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November 29, 2012
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  Top Stories 
  • Financial CEOs troop to White House to discuss budget talks
    Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein and other financial CEOs were scheduled to meet Wednesday at the White House with President Barack Obama to go over their ideas on U.S. budget talks. The meetings followed the CEOs' earlier chats with Republican House Speaker John Boehner as markets and investors await word on whether Washington can manage to avoid automatic and harsh budget cuts and tax increases. "I am optimistic that we can continue to work together to avert this crisis sooner rather than later," Boehner said. Bloomberg (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Latest U.S. home sales data unexpectedly negative
    A shadow of doubt was cast over recent signs of recovery in the key U.S. housing market with an unexpected decline of 0.3% in October sales of new homes and a downward revision in September's numbers. Nonetheless, noting volatility in new-home sales data, "we are not changing our view that a modest recovery in home sales, construction activity and prices is well under way," said economists John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros of RDQ Economics in New York. Bloomberg (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • France's last triple-A credit rating on the line
    France's last triple-A credit rating could be in jeopardy next year if its economy stalls and the country fails to meet budget targets, Fitch says. "We think it is challenging for France to hit its 3% deficit for 2013, particularly given its anemic growth prospects," said Tony Stringer, managing director of Fitch's sovereign rating group. The Economic Times (India)/Reuters (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Spanish banks go under the knife as part of eurozone bailout
    Substantial belt-tightening is in store for four Spanish banks under conditions set for the country's eurozone rescue, according to the European Commission. Three of the banks, which have been nationalized, will see their balance sheets cut by more than half over five years while job cuts and losses for creditor bondholders are imposed. The fourth bank will be sold. Reuters (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Eurozone lending declines again in October
    The eurozone's latest recession kicked off with a 0.7% drop in private lending in October, extending a 0.9% decline in the previous month, the European Central Bank reported. "Despite the ECB's efforts to improve monetary-policy transmission, there are still wide differences in lending rates and many banks are still reluctant to extend credit given the recessionary environment," observed Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London. Bloomberg Businessweek (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Barclays fires 5, punishes 8 after its own Libor probe
    Five employees have been fired and eight more disciplined by Barclays after the bank's internal probe of Libor rigging. Rich Ricci, chief executive of corporate and investment banking, said that many others identified in the investigation had already left the bank and that Barclays had informed authorities. Reuters (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
    European and U.S. stocks advanced Wednesday as investors focused on the latest indications for success in U.S. budget talks to avert a fiscal crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 managed a 0.11% gain to 273.15, and the S&P 500 added 0.79% to 1,409.93. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (11/29) , The Wall Street Journal (11/28) , CNNMoney (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asia stocks slide amid mounting concern on U.S. budget
    Deepening worries over the consequences of failure in U.S. budget negotiations put a damper on stocks across Asia on Wednesday. The Nikkei fell 1.22% to 9,308.35, the Hang Seng dropped 0.62% to 21,708.98, the Kospi was down 0.65% at 1,912.78 and the S&P/ASX eased 0.21% to 4,447.30. Bloomberg Businessweek (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • South Korean business confidence at lowest ebb in nearly 4 years
    Record household debt domestically and the twin overseas worries posed by a U.S. budget deadline and the eurozone crisis contributed to a decline in South Korean business confidence to a nearly four-year low. The Federation of Korean Industries' business index for December fell to 82, the lowest reading since the 76.1 registered for March 2009. The Korea Herald (Seoul) (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Philippine economic growth accelerates unexpectedly
    The Philippine economy apparently responded to recent central bank rate cuts with a surprisingly strong third quarter as GDP growth jumped to an annual 7.1%, improving on 6% growth in the previous quarter. "The Philippines is going to rock. The central bank and the government have made timely policy adjustments that are boosting trend growth," said Trinh Nguyen, a Hong Kong-based economist at HSBC Holdings, who predicted a steady rate course for the central bank. Bloomberg Businessweek (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China seen loosening monetary policy cautiously in 2013
    Facing less pressure from inflation, China's central bank is likely to step forward with a looser monetary policy and lower interest rates in the new year, says Chen Dongqi, a senior researcher with China's top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission. But with some economists warning that major stimulus could lead to problems later in the year, Chen said caution is in order for any substantial changes in monetary or fiscal policy. Jones Newswires (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Southeast Asia drawing major interest from insurers
    With life insurance premiums across Southeast Asia projected to rise 6.6% next year to address demand from a growing middle class, insurance companies are rushing into the region, which offers considerably better prospects than more developed markets. Malaysia's AMMB Holdings, for instance, is expected to attract major global interest in its plans to sell a 30% stake in its life insurance unit. The Wall Street Journal (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Japan bond yields plunge ahead of elections
    Expectations of imminent central bank easing after next month's snap elections in Japan have thrust yields on the country's 10-year bonds to a nine-year low. "I expect to see 10-year yields drop below 0.7%. Everybody knows that the government and the central bank have to boost stimulus to exit deflation and weaken the yen," said Tetsuya Miura, chief market analyst at Mizuho Securities. Bloomberg Businessweek (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hong Kong IPO for China's PICC seen pricing low
    The Hong Kong initial public offering of People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China -- one of the largest globally this year -- is likely to price near the low end of its range, sources said. Investors cite the range itself, from HK$3.43 to HK$4.03, which means a valuation between 1.65 times and 1.86 times PICC's forecast 2012 embedded value. The Wall Street Journal (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  People & Personalities 
  • Bo Kratz joins Northern Trust in Hong Kong post
    Northern Trust has signed on Bo Kratz as managing director for asset management in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan. Kratz comes to the job from his Singapore post as Asia chief for U.S. alternative investment firm Permal. He will now be based in Hong Kong and head a team managing $50 billion in assets. (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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