January 20, 2022

SoftBank Forms Fuel Cell Venture With Silicon Valley Start-Up

But the fuel cell technology — which promised efficient, cleaner and increasingly inexpensive “energy in a box” — intrigued him. After several more visits, Mr. Son was convinced that Bloom’s sleek fuel cell servers were a perfect fit for Japan, energy-poor and made even more so by an almost complete shutdown of its nuclear energy program after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Now, SoftBank, the $70 billion Japanese technology investment company that completed its acquisition of Sprint Nextel this month, is setting up a joint venture with Bloom to bring its energy servers to Japan, helping the start-up break into its first overseas market.

The deal adds yet another piece to SoftBank’s fast-growing Internet, mobile communications and technology empire, which increasingly straddles Japan and the United States. It also adds fuel cell technology to SoftBank’s alternative energy portfolio, which already includes solar and wind projects, bolstering its position as an emerging player in electricity generation in Japan.

“He is a crazy guy, but in a good way. He’s crazy enough to want to completely change the way people live,” Mr. Son said of Bloom’s co-founder and chief executive, KR Sridhar, in a joint phone interview from California early Wednesday. “I’m not looking to get into the electricity business with traditional technology.”

The two companies said they would initially invest $10 million each in a joint venture that would sell Japanese corporations electricity generated by fuel cells, a substantially cleaner and more efficient source of energy than coal or other fossil fuels. Though the venture will focus on Japan for now, it could eventually look farther afield to markets like China, Mr. Son said.

The venture’s biggest selling point is that its fuel cells, placed within a corporation’s own grounds, offer an alternative to using the national power grid. In Japan, that would help companies avoid rising electricity bills. Power companies here have been raising prices to pay for increased fuel imports to make up for their shuttered reactors. Nuclear power generated almost a third of Japan’s electricity before the 2011 tsunami put a major reactor out of commission and caused the Japanese to reconsider running other reactors.

Fuel cell technology complements SoftBank’s other renewable energy projects, Mr. Son said, because it would provide a stable level of electricity to help offset fluctuating power output from solar or wind. SoftBank turned its attention to clean energy after the Fukushima crisis, and has been investing heavily in solar power farms across Japan.

Mr. Sridhar said Japan would be able to better buttress itself against natural calamities by replacing centralized power generation with local energy servers. They are unlikely to be all wiped out at once, and are more rapidly and easily replaceable, he said.

“When you have centralized infrastructure, and a major event like a tsunami happens and the infrastructure happens to be hit, it affects the whole region, the whole country,” Mr. Sridhar said.

“But when you distribute the power, you distribute the risk, too,” he said. “And electricity becomes personal.”

For Bloom, which has spent over a decade developing a new variety of fuel cell, the new foreign venture comes as a welcome validation of its technological potential. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company has raised more than $1 billion in venture capital financing, including early investments from Silicon Valley powerhouses like Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and produces power for a range of companies, including Apple, Google, Walmart and Coca-Cola.

The venture could also open up lucrative new markets, just as falling natural gas prices make fuel cells more economically competitive with grid power.

Fuel cells, which convert natural gas, hydrogen or another fuel into electricity with no burning or combustion, have long offered the promise of cleaner, more plentiful energy. But the need for expensive materials like platinum in fuel cells kept costs high and shortened their longevity.

Mr. Sridhar, a former NASA scientist, learned to make the devices from common materials that will last longer. For example, Bloom’s fuel cells use a thin ceramic wafer made from sand.

Still, Bloom and SoftBank could face increasing competition in their quest to take the technology global. In Japan, a handful of companies have also invested heavily in fuel cell technology and now provide smaller-scale fuel cell batteries for homes. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the industrial giant, is in the early stages of a government-sponsored project to develop large-scale fuel cell power plants.

The joint venture would seem to fill a gap between those two scales of generation in Japan, said Kazunari Sasaki, a fuel cell expert who heads the Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center at Kyushu University. And globally, an increasingly crowded field of fuel cell makers are set to compete along efficiency, cost and durability lines, he said.

Bloom appeared to have the edge, for now, in conversion efficiency, or how efficiently it converts fuel to electricity. The company said its systems provided over 60 percent efficiency at the beginning of their lives, declining to the mid-50s as they mature. Mr. Sasaki said that Japanese fuel cell makers tended to offer about 40 percent fuel efficiency.

