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Slow EU Economic Recovery

Europe believes that it is doing poorly, financially. The European Commission (EC) put out its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) activity for this year and next. This year, at least, the prediction is awful. All that EC officials can say is that the region's leaders have to do better. It is a refrain heard repeatedly for government leaders and other policy makers. From the EC report on the slow EU economic recovery:

Following the recession that marked 2012, the EU economy is expected to stabilise in the first half of 2013. GDP growth is projected to turn positive gradually in the second half of the year before gaining some traction in 2014.


Annual GDP growth this year is now forecast at -0.1% in the EU and at -0.4% in the euro area. For 2014, economic activity is projected to expand by 1.4% in the EU and 1.2 % in the euro area.

And, the deep concern:

Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro said: "In view of the protracted recession, we must do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis in Europe. The EU's policy mix is focused on sustainable growth and job creation. Fiscal consolidation is continuing, but its pace is slowing down. In parallel, structural reforms must be intensified to unlock growth in Europe."

So far, "whatever it takes" has not been nearly enough.

Twitter Going Public?

Twitter has added an investment banker to its staff. This has prompted speculation that the company may begin the process for an initial public offering. Of course, investors could be gun-shy after the collapses of the share prices of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA). Twitter has not demonstrated that it can bring in a critical mass of advertising, at least not enough for it to be considered a large media company. Analysts estimate that the company could be worth $10 billion currently, which may be much to pricey for Wall Street. The New York Times says of the new Twitter corporate development chief:

The company has hired Cynthia Gaylor, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, to be its head of corporate development, Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter's chief lawyer, said in a tweet on Thursday.


Over her career, Ms. Gaylor has worked on technology deals including the sale of Zappos to Amazon.com, according to her profile on LinkedIn. More recently, she has advised on financing transactions like initial public offerings.

Among her clients are Facebook, Zynga, Netflix and LinkedIn, the LinkedIn profile says. She joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 after working at Hambrecht & Quist, which became part of JPMorgan Chase.

Barnes & Noble Teams with Google

Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) may have gotten an investment for Nook, its e-reader and e-book operation, from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) as the software company presses into tablets. But the book company has decided to hedge it bets. Barnes & Noble management understands what most other tablet producers do. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) control the application markets for these devices. So, Barnes & Noble has set a partnership with Google. The book company reported:

NOOK Media LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. , the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced it is expanding its extensive catalogue of reading and entertainment content with the addition of the Google Play digital content experience on its acclaimed NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ devices. With Google Play on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, customers will now have access to more than 700,000 Android apps and games, millions of songs and more.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, BKS, FB, GOOG, GRPN, MSFT, ZNGA