Stocks taking off: A good news day - job picture is improving and the European debt crisis could be easing. Dow is up 240 points.
Turning point in Europe?: Probably not, but the European Central Bank agreed to buy the bonds of troubled euro-zone countries in unlimited quantities. That's good, but it carries risks. From the NYT:
In essence, the bank left the next step to the beleaguered governments. They would be required to ask the E.C.B. formally to begin buying their bonds in the open market and would have to agree to follow detailed conditions for paying down their debt and hewing to fiscal discipline. It would be up to the E.C.B. to determine whether the terms of the agreement were acceptable, and whether the government was meeting those conditions over time. While the central bank's action was largely what investors had been expecting, it helped push stocks up further.
Europe's recession fears: The debt crisis is pushing the 17-country eurozone into a possible recession by the end of the year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. From AP:
"The negative elements of the global economy ... stemming mostly from Europe are there and they are somewhat stronger than they used to be a few months ago," OECD Chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters. He said the good news was that the global economy was not in recession, but that avoiding one would depend on what politicians do in the coming months and pushed especially for more action by the European Central Bank. The ECB could outline later in the day a plan to buy up the bonds of governments struggling with high borrowing costs.
Payroll numbers looking better: More than 200,000 private-sector jobs were added in August, according to ADP, the best showing since March. But the ADP reports have been unreliable in predicting the government's employment results, which come out Friday morning. (AP)
Drop in jobless claims: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to 365,000. "The labor market is getting better and while the pace of improvement is nothing great, the direction is clear," said economist Joel Naroff. (AP)
Questions about teacher pensions: State audit spotted large raises for school administrators about to retire in SF and San Diego. From the LAT:
Part of the problem, [State Controller John Chiang] said, is that the California State Teachers' Retirement System -- the largest in the nation -- hasn't taken full advantage of electronic warning systems designed to identify problems. "Starting with more rigorous auditing and better use of existing technology," Chiang said in a statement, CalSTRS must "resolve to crack down on those seeking unjust enrichment at the expense of their fellow educators and taxpayers."
Amazon to announce Kindle update: Company is holding a press conference later this morning in Santa Monica to introduce new features for the popular Kindle Fire. (MarketWatch)