“Bloom’s entry into Japan will certainly have a big impact on the industry here,” Mr. Sasaki said. “Over all, I see it as a positive that will spur more competition, investment and technological development.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/business/global/softbank-forms-fuel-cell-venture-with-silicon-valley-start-up.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: Sprint Shares Fall on Report of Possible Counterbid for MetroPCS

Customers lined up to purchase an iPhone at the Sprint store in San Francisco.Eric Risberg/Associated PressCustomers lined up to purchase an iPhone at the Sprint store in San Francisco.

4:50 p.m. | Updated

If Sprint Nextel is seriously weighing a counteroffer for MetroPCS, its shareholders didn’t appear particularly enthusiastic — at least at first.

Shares of Sprint closed down 2.1 percent in trading on Thursday, after Bloomberg News reported that Sprint was weighing a potential challenge to T-Mobile USA’s proposed merger with MetroPCS. The deliberations are at an early stage, according to the news report.

Strangely enough, MetroPCS shares didn’t immediately receive the customary rise that accompanies speculation that another suitor may emerge. Soon after the report, they were down 2.6 percent. The shares, however, rallied late in the trading day, and closed up 3.7 percent, at $12.69.

A spokesman for Sprint declined to comment.

If MetroPCS were to complete its merger with T-Mobile, it would bolster the strength of its business as it battles with larger rivals like Verizon Wireless and ATT. Moreover, it would leave Sprint with few options if it wants to grow through acquisitions, something that the company’s chief executive hinted at last month.

Sprint has been hunting for additional wireless spectrum as it builds out its Long Term Evolution service, which would provide the high data speeds used by the latest generation of smartphones. Many analysts had seen MetroPCS as a good complement, given its abundance of network capacity and its use of the same CDMA cellphone technology.

Sprint and MetroPCS nearly merged earlier this year, in a stock-and-cash deal that was scuppered at the last minute by Sprint’s board.

Industry bankers have said that Sprint may make another run at the company it left at the altar. There aren’t exceptional restrictions preventing such a move: MetroPCS would owe T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom, a $150 million breakup fee if it accepted a deal from another suitor.

But some in the industry expressed skepticism that Sprint would be able to carry out a deal it had already walked away from, despite the benefits that a merger with MetroPCS would bring.

“This deal is substantially more complicated than what was contemplated six months ago, and Deutsche Telekom still wanted to go forward,” one person close to MetroPCS told DealBook on Wednesday.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/sprint-shares-fall-on-report-of-possible-counterbid-for-metropcs/?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: T-Mobile Deal for MetroPCS Adds Pressure on Sprint

By clinching a deal to buy MetroPCS, T-Mobile USA is aiming not only to survive but also to turn up the pressure on its larger rival, Sprint Nextel.

The merger, formally announced on Wednesday, signals a renewed phase of jockeying among cellphone service providers as they race to draw in more smartphone users and upgrade to the latest high-speed data networks. And by taking one of the most attractive takeover targets, MetroPCS, off the table, T-Mobile may have strengthened its hand at the expense of Sprint.

The cellphone service industry is dominated by the virtual duopoly of Verizon Wireless and ATT, which together claim 199 million customers, more than their next six competitors combined. That has left Sprint and T-Mobile to scramble, trying to undercut their big rivals on price even as they seek additional wireless spectrum that would support high-speed data networks.

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The industry has long looked to consolidation to grow; last year, ATT unsuccessfully sought to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion, hoping to gain size and spectrum. Growth via merger also underpinned Sprint’s aborted attempt to buy MetroPCS this year, a transaction scrapped at the 11th hour by Sprint’s reluctant board.

MetroPCS represents a potentially big lost opportunity for Sprint. The two companies use the same network technology (CDMA), which would have made for a relatively smooth integration of customers and devices. T-Mobile runs on GSM, so the company will have to convert MetroPCS’s 9.3 million customers to its technology over the next three years.

CLOSING THE GAP If the parent company of T-Mobile USA buys MetroPCS, the combined unit would have the fourth most cellular subscribers.

