Moody’s negative on nation
Moody’s on Monday switched the outlook on its “B3” rating for Argentina from stable to negative, warning of haphazard economic policies and a lack of progress in debt talks. A drop below “B3” into the “C” rating range would indicate that Moody’s believes Argentina is vulnerable to default. Argentina has almost US$9 billion in overdue debt to the Paris Club of government creditors. Moody’s said it also believed there would be a continued “haphazard policy environment, evidenced most recently in the nationalization without compensation of YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company, and import controls that have stalled economic growth.”
Investor confidence rises
Last month saw German investor confidence rose for the first time in five months, after the European Central Bank unveiled a plan to buy government bonds to stem the sovereign debt crisis. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments in the next six months, climbed to minus-18.2 from minus-25.5 last month. Economists forecast a gain to minus-20, according to the median of 41 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Merck pulls out Erbitux
German pharmaceuticals maker Merck KGaA yesterday said it was withdrawing its application for its drug Erbitux to be used to treat patients with lung cancer. Merck said in a statement it had decided to “voluntarily withdraw the marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency” for Erbitux to be used to treat patients with advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Merck KGaA had already said in July that phase III clinical trials of Erbitux for treatment of gastric cancer drug had shown no benefits of the drug for patients.
Google acquires Snapseed
Google has snapped up the digital photo editing service Snapseed as part of its effort to compete against Facebook’s online social network. Snapseed is the centerpiece of Google’s acquisition of Nik Software, which developed the service’s photo-editing technology. Google did not disclose the terms of the Nik Software acquisition. San Diego-based Nik Software says more than 9 million people use Snapseed’s application for the iPhone and iPad.
Former Elf chief on trial
Loik Le Floch-Prigent, former chief of French oil giant Elf, has been charged with accessory to fraud in the West African nation of Togo after appearing before a judge, his lawyer said yesterday. The former Elf CEO faced questioning from a Togolese judge for about three hours on Monday after being extradited from Ivory Coast in the fraud probe. The investigation involves a complaint from an Emirati businessman who alleges he was the victim of a US$48 million fraud.
AMD finance chief quits
Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD), the second-largest maker of processors for PCs, said chief financial officer (CFO) Thomas Seifert was leaving the company to seek other opportunities. Corporate controller Devinder Kumar was appointed as interim CFO until a replacement can be found, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in a statement on Monday. Seifert’s resignation takes effect on Sept. 28.