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Morning Market Roundup: Spain Austerity, Apple iPhone 4s Fix

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Spain, Italy, and iPhone 4s all running on low batteries.

Here are the things that are important in the financial world this morning:

  • Crude oil at $97.91, up 0.13 percent
  • Gold at $1,763, up 0.21 percent
  • Hong Kong: Hang Seng closed up 0.91 percent at 19,137
  • Japan: Nikkei closed higher by 0.16 percent to 8,514
  • U.S.: 10-year at 2.05 percent, down 0.01 percent

1) Market focuses on Italy: The market’s focus on the European sovereign debt crisis has moved firmly from Greece to Italy. And Italy has little time to resolve its budget problems as investors continue to drive the yield on its 10-year notes above 7 percent.

The Italians will put their hope with new Prime Minister Mario Monti. He has no experience as the head of a government, and coupled with that inexperience, his country has run out of time. The Italian Senate will vote for a package of austerity cuts and higher taxes. Financial markets may decide these measures will take too long to take hold, even if they are implemented immediately.

2) Cost of Thanksgiving rises: The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will be raised by 13 percent this year. One of the major components in the difference is the cost of turkey. The price is up 22 percent year-over-year.

That number should worry economists.

There is "supposed" to be little inflation in the consumer economy. What could cause such a large jump? The answer is probably the cost of agricultural commodities, some of which are used to feed those birds. Others are used for stuffing and side dishes.

3) Spain’s GDP flat: Spain’s National Statistics Institute reported that the country’s GDP was flat in the third quarter. This comes less than two weeks after officials said unemployment in the country rose above 21 percent. Among people under 25, that number is close to 4 in 10.

Spain is a near-perfect microcosm for the most pressing problems in the financially weak nations of southern Europe. Some believe that its economic troubles make a case for stimulus. Jobs will not create themselves, and businesses will not expand without consumer demand.

4) iPhone 4S battery woes: Apple’s launch of the iPhone 4S has been tarnished by customer claims that it has a short battery life. The demand for the smartphone has been strong. Analysts and the media have used sales numbers as “proof” that Apple can thrive after the death of Steve Jobs.

The battery problem has gone unsolved for over a week. Now, Apple says new software can resolve it. The IOS 5.0.1 software update was offered to iPhone 4S customers today. The company claims this will put the issue to rest. If not, Apple may have its first real product quality issue in years.

(Douglas A. McIntyre--24/7 Wall St./The Blaze)

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