The newly enlarged T-Mobile will have about 42.5 million customers, compared with Sprint’s 56 million. But the merger could potentially give T-Mobile additional clout to demand popular devices like the iPhone, which it does not now carry. Adding MetroPCS will also help T-Mobile build out more quickly its Long Term Evolution network, the speedy data standard that powers the latest batch of smartphones.

T-Mobile executives argue that the unified operator can offer unlimited data and cheaper prepaid service plans to more customers.

“When you look at this as an industry, we are the alternative choice for consumers,” John J. Legere, the company’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview. “This can only be good for the industry to think about the competition and consumer.”

T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom, and MetroPCS held on-and-off discussions about a merger for years, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions. But after Sprint’s board vetoed a takeover of the smaller service provider, T-Mobile and MetroPCS met early this summer to begin formal discussions about a deal.

Weeks of negotiations ensued, leading to a structure in which Deutsche Telekom would own 74 percent of the combined entity through a complicated stock swap. Existing MetroPCS shareholders will also receive $1.5 billion through a special dividend, worth about $4.09 a share.

And while antitrust officials fiercely opposed ATT’s takeover of T-Mobile, people involved in the MetroPCS transaction argued that Wednesday’s deal was more likely to pass regulatory muster. Instead of fortifying one of the country’s biggest service providers, it will bolster one of its weaker ones.

A spokesman for Sprint declined to comment.

With T-Mobile claiming MetroPCS, Sprint is likely to find itself even harder pressed to build out its next-generation network and pitch itself as the dominant low-cost service provider. Sprint’s chief executive, Daniel R. Hesse, has said he expects to participate in mergers within the industry, but few attractive takeover targets remain.

Shares in Leap Wireless International, a smaller competitor often cited as a likely deal partner, plummeted nearly 18 percent on Wednesday, as investors shook off hopes that it would be acquired anytime soon. The company, a prepaid service provider, operates largely in less-attractive markets and is in the midst of a turnaround effort.

“I don’t think that Leap would provide all that much,” Charles S. Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research, said by telephone.

While some analysts have speculated about whether Sprint would try to outbid T-Mobile for MetroPCS, some industry deal makers were skeptical of the company’s will to revisit a target it had already left at the altar.

Sprint is still scarred by the merger that produced its current incarnation: its 2005 union with Nextel Communications, an example still used in business schools as a classic case of a bad deal.

The tie-up was marred by incompatible phone networks and infighting. As a result, Sprint slipped further behind Verizon and ATT in market share.

Sprint may still pursue deals, especially as a way to add to its stores of spectrum, without resorting to full-on mergers. Analysts and deal specialists say one potential seller is Clearwire, which already helps provides a high-speed data network to Sprint.

Another is Dish Network, which has an abundance of spectrum but has been unable to set up its own mobile phone network. The company’s chairman, Charles W. Ergen, hinted at an industry conference that with T-Mobile out of the running as a potential partner, he would be open to others.

“Sometimes when one door closes, a window opens somewhere else,” he said, according to a report in The Denver Post.

Analysts have floated one more, bolder, possibility: buying the newly enlarged T-Mobile, creating a third major company to combat Verizon and ATT. Industry bankers disagree on whether such a deal would be opposed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Brian X. Chen contributed reporting.

A version of this article appeared in print on 10/04/2012, on page B4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: T-Mobile to Acquire MetroPCS, Increasing Pressure on Sprint.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/t-mobile-deal-for-metropcs-increases-pressure-on-sprint/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Business Briefing | Company News: Sprint Nextel Overhauls Executive Roles

Opinion »

Disunion: Lincoln’s Audacious Plan

The president’s scheme to buy Delaware’s slaves might seem outlandish, but it was in keeping with his anti-slavery position.

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Appeals Court Upholds Law on Surveillance

However, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also revived a separate lawsuit against the government over its surveillance activities.

Several lawsuits were filed after revelations about warrantless wiretapping asserted that telecom companies provided federal authorities with direct access to nearly all communications passing through their domestic facilities.

Besides the government itself, defendants included ATT, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications.

In 2008, Congress granted telecommunications companies immunity for cooperating with the government’s intelligence-gathering activities. A district judge in San Francisco upheld the law as constitutional and dismissed the claims against the companies.

