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Pre-Market Primer: Japan Growth Slows, BlackBerry Ltd Considers a Sale

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Bowing out of the public markets might help the struggling smartphone company.

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Stocks headed down worldwide as Japan missed its growth target.

Japan's economic growth in the second quarter slowed to an annualized 2.6% from 3.8% in the first three months of the year. This missed the 3.6% target by a long shot, despite better-than-expected private consumption. Despite the government's aggressive stimulus policies, businesses are still cautious about investing. The disappointing figure sent the Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) down 0.70% overnight, building on last week's losses. Slower growth also throws into doubt the push to raise the sales tax, which the central bank sees as crucial for fighting deflation.

The main European indices are also down. China was a bright spot this morning as the government promised to offer "unofficial stimulus" spending in key cities and provinces. The Agricultural Bank of China, a state lender, signed an agreement with the city of Shanghai to provide 250 billion yuan in loans.

American equities are heading down this morning. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.33% at 15,324. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) sank 0.40% to 1,679.50 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures fell 0.33% to 3,103.00. Spot gold prices jumped 0.94% to $1,324.60/ounce this morning.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), the struggling smartphone maker, has said today that it formed a committee to explore options, including a possible sale. A report by Reuters found that Canadian private equity executives feel that bringing the company private could make financial sense, but won't necessarily stop it from hemorrhaging market share. BlackBerry's stock popped 1.13% this morning after gaining 5.74% on Friday.

On Saturday, the tech blog All Things D reported that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil the next iPhone on Sept. 10. The company will also release the much-anticipated redesign of iOS, which will make the iPhone's icons and menus more flat, with fewer imitations of real-life things such as leather stitching.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgraded Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM) to neutral from buy. The company makes semiconductors for wireless communication and system-on-a-chip software, and faces stiff competition from foreign rivals.

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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