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29 November 2012
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  Top Stories 
  • German and U.K. officials delve into Libor issues
    A German banking regulator told lawmakers that banks more than likely manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate. At a hearing, parliamentarians also questioned Deutsche Bank officials about rate rigging. Meanwhile, U.K. officials are seeking feedback on a plan to restructure Libor. Among changes proposed are legal authority applied to the way the rate is set and criminal penalties for manipulation. Separately, Barclays dismissed five employees and disciplined eight others after an internal investigation of Libor rigging. Bloomberg (28 Nov.), Reuters (28 Nov.), Bloomberg Businessweek (28 Nov.), The Wall Street Journal (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Obama calls for extension of middle-class tax cut
    U.S. President Barack Obama said both political parties agree on taxes for the middle class and that Congress should take action before Christmas on a measure to extend the middle-class tax cut to next year. House Speaker John Boehner said he was optimistic a deal to head off the "fiscal cliff" could be reached. Forbes (28 Nov.), Reuters (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Reader Survey 
  • Do you think Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa will succeed in overcoming persistent deflation by engineering mild inflation next year? (The existing target is 1%.)
    No  63.07%
    Not sure  20.40%
    Yes  16.53%
  • Poll analysis: Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa recently reaffirmed his position that the central bank will pursue monetary easing until the inflation target of 1% is achieved. Like many things in the world of investing, an established reality -- in this case, more than 20 years of deflation in Japan -- is not easily altered. This week's survey results reveal that about 63% of 593 respondents think Shirakawa will not succeed in overcoming Japan's ongoing deflation. To compound matters, Japan's current-account surplus has been shrinking. If it turns negative, the Bank of Japan might have even bigger problems to battle. -- Ron Rimkus, CFA, Content Director, CFA Institute LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Market Activity 
  • Hope for "fiscal cliff" deal boosts Asian-Pacific markets
    Most Asian-Pacific markets advanced Thursday after President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner said they were confident the U.S. "fiscal cliff" could be avoided. Japan's Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index each gained 1%. South Korea's Kospi rose 1.2%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 moved up 0.7%. Taiwan's Taiex added 0.9%. India's Sensex was up 1.8% at mid-afternoon. China's Shanghai Composite bucked the trend falling 0.5%. MarketWatch (29 Nov.), The Economic Times (India) (05 Dec.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China's rebounding growth leads to copper shortage
    China's recovery from seven quarters of declining growth is creating demand for copper that substantially exceeds supply and is driving up prices worldwide. On the London Metal Exchange, copper's price has risen 2.6% this year and could be 6.4% higher in Q2 2013, according to estimates by analysts and traders. Bloomberg (29 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Argentina gets more time to battle $1.3B bond payment
    A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that Argentina doesn't have to pay $1.3 billion to foreign creditors holding its defaulted bonds while it fights a lower court decision. The earlier ruling ordered Argentina to make the payment next month. The appeals court will take up the case in February. BBC (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Low yield in Italian bond sale signals resilience
    Italy provided an encouraging sign through a sale of six-month bills. The government sold €7.5 billion worth at the lowest yield on a comparable note in more than two years. "From a pricing perspective, Italy has overcome the eurozone crisis," said Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy. However, Spiro says Italy's troubles remain, with "an economy in deep recession." Bloomberg Businessweek (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  • Likelihood of ECB rate cut is uncertain
    Among economists polled, it's a coin toss whether the European Central Bank will cut its main interest rate early in 2013, though few expect a cut next week. Meanwhile, a member of the ECB's Governing Council says a cut cannot be ruled out. Reuters (28 Nov.), MarketWatch (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • France has buyer for troubled steel plant, minister says
    French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said the government has found an investor ready to spend more than $500 million to modernize ArcelorMittal's huge steelworks plant in Florange, in northeast France, and keep it in operation. He said the government will temporarily nationalize the plant if ArcelorMittal shuts it down. Reuters (28 Nov.), Bloomberg (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Retail sales in Japan decrease the most in 11 months
    Japanese retail sales fell 1.2% last month compared with October 2011, the sharpest decline in 11 months, the trade ministry said. Worried about a slowing economy, the government says it is planning a second round of stimulus. Bloomberg (29 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • South China Sea dispute drives U.S. involvement in Asia
    Conflicting claims by China and its neighbors to large areas of the South China Sea largely account for a U.S. strategic shift to Asia, including a visit by President Barack Obama, according to The Economist. "Indeed, it is anxiety over China's new assertiveness as much as economic opportunity that is prompting America's deepening engagement in the region," the magazine notes. "Mr Obama's quick visit to Thailand, where he signed new military agreements, reflected this." The Economist (24 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Volcker rule finalization is unlikely before next year
    Regulators are not expected to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for issuing the final draft of the Volcker rule. Previous drafts have been several hundred pages long, and the rule requires approval by five agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. CNBC (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. regulator will meet ahead of Schapiro's departure
    The U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council is scheduled to meet Monday in a closed session. At a Nov. 13 meeting, the council drafted three proposals for how the Securities and Exchange Commission could overhaul money market mutual funds. The Treasury Department didn't release an agenda for Monday's meeting, which will come 11 days before council member Mary Schapiro steps down as SEC chairman. Bloomberg Businessweek (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Australia plans to phase in market-integrity rules
    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will introduce rules during the next 18 months designed to shore up market integrity, though critics say market players will find the measures costly. Among the rules are kill switches, stricter pricing and reporting standards for dark pools and tough regulations for high-frequency traders. The Trade News (U.K.) (28 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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