In a ruling on Thursday, a unanimous three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit agreed. Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading plaintiff in both cases, said no decision had been made on whether to appeal the ruling.

A spokesman for the Justice Department, which defended the immunity provision, declined to comment, as did a Verizon spokesman. Representatives from ATT and Sprint did not respond to a request for comment.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the argument that immunity closed the courts to the plaintiffs. Only the telecommunications companies are covered, she wrote, not the government.

“The federal courts remain a forum to consider the constitutionality of the wiretapping scheme and other claims,” she wrote.

In a separate ruling, the appeals court on Thursday allowed a separate case against the government to proceed, in which plaintiffs say that the National Security Agency engaged in “an unprecedented suspicionless general search,” diverting Internet traffic into secure rooms in ATT facilities.

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Apple iPhone Faces Android, and Split Loyalties

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Apple announcement, more people buy smartphones running Google’s Android operating system than buy Apple phones. Android’s share of new smartphone sales is now more than double Apple’s share, a striking change from a year ago, when the two were roughly even, and a reflection of how Android phones have improved and become more broadly available.

In this altered competitive landscape, any new phone from Apple will have to stack up favorably against the most popular Android phones. Even app developers, many of whom once devoted all their energy to building for the iPhone, now have more divided loyalties.

“The more the Android platform matures, the more it becomes a real competitor,” said Mike Novak, an Android engineer at GroupMe, a group messaging service that has over a million users. “It’d be foolish not to support both Apple and Android.”

Yet Apple, by many measures, still remains the smartphone player to beat, with better profits from the business, huge influence among mobile app makers and innovations that rivals scramble to copy.

Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone with a variety of slick new features, but the product could also get a lift from an old-fashioned distribution deal. Apple has struck a deal with Sprint Nextel to offer the new iPhone to its customers, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who was not authorized to speak about the arrangement.

The agreement could help blunt some of the distribution advantages that have helped propel Google’s Android into more and more smartphones. Until now, Apple phones have been available in the United States only on ATT and Verizon.

Apple also faces another big challenge in releasing a new iPhone: it has to top itself. It must show it can still deliver enough of the cutting-edge features that have made the company a trend-setter.

“They set the bar,” said Phil Libin, the chief executive of Evernote, a start-up that makes a mobile note-taking app, who said he had no knowledge of Apple’s new phone. “Android and other devices have had to catch up.”

Analysts widely expect the new iPhone to include a faster microprocessor for running applications at a greater speed, along with a more powerful camera. Some have speculated that Apple might finally include big improvements in the voice recognition capabilities of the new phone using technology the company acquired when it bought Siri, a start-up, last year.

Some have also speculated that Apple might introduce more than one phone, including one with fewer new features that could sell for $99 with a carrier contract.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment before Tuesday’s event, which is to take place at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

In the second quarter, handsets running the Android system accounted for 43.4 percent of worldwide smartphone sales, compared with 18.2 percent for Apple, according to the research firm Gartner. During the same period last year, the two companies were roughly neck-in-neck, with Android and Apple holding 17.2 percent and 14.1 percent of the market, respectively.

For both companies, growth in market share has come at the expense of technology laggards like Symbian, the mobile software backed by Nokia, and Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, rather than each other.

Despite its smaller share of the market, Apple earns outsize profits. Thanks to its comparatively healthy profit margins, Apple had about half of the operating profits in the mobile handset business in the first quarter of the year, even though its sales accounted for only 4.9 percent of the phones sold, according to a recent report by the analyst Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity.

Apple could get a boost from its new relationship with Sprint, which may have a card up its sleeve to lure customers — its unlimited mobile data plan. That plan allows cellphone users to gorge themselves on streaming media services like Spotify and Netflix, without worrying about accidentally going over the monthly allotment. ATT and Verizon both have monthly limits on the data its iPhone customers can consume.

A Sprint spokesperson declined to comment.

Android’s surge in the market means app developers are splitting more of their time between the competing phone systems. Mr. Novak, the engineer at GroupMe, who also helps organize a monthly gathering in New York for Android developers, said Apple would need to impress developers, as it did with the iPhone 4, if the company hoped to persuade them to stay committed to the iPhone.

