he'll be meeting china's current leader, hu jintao. biden's visit is less about striking deals than it is about building trust after the damaging debt debate in washington. with us now for more on that is
eunice unyun. what's the message coming out of today's meetings do you think? >> well, certainly considering the economic backdrop of this visit, vice president biden has his work cut out for him. he went to the people today where he was greeted officially by chinese needers, including his counterpart. and the two stressed the important of the relationship between washington and beijing, saying that cooperation between the two is crucial to maintaining economic stability in the world. so really that was the main message today. now, over the next several days, the two are going to be discussing a whole host of issues, including likely the u.s. arm sales to taiwan, north korea as well as human rights, largely, most people expect that the talks are going to really center on economic issues. and the reason for that is because as you mentioned,
biden's trip really here came at a very critical time when the anxiety level over america's finances is very high in china. there have been several commentators as well as economists who have been voicing their concerns about china's investment in the u.s. in the wake of the debt debacle and the debt ceiling debacle in the united states as well as the s&p downgrade. this is what one former lawmaker had to say. >> we have to be very careful about the downgrading, because china's the largest foreign -- we need to urge the american government to keep their words. and to take some measures to prevent default. >> reporter: and in the runup to biden's visit, there have been several commentators who have been weighing in with their own prescriptions to the u.s. economy, the latest message has
been that the u.s. should refrain from pumping a lot of money into the markets and into the economy. they're worried that easy credit policy could actually erode the value of their own investments in u.s. debt. andrew? >> yes, china certainly not hiding about making its point known where it stands on u.s. economic policy. one of the interesting parts to this, eunice, one of the parts that's gotten a lot of attention, joe biden meeting who is potentially going to be the next leader of china. what do we know about his thoughts on u.s. economic policy? has he weighed into this debate yet? >> we know very little about his views on economic policy. that's one of the reasons why so many people believe that this meeting is just so significant, this man has been really been described as opaque. he is, as you said, slated to be
the next president of china. people don't really know a whole lot about him. people are saying this is going to be the first time where the white house will be able to get some insight into the mentality of china's future leadership, vice president buysen will be spending several days and meeting -- several hours i should say and meeting him on several different occasions. the amount of access and time they'll be spending together is really unprecedented and something people say here is highly unusual. what the belief here is, is that vice president biden will be able to get some insight and really get a better understanding of the priorities of china's future leadership, which as you know is critical in this particular juncture of u.s./china relations. andrew? >> it is significant that china is allowing so much exposure between biden, as you say.
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british pound, 1.6524 and the japanese yen at 76.57. welcome back. you're watching "world business today" today live on cnn. >> if the yen gets to 76.25, it will be at a new strength since the second world war. not far off it now. japan did clock up a trade surface in july for the second month in a row. as you can see here with exports and imports there, virtually the same. exports only just overtook imports. exports fell 3% from last year. the figure did beat expectations but it does mean exports have been falling for five straight months. hammered by that strong yen and also weakening demand. of course you can't forget the earthquake in march which dealt exporters a huge blow. they're only now getting back to full capacity after that -- after that accident.
you'll remember full well that the earthquake also affected tepco. it has since released this particular video. [ speaking foreign language ] >> that was the general manager of the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant, the one hit bit earthquake and the tsunami that followed. yoshida is making a direct enextremely rare apology to all those affected. it's more than five months since the earthquake and tsunami. that was only posted on youtube yesterday. now, the nuclear problems also spilled over into japan's food industry, hurting
confidence in japanese products, particularly from the fukushima prefecture. do those safety concerns still hold? pauline chu reports from hong kong. >> reporter: look at these plump scallops. they're so tasty, this tv chef putsing in on them except for butter. this was a very different picture a few months ago. in june sales were down 90% for his online japanese frozen seafood business, because of concern over the nuclear crisis. so he changed his sales tactics. >> last year you ordered almost 100% of your seafood and your food products from japan. but this year you've changed that. why did you do that? >> because today is august, past five months.
