Here are today's top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.
Stocks are more than a percent higher in Hong Kong after China reported its economic growth was 9.5 percent last quarter. Just to give you some context, U.S. GDP last quarter was 1.8 percent.
U.S. import prices fell in June for the first time in a year as petroleum and food costs tumbled, according to a government report Wednesday that suggested the commodity-driven spike in inflation was abating.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said this morning that the number of people applying for mortgages fell 5 percent last week even though a standard home loan now comes with a historically low interest rate of just 4.5 percent.
The International Energy Agency said today world oil demand will increase next year. By nearly 1.5 million barrels per day.
Capital One Financial says its second-quarter profit climbed 50 percent. The financial services company is also announcing a $2 billion stock offering.
Today we'll hear about slow growth, as well as the European debt crisis and of course the debt ceiling debate from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who testifies at a House hearing.
Italy's finance minister says the government's package of austerity measures will be strengthened and passed in both houses by Friday.
Today is the deadline for eight of the country's largest mortgage servicers including Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase to submit new plans to the government on how they'll handle foreclosures going forward. This is related to the settlement being negotiated between the lenders and all 50 states over how foreclosures were handled, or mishandled after the housing market collapse.
Senator Jay Rockefeller is calling for a U.S. investigation to see if there was any phone hacking done in this country by Rupert Murdoch's media holdings -- the Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel and the New York Post. That's after a hacking scandal has thrown a wrench into Murdoch's plans to buy a major British broadcaster.
This from a New York Subway rider advocacy group: One in three payphones in the city's underground subway stations didn't work when tested last summer. Verizon operates most of those phones and says it fixes them within 24 hours of an outage being reported. You might ask of course, who the heck uses payphones nowadays anyway? Considering your cell phone is useless in underground New York, those payphones are a pretty important connection.
For all those who believe New York or London or even Los Angeles is the most expensive city to live in the world you'd be wrong by a long shot. New York came in at number 32 on the list compiled by the consultant firm the Mercer Group, which looks at food and housing costs among other things. LA is number 77 on the list. But the most expensive city in the world? Luanda, Angola. Where high inflation means a small 2-bedroom apartment goes for the low low price of $,7000 a month. Unfurnished, of course.
Forget 3D movies. The new thing is 4D which adds things you smell and feel to theater experience. A blogger In Seoul, South Korea, recently saw a 4D screening of Kung Fu Panda 2. He said the seats have massage chair motors that punch you lightly in the kidneys when the main character gets hit. But some viewers weren't thrilled by 4D. They complained of nausea while watching Transformers after a burnt rubber smell was pumped into the theater.
You can read the rest of today's stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.