“It really comes down to the wow factor,” Mr. Novak said. “Without that, it leaves the door wide open for whatever announcements Google plans to make.”

Adam Goldstein, a founder of a flight search engine called Hipmunk, said the company decided to release a version of its mobile application for Android earlier this month after watching the popularity of the platform grow.

“We definitely did the iPhone first,” he said. “But requests kept coming in from the Android side.”

Mr. Goldstein said the company was dividing its programming resources equally between Android and Apple phones.

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Digital Domain: Sprint’s Unlimited Data Plan, and the Challenges Ahead

Brave little Sprint, with about a 15 percent market share, is our best hope for keeping a piece of the mobile Internet free of meters. But if data gluttons are the only ones who partake of Sprint’s feast, unmetered service will be unsustainable.

“The simplicity and peace of mind from unlimited services at one consistent price must attract mainstream users, not just outliers,” says Will Souder, Sprint’s vice president for pricing.

Mr. Souder compares Sprint’s business to that of a pizzeria that offers an all-you-can-eat lunch. “If I come in and eat eight pieces, that needs to be balanced by my sister coming and eating at the salad bar,” he says.

Three years ago, Sprint introduced its “Simply Everything” plan for $99.99 — covering, within the United States, unlimited voice calls, data and text messages. “When we launched, we had a lot of trepidation,” Mr. Souder says, “but we were pleasantly surprised with the number of relatively light users who were willing to pay more for this plan.”

If Sprint Nextel’s financial results were showing a nicely profitable business, humming in the shadows of its much bigger rivals, Verizon Wireless and ATT, customers who hate meters could rejoice.

Unfortunately, the company has not posted annual net profits since 2006. Mr. Souder says the unlimited plans have not contributed to the losses, saying Sprint has had four consecutive quarters of growth in average revenue per user and has reversed a trend of losing customers.

Sprint has been monitoring use patterns and costs, and in January it increased the price of “Everything” plans for newly activated smartphones by $10 a month. The move has helped the company keep its business on a healthy, sustainable foundation, Mr. Souder says.

Sprint is behaving more like some carriers across the Atlantic. Smaller operators in Europe “tend to be more aggressive in pricing strategies” and are using unlimited data plans to differentiate their offerings from larger rivals, says Thomas Tschentscher, a partner at the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer who specializes in telecommunications.

In the United States, T-Mobile sells “unlimited” plans, too, but it throttles back the download speeds when data use passes a certain threshold each month.

Mr. Tschentscher says that in Europe, data throttling is all but absent. “Because of the interoperability of the handsets, customers in Europe can easily switch carriers,” he says. “So it would be a competitive disadvantage for a carrier to impose throttling down if the others don’t.”

Sprint says its network hasn’t been swamped by too many users wanting to watch movies or television shows on Android phones. “Long-form video on the handset today is still in its infancy,” Mr. Souder says. Of course, tablets are a different matter — and that’s why Sprint has never extended unlimited data plans to them.

Asked what happens when smartphone screens become larger and some tablet computers become smaller, blurring the boundaries between the two, Mr. Souder said Sprint would “constantly evaluate our pricing strategy.”

Sprint’s network has accommodated the arrival of Android phones. The iPhone may come to Sprint next month, if rumors on tech blogs prove accurate. Mr. Souder declined to respond to questions about how his network could absorb a sharp spike in data use if Sprint — speaking only hypothetically, of course — were to add an unnamed, but very, very popular smartphone.

Some independent analysts see nothing but difficulties ahead for Sprint. Craig E. Moffett, a vice president and senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Company, says scale is essential to this business and is the reason that the only profitable major carriers are ATT and Verizon Wireless.

Mr. Moffett notes that Sprint has $4 billion in debt that will soon mature. It is also the majority owner of Clearwire, whose half-built 4G network covers only half the United States population. To have 4G cover the next 40 percent of the population, spread across a much wider area, it will have to build eight times as much infrastructure as required for the first phase, he says, adding: “It can’t afford to abandon Clearwire but it can’t afford to finish it either.”

If Sprint doesn’t complete the next-generation network, it won’t be able to keep unlimited data plans for long, Mr. Moffett says, because “the burden on the 3G network will be too great.”

