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26 February 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • U.S. shutdown is likely if stopgap isn't passed soon
    Finger pointing between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans focuses on an $85 billion sequestration set to take effect Friday, but the price of deadlock could become much higher a few weeks later. The U.S. government could be forced to shut down if Congress doesn't adopt an interim funding measure by March 27. Bloomberg (26 Feb.), Reuters (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Reader Survey 
  • Xi Jinping and others in China's new leadership team highlighted several policy goals in the 18th party congress in November. These likely will be ratified in next week's National People's Congress. In your view, which of the following policy goals is the most important?
Lowering the GDP share of infrastructure, investment spending and net exports, while increasing consumption
Fighting corruption, eliminating bureaucracy and encouraging government officials to conduct themselves honorably
Improving social fairness and income equality within the "scientific development" framework
Reforming the capital markets as well as liberalizing the renminbi and interest rates

  Market Activity 
  • Fear of deadlock in Italy drives down Asian-Pacific markets
    Asian-Pacific markets fell Tuesday as investors considered the implications of the Italian general elections that left no party with enough votes to form a government. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 2.3%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 1%. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3%. China's Shanghai Composite gave up 1.4%. India's Sensex was down 1.6%. MarketWatch (26 Feb.), The Economic Times (India) (26 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.K. bonds strengthen despite sovereign-rating cut
    Bond investors have demonstrated that they are unconcerned by Moody's Investors Service's removal of Britain's AAA bond rating. On the first day of trading after the downgrade, U.K. debt outperformed Germany's AAA-rated bonds. Bloomberg (26 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  • Germany and France demand that Cyprus swiftly enact reform
    With conservative Nicos Anastasiades elected as Cyprus' president, Germany and France are pressuring him to move promptly on financial and economic reform, as the price of their support for an EU bailout. "We are confident that the forthcoming government will significantly accelerate the pace of reforms to sustainable growth and to fiscal and financial stability, which are in the interest of Cyprus and the euro area as a whole," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in a joint statement. Spiegel Online (Germany) (25 Feb.), Cyprus Mail (25 Feb.), (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ability to retire worries Americans, survey finds
    A poll by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that 55% of Americans are "very concerned" that the economy is undercutting their prospects for retirement. Meanwhile, 30% said they are "somewhat concerned" about whether they will be able to retire. The Washington Post (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • BoJ road show urges banks to boost business lending
    Bank of Japan officials have finished a 10-city tour to encourage banks to increase low-cost loans to businesses to revive the economy. The central bank plans to launch a program in June to make unlimited, cheap, long-term funds available to local and regional banks if they request the money for corporate loans. Reuters (26 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analysis: Support builds for social-impact bonds
    Interest is growing in social-impact bonds, which pay investors and private entities variable returns based on success in delivering public services, according to The Economist. "The hardest questions concern the returns that investors will demand if SIBs are to attract serious amounts of money. ... These are still early days, but big ideas often start small," the magazine notes. The Economist (tiered subscription model) (23 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Advisers are at risk as aging clients lose mental capacity
    With the leading edge of 78 million baby boomers at age 67, financial advisers are increasingly at risk because of clients' diminished mental capacity. U.S. advisers have few state, federal or industry guidelines to rely on when they have to cope with practical, ethical and legal challenges presented by a client with mild or moderate dementia. "As we move to a fiduciary standard, this is a gigantic bull's-eye," said Thomas West of Signature Estate & Investment Advisers. InvestmentNews (free registration) (24 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Global transaction tax is possible, EU official says
    EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta says a global tax on financial transactions eventually should be a reality, as he encourages U.S. supporters to continue their efforts. The U.S. Treasury Department remains opposed. Meanwhile, the head of the Lisbon Stock Exchange has called on the Portuguese government to oppose Europe's proposed tax until all EU members support it. Bloomberg (26 Feb.), Reuters (25 Feb.), The Trade News (U.K.) (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CFTC will hold round table to discuss Libor changes
    The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has scheduled a round table Tuesday to consider possible changes to the London Interbank Offered Rate. Industry participants including representatives from CME Group, NYSE Euronext and IntercontinentalExchange are expected to attend. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler has expressed concern about benchmark interest rates. Meanwhile, the U.K. government has started seeking a body to take over supervision of Libor. Bloomberg (26 Feb.), City A.M. (London) (26 Feb.), Bloomberg Businessweek (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • German proposal would more tightly regulate HFT
    Legislation in Germany would require high-frequency traders to get authorization from financial regulator BaFin, a coalition source says. The proposal stops short of requiring traders to hold onto purchases for a minimum length of time. Reuters (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • International accounting panel offers U.S. a seat
    The International Accounting Standards Board, to gain credibility and encourage the accounting community to adopt its rules, is offering the U.S. a seat on its newly established 12-nation forum. The IASB's inability to persuade the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board to adopt its rules has left the organization in a difficult position, with lessening influence and little funding. Reuters (25 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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