The European Central Bank (ECB) is leaving rates unchanged and is not altering its asset-purchase program. The ECB will continue to buy 80 billion Euros ($90.4 billion) worth of public and private securities throughout the Eurosystem. The ECB’s asset-purchase program will cease in March 2017 unless the central bank extends it. The program is likely to continue beyond next year as inflation remains subdued in the Eurosystem well under 2%.
Apple unveiled its new iPhone 7, which will come with a slew of new features including a better camera, water resistance, faster processor, and enhanced battery life. Rumors were confirmed with the subtraction of the headphone jack, and the iPhone 7 will exclusively use wireless headphones. Apple hopes iPhone users will purchase its new wireless headphones called AirPods costing $159. Reviews were mixed with many believing the AirPods will be easy to lose.
Ireland will forge ahead with its appeal of the European Commission’s ruling that the country has to collect 13 billion Euros ($14.7 billion) of taxes from Apple. Ireland maintains a relatively low corporate tax rate in order to attract investment, and U.S. companies like Apple have taken advantage of its tax policies. Ireland stands to lose foreign investment if it loses its appeal.
It looks like Snapchat will be going public either later this year or in early 2017. Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion back in 2013, and Google offered $4 billion. The company now commands a valuation in excess of $20 billion. Snapchat is attractive to investors and advertisers because of its young user base. The app has over 100 million daily active users.
Google was granted an additional two weeks to defend itself against the European Union’s charges of the company acting as a trust. Echoing Microsoft’s charges 20 years ago, the European Union’s antitrust charges stem from Google’s Android operating system coming preinstalled with the Google Chrome web browser and other apps. Google faces fines in excess of $7 billion if the charges stick.