The Bureau of Labor Statistics producer price index increased by 1.2 percent in July, surpassing economists’ projections of 0.6 percent for the month. The news influenced a bearish turn on major New York indices today. “The Dow Jones Industrial Average was lost 131 points to 11,348, and the S&P 500 fell 12 points to 1267. The Nasdaq dropped 33 points to 2384,” reports The Street.
A rush on heating oil futures and a weaker dollar versus the euro helped to push crude oil for September up $1.66 to $114. U.S. gas prices at the pump remain 10 percent lower than they were in July, averaging $3.73 per gallon of regular as of today, compared to $4.117 in July.
Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers, reported a 14 percent increase in profit for the third quarter. The company's stock went up 2.6 percent, or $1.13 to $44.82 during extended trading from $43.69 at official market closing.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group is to buy the New York Mercantile Exchange for $8.4 billion. Approximately 75 percent of Nymex shareholders voted to approve the merger yesterday, which is to add gold and oil to the commodities traded by the CME Group. The CME Group itself is a product of a merger between the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Ken Rogoff, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and current Harvard professor, told a group in Singapore “the financial crisis is at the halfway point, perhaps. … We’re not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months, we’re going to see a whopper, we’re going to see a big one, one of the big investment banks or big banks.”
After spending a week in Hawaii on vacation, Ill. Sen. Barack Obama was back on the Democratic presidential campaign trail in Albuquerque, N.M. He “slammed Sen. John McCain for continuing the politics and policies of President Bush, part of an attempt to tether the presumptive Republican nominee to the unpopular president” at a town hall meeting, The Washington Post reports.
Tropical Storm Fay has gained in intensity as it passes over southern Florida. As of 4:16 EDT, sustained winds were at 65 mph with gusts of up to 78 miles per hour. A tornado reportedly touched down in the Florida town of Hallendale Beach.
College presidents from some 100 U.S. universities and colleges are pushing legislators to lower the legal drinking age from 21 back to 18, arguing that the higher age promotes binge drinking. “It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory,” said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College and founder of the Amethyst Group, the coalition of educational administrators behind the initiative.
Russian military personnel carriers blocked the Georgian Black Sea port of Poti, taking Georgians prisoner. In the town of Igoeti, “journalists witnessed a prisoner exchange Tuesday of 15 Georgians for 12 Russians,” reports the International Herald Tribune.
During intense skirmishes with Taliban forces in eastern Afghanistan, 10 French paratroopers were killed and another 21 French soldiers were wounded. NATO did not give official confirmation of the casualities, however sources told France 24 that the attack occurred in Kabul Province's Sarobi district.
The search for Pervez Musharraf’s successor as president of Pakistan is underway. Officials told Al-Jazeera, “the coalition, made up of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz along with some smaller parties, will also seek the restoration of senior judges who were sacked by Musharraf under his emergency rule in November 2007.”
A 16-year-old Saudi girl has applied to the country’s National Organization for Human Rights after drinking bleach to avoid a marriage to a 75-year-old man. Her father was “swapping” her for a 13-year-old girl who had been previously betrothed to the senior citizen. About a month ago a Saudi governor struck down a marriage of an 11-year-old girl to her 10-year-old cousin on the grounds they were too young.
“Silvio Berlusconi’s government was today engaged in a vigorous damage limitation exercise after Pope Benedict appeared to lend his immense moral authority to speculation that Italy was in danger of returning to fascism under the tycoon’s hardline, rightwing leadership,” writes The Guardian.
Reuters writes, “DEET, the widely used mosquito repellent, does not block the insects’ sense of smell but simply stinks to them, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. This in turn could help in the development of better mosquito repellents, according to the team at the University of California, Davis.”
Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was admitted to General Massachusetts Hospital for testing after reporting chest pains. The 68-year-old “Yaz” is to undergo bypass surgery to remove a blockage in one of main arteries.
American Henry Cejudo won the gold medal in 55-kilogram weight class freestyle wrestling. He beat Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga 2-2 on a tiebreaker, then 3-0 in a best-of-three match. Cejudo, 21 years old, had competed only once at an international senior-level tournament prior to the Beijing Games. He placed 31st at last year's world wrestling championships.
With 40 first-place finishes, China leads in the Olympic gold medal count. The United States is in second with 25. In third is the United Kingdom with 15, the nation’s best showing in the Olympics since 1908.
Musician Gary Glitter, known for his hit “Rock and Roll parts 1 and 2,” was released from a Vietnamese prison after serving a three-year sentence for child sex charges. If he returns to the United Kingdom, his home country, he will be required to register on the sex offender database.