There are no signs that Sprint will pull back from unlimited data, at least for now. In fact, the company seems to be staking its identity on the appeal of all-you-can-eat pricing. It may even expand the concept further.

Speaking at the Dive Into Mobile conference last December, Daniel R. Hesse, Sprint Nextel’s C.E.O., talked about the logical next step: including the phone, tablet, PC, e-reader and whatever in a single plan. The idea was mentioned merely as a possibility, and it was not clear whether it would be feasible to have unlimited data for multiple devices on one plan — the ultimate in simplicity.

Sprint’s unmetered wireless business needs more customers to reach scale. Salad eaters who like one worry-free, all-you-can-eat price are especially welcome at the table.

Randall Stross is an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University. E-mail: stross@nytimes.com.

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Wall Street Gains Push Dow Up for the Year

On the last day of one of the most tumultuous months for equities this year, the only dip in stocks came from the telecommunications sector, which was dragged down nearly 3 percent by shares of ATT after the news broke that the United States Justice Department would seek to block its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

Otherwise, new data on factory orders and jobs set investors up for a higher trading session that carried over gains from markets in Asia and Europe. The markets finished higher on Tuesday, despite reports on consumer confidence and housing that showed a mixed economic recovery.

On Wednesday, the three main indexes were more than 1 percent higher in the first hour of trading, although their gains were soon tempered by the news of government efforts to block ATT’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, which would create the largest carrier in the country.

In early afternoon trading, ATT shares dipped more than 4 percent, dragging down the overall telecom sector by about 1.5 percent. A rival, Sprint Nextel, was up by more than 7 percent and was the most widely traded share in that sector.

The news about ATT came at the end of a month characterized by high volatility, as choppy economic data renewed discussions about whether the economy was headed for another recession. Concerns about euro zone debt problems and fiscal uncertainty in the United States were among the factors adding to the rough trading.

Wild swings of hundreds of points have set back the three main indexes 3 to 5 percent in the month to date. But on Wednesday, the Dow gained enough ground to turn positive for the year, and in the early afternoon was up 86.96 points, or 0.8 percent, to 11,646.91. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index, up almost 0.9 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index, up 0.5 percent, were still negative for the year through August, however.

The gains were played out in a market that has been oversold in the past month, said Anthony G. Valeri, a senior vice president and market strategist for LPL Financial.

“It was due for a bounce,” he said of Wednesday’s trading. Whether the gains can be sustained, though, “depends on data and events out of Europe,” Mr. Valeri said.

On Wednesday, a report from the United States Commerce Department showed that factory orders for July rose sharply, at 2.4 percent the largest increase since March. Demand for automobiles and commercial airplane orders propelled the orders.

A report on jobs on Wednesday, this one from ADP Employer Services, showed new jobs on private payrolls totaled 91,000 for August, below forecasts.

Those reports were released ahead of one of the most closely watched data releases the Labor Department’s national report on the job situation on Friday. Analysts were forecasting 70,000 in new nonfarm payroll jobs for August, compared with 117,000 the previous month, while the unemployment rate of 9.1 percent was not expected to change, according to a survey by Bloomberg News. “We are still not seeing job losses, which is what you would see in a recession,” Mr. Valeri said.

Goldman Sachs economists said in a research report that the A.D.P. report, which is used to help estimate the outcome of the national report, could mean lower forecasts for Friday’s numbers.A Federal Reserve report this week that said policy makers earlier this month considered changing the size or composition of the Fed’s balance sheet and reducing the interest rate paid on banks’ excess reserve balances has refocused investors’ attention on the Fed’s next meeting in September. Fed policy makers have agreed to consider other options at that meeting. But some analysts said the Fed might need more information before deciding on further stimulus.

“I think the Fed will want to see more data to prove inflation is stabilizing and the economy might be weaker than expected,” said Mr. Valeri.

The yield on the Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note was little changed at 2.195 percent.

Crude futures for October traded in New York were up 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $89.36 a barrel. Gold on the Comex was up 0.4 percent at $1,834 an ounce.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX each gained 2.4 percent. In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 3.1 percent. Asia closed broadly higher.

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