The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) suit against Samsung took a turn for the worse for the South Korean firm. It has contended it was just going about its business to create smartphones, with barely an eye on what Apple was doing. According to AllThingsD, a document of more than 100 pages shows that Samsung had done exceptional research on the Apple product:
The 2010 report, translated from Korean, goes feature by feature, evaluating how Samsung’s phone stacks up against the iPhone.
Up until now, there did not appear to be any evidence that Samsung did more than build its smartphone product based on what it believed would be consumer preferences, a practice that all handset companies have adopted, for obvious reasons. Now it looks like Samsung may have all but torn apart the iPhone to see how its works.
Bank of England Inflation Report
The Bank of England issued its most recent report on inflation and GDP growth forecasts. As might be expected the “Overview of the Inflation Report August 2012″ said that inflation would be muted — not unusual for an economy that is basically in recession:
CPI inflation fell further, standing at 2.4% in June. The near-term outlook is lower than three months ago, reflecting falls in energy prices and some broader-based weakness in price pressures. Under the assumptions that Bank Rate follows a path implied by market interest rates and the size of the asset purchase programme remains at £375 billion, inflation is a little more likely to be below than above the 2% target for much of the second half of the forecast period, as the impact of external price pressures wanes and domestic cost pressures ease
Notes on mid-term growth were pessimistic, which adds to similar concerns among central banks in most countries with large economies:
There remains a range of views among Committee members about the outlook for GDP growth. On the above assumptions, the Committee’s best collective judgement is that the economy will gradually recover, but that GDP growth in the second half of the forecast period is more likely to be below than above its historical average rate. That outlook is weaker than in the May Report reflecting the possibility that the factors contributing to the weakness of growth since the financial crisis may persist. The difficulty of knowing for how long these factors will continue has caused the Committee to widen the GDP fan chart.The level of output is not likely to surpass its pre-crisis level until 2014
In short, write-off 2013.
Spanish Bonds Ding ING Earnings
Shares of big Dutch bank ING Groep NV (NYSE: ING) took a tumble after the firm said its earnings fell 22%, mostly due to exposure to Spain’s sovereign paper. Expect other large EU-based banks to have further trouble based on their holdings of bonds in the nation’s financially weakest nations. According to MarketWatch:
The Netherlands’ largest bank by assets said net profit came in at 1.17 billion euro ($1.45 billion), down from €1.51 billion in the same period a year ago. Earnings were squeezed by higher provisions for bad loans, which rose 78% to €541 million, mainly because of the weakening European economy.
In response to the deteriorating crisis in the euro zone, ING also said it brought down its exposure to Spain to “reduce the funding mismatch in that country.” The total exposure was cut to €34.9 billion by July from €41.1 billion at the end of the first quarter, mainly through selling covered bonds and residential-mortgage-backed securities. ING said that process led to a loss of €234 million.
Douglas A. McIntyre