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21 November 2012
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  Top Stories 
  • HP takes $8.8B writedown on Autonomy investment
    Hewlett-Packard said it discovered that it was the victim of "serious accounting improprieties" in its $11 billion acquisition of the British software firm Autonomy, and will take an $8.8 billion writedown on the investment. Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch rejected the accusation. Reuters (21 Nov.), Bloomberg (20 Nov.), The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • French rating cut prompts EFSF to postpone euro offering
    The European Financial Stability Facility had planned to issue a three-year euro benchmark bond this week but has put its plan on hold after Moody's Investors Service downgraded France's credit rating. "The timing of the EFSF three-year euro offering is currently subject to a technical issue related to EFSF's Deeds of Guarantee," Chief Financial Officer and Deputy CEO Christophe Frankel said. "EFSF will look to bring its new three-year euro benchmark offering once the issuer is able to satisfy the Deeds of Guarantee language." International Financing Review (free content) (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. housing starts hit highest level since July 2008
    U.S. housing starts rose 3.6%, to an annualized rate of 894,000 last month, the Commerce Department said. Building permit applications for apartments declined, but was the highest for single-family homes since July 2008. Overall, permits for future construction were down 2.7% from September, a smaller decline than most economists expected. Bloomberg (20 Nov.), Reuters (20 Nov.), Shopfloor blog (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activity 
  • Some Asian-Pacific markets advance after China rebounds
    Several Asian-Pacific markets rebounded Wednesday after investors were encouraged by a wave of buying in China's Shanghai Composite, which rose 1.1%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index increased 1.4%. Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.9%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.4%. Taiwan's Taiex lost 0.8%. South Korea's Kospi gave up 0.3%. India's Sensex was up 0.7% at mid-afternoon. MarketWatch (21 Nov.), The Economic Times (India) (27 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japan seen sliding into recession
    A diplomatic dispute with China and weakening global demand for Japanese products hurt Japan's exports, which fell for the fifth consecutive month in October, reaching a three-year low. Economists said Japan likely is in recession. Reuters (21 Nov.), Bloomberg (21 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Bernanke backs Fed's move to economic thresholds
    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he supports a proposal that the U.S. central bank announce numerical "thresholds" linking its monetary policies to unemployment and inflation. "It does have the advantage that it would help to distinguish between our anticipation for how the economy is going to evolve, and how we will react to those conditions," he said. Reuters (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. deficit is decreasing at record speed
    During the past three years, the U.S. government's deficit measured as a percentage of gross domestic product has declined at the fastest rate since World War II, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that, not counting budget cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, nondefense discretionary spending is on track to reach 2.7% of GDP, well below a 30-year average of 3.9%. Investor's Business Daily/Capital Hill blog (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analysis: Brazil's Petrobras gets back to basics
    Graca Foster, head of Petroleo Brasileiro since February, is working to overcome political meddling by the government and to put the company back on track to profitability, according to The Economist. "Foster says the board -- which is dominated by government-appointed directors -- now understands that the firm needs to concentrate on pumping oil if it is to generate the revenues to invest in job-creating refineries and terminals," the magazine notes. "She rejects the idea that Petrobras is run for Brazil's good, rather than its own." The Economist (17 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Advisers prepare clients for gift-tax changes
    Financial advisers are scrambling to put together plans for clients who haven't arranged gifts to be made before a gift-tax exemption is decreased next year. With six weeks left until 2013, there is still time to set up simple trusts that give high-net-worth individuals more control over gifts to heirs than simply handing them a check, advisers say. Reuters (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  • Australia aims to curb computer trading
    The Australian government rolled out measures to rein in automatic trading. Among the rules are so-called kill switches, pricing restrictions for dark-pool trading and stricter data reporting. The kill-switch measure is designed to protect investors from volatility that can stem from superfast, computer-driven transactions. Reuters (20 Nov.), Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (20 Nov.), The Wall Street Journal (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ESMA pushes common rulebooks across EU
    Common rulebooks for banking, insurance and securities markets should extend across the EU, instead of only the eurozone, European Securities and Markets Authority Chairman Steven Maijoor said, noting that "in securities markets, we hardly ever talk about eurozone and not eurozone." Maijoor's remarks come as efforts to establish a banking union raise fears of divisions along national lines or between the eurozone and nations outside. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Europe's 2013 bank stress tests will center on Basel III
    Next year will bring an assessment of European banks' progress in implementing Basel III capital rules. "We need to manage a shift of focus from a one-off recapitalization effort to developing the path for full implementation of Basel III standards," said Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority. "We are structuring the stress test of next year along these lines." Reuters (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Financial Products 
  • Guardian adds investment options for retirement platforms
    Guardian Insurance & Annuity added investment options to two qualified retirement plans. The Guardian Choice fund platform gives investors 33 additional options, and participants in the Guardian Advantage fund have 27 more choices. All of the options were screened by SWBC Investment Advisory Services. (19 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analysis: Libor manipulation evolved into common practice
    By steps and stages, manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate to profit on derivatives had become standard practice by the mid-2000s, industry experts say. However, the tale of how the practice grew began in the 1990s, when CME Group's popular Eurodollar contract provided a forum for betting on interest rates. Reuters (20 Nov.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Editor's Note 
  • Financial NewsBrief will not publish Thursday and Friday
    In observance of Thanksgiving in the U.S., Financial NewsBrief will not be published Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 and 23. Publication will resume Monday, Nov. 26. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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