Stocks falling: Investors can't figure out what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was saying this morning - but they don't like the sound of it. Dow is down 140 points.
Europe still a question mark: The European Central Bank offered assurances that it would rescue the euro, if need be, but there were few specifics on how that would be done. From the NYT:
The E.C.B. has not yet spelled out in detail how any coordinated bond intervention would work, saying that would be done in coming weeks. There are numerous technical hurdles to be overcome, and the bond purchases would begin only after a country like Spain requested relief, which it has not yet done. But Mr. Draghi's statement shows that the bank is increasingly willing to stretch its mandate and wield its financial resources to prevent the collapse of the euro currency union -- and avoid all the dire economic consequences that might result without a rescue.
Jobless claims inch higher: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to 365,000, but the numbers continue to be influenced by distortions from seasonal shutdowns. (Reuters)
Mortgage rates higher: First time that's happened in three months. The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage is now 3.55 percent, up from 3.49 percent. (AP)
Retailers report decent July: Sales were better than expected at several chains, including Gap and Target. From AP:
"Hot weather and summer clearance, coupled with some newness in stores in the back half of the month, is leading to a nice upside heading into back-to-school," said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics, a research firm. He said colored denim is a key fashion trend that is new in stores and attracting customers. "Retailers were pretty aggressive with promotions, trying to clear out merchandise." Analysts had expected modest gains in the month, as Americans slowly start to feel better about high unemployment and the bumpy global economy.
California gets top rating: The $10 billion in short-term notes that the state will issue this month received a SP-1+ rating from Standard & Poor's. The money ensures that the bills can be paid through next June. (Capitol Alert)
San Bernardino files for bankruptcy: Third time that's happened to a California city since June. The Chapter 9 filing allows San Bernardino to negotiate with creditors under court supervision. From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:
The city estimates that it has between 10,000 and 25,000 creditors and estimates assets at more than $1 billion and liabilities also at more than $1 billion, primarily business debts. The form does not list the creditors' names. [Mayor Pat Morris] said the filing was done without backup documentation to protect the city "from possible levies on our accounts."
Weak quarter for DirecTV: The El Segundo-based satellite TV service reported lower-than-expected earnings and higher-than-expected number of lost subscribers. (Bloomberg)