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Pre-Market: Commerzbank Could Pay $600-$800 Million to Settle US Probe; Jobless Claims Beat Forecasts


Google Ventures is launching a $100 million European arm.

Stock futures pointed toward a lower open on Thursday. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.82% to 16,774. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved lower, falling 0.89% to 3,851.  Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were down 0.85% to 1,950.50.


Germany's Commerzbank AG (OTCMKTS:CRZBY) will likely pay between $600 million and $800 million to settle an investigation by US authorities into the bank's lending practices, reports the New York Times. Commerzbank has been accused of lending to Iran and other countries sanctioned by the United States. The fine had previously been reported to be more than $500 million. However, it's much lower than the record $8.9 billion fine levied by the US against BNP Paribas (OTCMKTS:BNPQY) for similar violations. On Wednesday, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty for a second time, admitting to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act from 2004 to 2012.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is launching a European arm to its venture-capital vehicle Google Ventures, seeking exposure to Europe's emerging start-up space. The $100 million fund is smaller than others focused solely on Europe, like the $545 million fund launched by San Francisco-based Index Ventures in June or the $475 million fund launched by Accel Partners in 2013. In the US, Google Ventures has invested in such lucrative start-ups as Uber and Nest. In other tech news, IBM (NYSE:IBM) said it is planning to invest $3 billion in building a next-generation 7-nanometer semiconductor, despite speculation that IBM is looking to sell off portions of its chip manufacturing unit. Shares of Google were down 1.36% in pre-market trading. IBM fell 0.91%.

America Movil (NYSE:AMX), the Mexican telecom company controlled by one-time world's richest man Carlos Slim, is divesting assets in its home country to avoid newly imposed, tougher regulations. America Movil currently controls roughly 70% of the Mexican telecom market but plans on reducing that share to below 50% through an asset sale. The government has imposed new regulations to curb the power of American Movil and the broadcaster Televisa (NYSE:TV). America Movil said it plans to sell to a single buyer, and analysts have speculated that will likely be AT&T (NYSE:ATT).

American Apparel (NYSEMKT) has reached an agreement with New York-based investment firm Standard General LP that has Standard General providing American Apparel with $25 million in immediate financial support. Other terms of the agreement include a reconstitution of the company's board and the formation of an independent board committee to oversee the continuing investigation into the behavior of company founder Dov Charney. Shares of American Apparel were up 3.59% ahead of the opening bell.  


Jobless claims declined by 11,000 to 304,000 in the week ending July 5, reaching the lowest level of claims in over a month. Forecasts had pegged jobless claims at 315,000. The fact that payrolls in June exceeded analysts expectations and that the unemployment rate has fallen to a six-year low points to a rebound for the US economy in the second half of 2014. At 10:00 a.m., the Census Bureau will publish wholesale trade numbers for May. The EIA will provide its weekly reading of the United States's natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. At 1:00 p.m., the US Treasury will release the results of its $13 billion 30-year note auction. Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George will deliver a speech in Shawnee, Oklahoma, at 1:15 p.m., the first speech from a member of the Fed since yesterday's FOMC meeting minutes revealed the Fed plans to end its bond-purchasing program in October. At 4:30 p.m., Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will deliver a speech at the NBER conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Concurrently, the Fed will release its balance sheet and the money supply.

Global Markets

Asian stocks reversed a two-day decline overnight, with utilities gaining the most in two weeks. Shares in Japan, however, fell after the Cabinet Office said core machine orders dropped by 19.5% in May. This marks the highest monthly decline of core machine orders on record for Japan. In China, trade data for June missed forecasts, with exports rising 7.2% and imports rising by 5.5%. Forecasts had predicted exports rising by 10.6% and imports rising by 5.8%. In Europe, stocks moved into a fifth day of losses, sinking to a two-month low. Factory orders in France and Italy were particularly disappointing, with France posting its largest decline in manufacturing output in 18 months and Italy recording its largest drop in nearly two years. Brent oil continued its longest losing streak in four years, closing in on $108 per barrel.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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