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01 March 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • Congress gives up on efforts to avoid sequestration
    Hopes of averting $85 billion of spending cuts set to take effect Friday disappeared as Congress left the U.S. Capitol for the weekend. Congressional leaders are scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday to talk about the matter, but Obama has offered little optimism that the effort will accomplish anything. In the House, Republicans are now focused on the March 27 deadline for preventing a government shutdown. The Washington Post (28 Feb.), CNN (01 Mar.), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China plans bond-market liberalization to fund investment
    Chinese leaders are working to overhaul the bond market in preparation for raising $6.4 trillion to stimulate the economy, bringing 400 million people into cities and narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. The moves are key to a plan by incoming President Xi Jinping and Premier-designate Li Keqiang to transform China into a wealthy world power, with economic expansion driven by consumer spending. Reuters (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Democratic lawmakers reintroduce derivatives-transaction tax
    Derivatives, including futures, would face a 0.03% transaction tax under legislation introduced this week by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Tom Harkin. The Democratic pair floated similar bills in recent years, but the legislation never took hold. "There is no question that Wall Street can easily bear this modest tax," Harkin said. Platts (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CFTC's Gensler suggests Libor replacements
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler says a rate determined by a traded market, such as overnight indexed swaps, should replace the London Interbank Offered Rate. "Given what we know now, it's critical that we move to a more robust framework for financial benchmarks, particularly those for short-term, variable interest rates," Gensler said. "There are alternatives ... grounded in real transactions. These include the overnight indexed swap rate, benchmark rates based on actual short-term collateralized financings and benchmarks based on government borrowing rates." Risk.net (subscription required) (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activity 
  • Lackluster manufacturing data drive down China's market
    Asian-Pacific markets were mixed Friday amid disappointing data about Chinese manufacturing activity, sending the Shanghai Composite down 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index faltering 0.6%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.4%. India's Sensex was up 0.3%. South Korea's Kospi was closed for a holiday. MarketWatch (01 Mar.), The Economic Times (India) (07 Mar.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Argentine bonds drop and CDSs rise amid default threat
    In U.S. court, attorney Jonathan Blackman said Argentina would rather stop payments to creditors who had agreed to restructure debt than agree to pay creditors who had held out. The news sent Argentina's bonds down and drove up credit default swaps covering the nation's debt. Bloomberg (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economics 
  • Revision shows U.S. GDP expanded 0.1% in Q4
    The Commerce Department has revised gross domestic product for the fourth quarter from 0.1% contraction to 0.1% expansion. Government spending declined 15% during the quarter, and investment in inventory was lower than forecast. Despite uncertainty about the "fiscal cliff," consumer spending held up better than expected. Forbes (28 Feb.), MarketWatch/The Tell blog (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Geopolitical/Regulatory 
  • SEC updates FSOC on money-fund rules
    The Securities and Exchange Commission has updated the Financial Stability Oversight Council on possible changes to rules for money market mutual funds. Jack Lew, sworn in as U.S. Treasury secretary Thursday, leads the FSOC. The risk council also discussed the designation of nonbank financial companies as systemically important. Meanwhile, Sheila Bar, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has criticized regulators' process of determining whether a company is systemically important. Bloomberg (28 Feb.), Bloomberg (01 Mar.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • EU regulators to investors: Beware of contracts for difference
    The European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Banking Authority are warning investors about contracts for difference. "These products appear to promise investors substantial returns at a low cost but may ultimately cost them far more than they may have intended or could afford to lose," the regulators said in a joint statement. Reuters (28 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Financial Products 
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