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Morning Market Roundup: U.K. Austerity, Apple Battles, North Korea Succession

Business

Here's what's important in the financial world this morning:

U.K.: The U.K. says it will not contribute to a new IMF-based €150 billion package for use in bailing out regional economies. The U.K. government senses that as it pushes its own austerity measures to make up for a rapid rise in deficits, voters have lost their taste for helping a struggling Europe.

As U.K. GDP is likely to contract next year, and joblessness continues to be high, the chance that the U.K. will leave the EU increases by the day.

A Victory for Apple: Apple has won another patent battle as its challenges the intellectual property of rivals. It has gotten the International Trade Commission to claim smartphone company HTC violates one of its patents. HTC says it can “work around” the problem.

Perhaps that is true.

However, HTC depends on the Google Android operating system. The OS is under siege by both Apple and Microsoft. Android was supposed to be free to handset companies. Free has gotten expensive as Google rivals begin to collect royalties for Android use.

T-Mobile: What’s Next? AT&T has dropped its $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, the number four cellular provider in the U.S. The decision will cost the large U.S. telecom a $4 billion break-up fee its must pay T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom. The German firm undoubtedly will use the money to rebuild T-Mobile, which was in trouble before the AT&T offer. That trouble spread as customers came to believe that T-Mobile would disappear after the AT&T deal. Now Deutsche Telekom is left with a damaged asset.

The only realistic way for T-Mobile USA to gain ground on AT&T and Verizon Mobile is to buy Sprint Nextel, the number three cellular company based on size. Sprint’s market cap is less than $7 billion. A merger of Sprint and T-Mobile is within the financial capability of Deutsche Telekom.

Ignoring North Korea: As former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il lies in state next to the body of his father, the global capital markets have decided to ignore the threat of a less stability on the peninsula. Even stock markets in Asia rose.

Kim Jong-un probably will be the next ruler of North Korea, the third generation of his family to do so. But the markets are preoccupied with the fight over the U.S. deficit and the trouble with eurozone sovereign debt. Unless North Korea launches its first missile towards South Korea or Japan, the succession there likely will be ignored.

(24/7 Wall St./The Blaze)

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