i can see some people are okay. >> reporter: for a portion of his orders he turns to europe for fresh fish and argentina for shrimp. it costs him more to import from these regions but he wants to give customers a choice. the people we spoke to seem to be a little more confident about the safety of japanese food. did you ever worry about the radiation in the food? >> well, we don't, because we believe in the manufacturer in japan, because we know that they are up to the standard and they do produce quality food. >> reporter: this shopper says other things are even worse, like chemical additives in drinks. i'm more worried about these things. the gradual shift in attitude is a welcome change for this man, he imports japanese food into hong kong. reassures customers food is checked for radiation in japan and again in hong kong. >> reporter: how confident are
you that the check systems are perfect and they're accurate and nothing is getting through? >> because i've seen them doing all the checking. they send like three, four people with the handy scans. they km to our warehouse. >> reporter: he also deals directly with ten japanese farmers. he believes the next step is for them to test their produce on the farm and issue food safety certificates. the farmers agree but can't afford to carry out the additional tests. they're pushing for subsidies all in the name of reassuring customers. >> reassurance varies among japan's trading partners. take the european union for example. they require a certificate with a date and location and results of radioactive testing if the
food is coming from 1 of 12 prefectures, which includes fukushima. and the u.s., it has banned some foods from fukushima and tochigi. if you want more analysis from the "world business today" team all you have to do is check out our website at cnn.com/biz360. find blogs and commentary on all the business stories of the day. also leave your comments there as well. it's all at cnn.com/business360. and the venezuelan president hugo chavez is back in the spotlight. this time it's not his health that's the issue. we'll take a look at what he plans for venezuela's government as far as taking control of the country's gold. that's just ahead.
from cnn london, i'm nina dos santos. >> and i'm andrew stevens at cnn hong kong. welcome back to "world business today." >> we're about 90 minutes into the trading session here in europe. let's have a look at how things are faring. last time we looked they were firmly lower and we're off the interday lows. the xetra dax is still down in excess of 1.5 of 1%, ftse down in excess of 1% and the zurich smi so far the best performer of the day. still down by 0.75%.
andrew? >> very similar picture. let's go to rami on how the markets did. not well, rami. >> they fell throughout the day. hong kong and shanghai led the pack downward. first to japan, because the strength of the yen as well as a bigger than expected drop in exports pulled the nikkei down closing 1.25%. when the end gets stronger, exporter share prices take a hit. toshiba and hitachi, down 4 to 4.5%. the hang seng was down 1.3%. it had been trading flat for most of the day but it fell in the last few hours of trading. the top gainer is the hong kong exchanges and clearing. it closed up more than .5%. this is the holding company for the hong kong stock exchange itself. it's in joint venture talks with the shanghai and the shengjen
exchanges. the shanghai composite also down 1.6%, the biggest loser of all asian markets today. new annual housing data showed housing prices rose 4.3%. the composite itself has fallen more than 9% as anti-inflation measures have hurt growth in stocks that list on this board. the asx 200 was down 1.22%. i mentioned the $10 billion hostile bid for foster's. resource-related stocks fell on slows of growth. bhp billotin and rio tinto. investors weighed the latest set of corporate results against the economic and debt concerns.
