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Morning Market Roundup: Futures Rollercoaster, Microsoft's EU Woes, EU Summit Agenda

Business

Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

U.S. Futures: U.S. stock futures are wavering as investors weigh healthy U.S. manufacturing data against looming structural issues in Europe.

Businesses placed more orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in May, suggesting they remain confident in the U.S. economy.

Dow Jones industrial average futures are down 8 points to 12,478. Standard & Poor's 500 futures tacked on 0.30 points to 1,315.80 and Nasdaq futures gave up 0.75 points to 2,547.50.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 1.1 percent in May after two months of declines.

Markets are being weighed down, however as leaders in Europe prepare for a two-day summit where they will try to address dangerous debt problems.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday that there would be no quick solution to the structural issues plaguing the continent.

Microsoft: A European court on Wednesday upheld most of a massive fine levied against Microsoft by the European Commission's competition watchdog, closing a case against the software giant that began in 1998.

The €860 million fine is a "penalty for noncompliance" with the watchdog's 2004 order for Microsoft to make computer programming code available that would allow competitors' products to interface properly with Microsoft's server software.

In an appeals ruling, the General Court of the European Union rejected Microsoft Corp.'s request to dismiss the fine levied in 2008, but did trim it by €39 million to €860 million ($1.1 billion). Counting two earlier fines, the case has wound up costing Microsoft a grand total of €1.64 billion.

That's the most ever resulting from a single antitrust case in Europe, though in 2009 Intel Corp. was hit with the largest single fine, €1.09 billion.

The court in Luxembourg said its decision "essentially upholds the Commission's decision and rejects all the arguments put forward by Microsoft in support of annulment."

EU Summit: When they meet Thursday and Friday in Brussels, leaders of the 27 countries in the European Union will face a daunting task: Find a solution to a debt crisis that's spread misery across Europe, raised doubts about the euro currency, rattled investors and threatened global growth.

Investors have driven up interest rates on Spanish and Italian debt to unsustainable levels, raising the risk those big countries will need a bailout the rest of Europe can't afford. Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro is 11 percent, the highest since the euro was adopted in 1999.

A $125 billion plan to bail out Spanish banks has failed to calm financial markets. Even an election that brought a pro-euro-alliance Greek government to power failed to reassure investors that Greece would continue to pay its bills, keep using the euro and avoid a financial crackup that could set off a worldwide panic.

The EU leaders will consider plans to:

-Tackle Europe's government debt problems.

- Fix Europe's banks.

- Help Greece.

- Stimulate Europe's sluggish economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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