alison kosik has more from the new york stock exchange. stocks pulled back from early gains to end the day basically flat wednesday. a batch of upbeat retail earnings helped boost the market in the beginning of the session but that sentiment faded away as investors focused instead on falling tech shares. traders point to exhaustion from last week's volatility combined with low volume for the hesitation. at the close, the dow inched up 4 points to end at 11410. the nasdaq lost 0.5%, dell shares tumble 10% after the computermaker issued a disappointing sales outlook and the s&p 500 gained a fraction. retail earnings came in strong across the board, target, staples and bj's wholesale beat forecasts. abercrombie and fitch posted a solid jump in earnings, though they warned of uncertainty ahead. that pulled its shares down 8.5% on the day. the latest reading on inflation
at the wholesale level came a bit hotter than expected in july. they measure price changes in goods before they reach the consumer. it rose 0.2% last month. there's more inflation data coming out thursday when wall street gets the consumer price index, home sales, manufacturing and jobless claim figures come out as well. that's a wrap of the day on wall street. alison kosik in new york. >> well, the markets in the u.s. are certainly more stable than they were this time last week. that hasn't stopped investors from continuing to buy safe haven assets. that's what's driving the price of gold back up towards the record levels. just over $1,817. it hit that level seven days ago. currently, gold trading at less than $1800 an ounce. hugo sha she's has announced plans to nationalize his
country's gold industry. president chavez says he's preparing a decree to give the government control over gold mining. mr. chavez says this will allow authorities to stop illegal mining operations and boost venezuela's international reserves. venezuelan government figures say the country produces 11 tons of gold a year and that illegal miners extract another ten tons. venezuela is also pulling the gold reserves it keeps abroad back into the country, about $11 billion worth of venezuelan gold is deposited in banks outside the country. that move has prompted some speculation about why he wants that bullion back in caracas. let's start with what the president of venezuela is up to, both pulling the gold back from overseas and nationalizing the industry. what's going on? >> one thing to say is he did it again. yes. it's not the first industry he
nationalizes by this point. there are few foreigners working in big industries. and this time, the victim was a russian-owned canadian company called rusaro. >> a gold company operating in venezuela. only one? >> yes. and then the company is not performing very well, there seems to be many deposits but they just seem to stay down there. and of course with this move, few people are going to be interested in investing -- in finding more deposits, right? on the other hand, the argument was that there's so much instability in the world, he would like to have gold reserves close to home where he can take a good look at it. that's one part of the thing. the other part of the thing is that he already has some reserves and this is actually a physical movement. they have to physically move the bars. >> from london back to caracas. >> back to caracas.
the decree is they have two months to do it and they have to bring them back home. >> why would he want to bring them back home? is there another ulterior motive here? >> there is speculation, comments, many things going on. some of them related to these takeovers he's done of industries that might lead to trials and that might lead to different kinds of sanctions that will have -- >> so they could free those assets overseas? >> exactly. >> if they're not there, they can't freeze them. >> exactably. >> there are more, wider speculations around politics and coming elections where he may not have the large popularity he's been enjoying during the last few years chnchs would allow him to spend more because he has the gold reserves there. let's move on. i also want to talk to you about another topic generate something news of late. it's about the move by some latin american countries away
from dollar reserves. their reserves are mostly in u.s. dollars. the u.s. dollar is weakening. some countries looking elsewhere rather than u.s. dollars. is that right? >> exactly. this happens in a context. today reuters reported that unisor, the union of south american nations is considering some kind of diverse fictiifica away from the u.s. dollar. recently i've heard from a high-ranking chilean official that chile is seriously thinking about moving into the -- as a possibility. so this falls into the same context of finding different alternatives to the green back, trying to find new reserve currencies, maybe, maybe, who knows, is chile, a sound economy, thinking seriously about it. they have 30 billion in reserves
and some percentage of that may end up in the market here in hong kong. >> it's a prudent diversification basically. they are continuing on the remenbe. >> cnn's espaniol correspondent. the search giant bideau has been under criticism. the people's daily newspaper also launched their own search engines of late. cctc says baidu doesn't check advertiser backgrounds and its
searches return bad information. baidu's shares have fallen 9% over the past nine weeks. that means that fall has cut $5 billion off of the value. baidu was a darling at one point. another chinese internet company has made its debut on wall street. tudou, they raised $174 million at its initial public offering, priced at $29 apiece. the stock fell by nearly 12% on the nasdaq, closing just over $25 a share. andrew? >> okay. nina, i have a story at the other end of the spectrum. shares of sinotech are still
listed on the nasdaq. they lost 40% of their value in one day's trade. they are the latest company listed in the tous come under fire for its accounting standards. the research house alfredlittle.com alleges that sinotech takes its suppliers are operating as shell companies. that's where they are today. that's quite a fall, nina. sinotech is saying they are going to get independent arbiters to take a look at the numbers and the books but they haven't said when. >> losing two-thirds of your capit capitalization is a big deal. within we come back, how the changing business model in the music industry is striking a low note with some retailers. stay with us.