U.S. lawmakers race to prevent $7-a-gallon milk prices | France will rewrite 75% tax rate thrown out by court | U.S. accounting group wants to be part of international panel
31 December 2012
CFA Institute: Financial NewsBrief

Top Stories
Senate adjourns without agreement to avert "fiscal cliff"
The U.S. Senate adjourned an emergency Sunday session with Democratic and Republican leaders still unable to agree on a compromise that would avert the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect Tuesday. Late in the day, talks took a new direction with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell opening discussion on how to break the deadlock with Vice President Joe Biden. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (30 Dec.), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (30 Dec.), Chicago Sun-Times (free registration) (31 Dec.)
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U.S. lawmakers race to prevent $7-a-gallon milk prices
Congressional leaders from farm states agreed to back a stop-gap measure that would prevent milk prices across the U.S. from doubling to $7 a gallon or more when the current farm bill expires Tuesday. The lawmakers weren't certain the legislation extending the current farm bill for one year would make it to a vote in the House of Representatives in time to head off the price hike. Reuters (30 Dec.), CBS News (30 Dec.), Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (30 Dec.)
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France will rewrite 75% tax rate thrown out by court
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government will revise a law imposing a 75% tax on its wealthiest residents after the Constitutional Council overturned the original law as "excessive" and a "breach of equality of taxes." The revised proposal will be included in the government's 2013 budget, he said. "The government will propose a new system that conforms with the principles laid down by the decision of the Constitutional Council," Ayrault said. France 24 (29 Dec.), Reuters (29 Dec.)
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U.S. accounting group wants to be part of international panel
The U.S. Financial Accounting Foundation said it has not yet decided whether to change to international rules, but wants to participate in a committee formed to draft international accounting rules. The U.S. standard-setters could be excluded, limiting America's influence over global standards. Reuters (29 Dec.)
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Market Activity
Most Asian-Pacific markets decline amid "fiscal cliff" worries
Most Asian-Pacific markets fell Monday as negotiations to avert the "fiscal cliff" in the U.S. remained deadlocked. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed fractionally lower. India's Sensex was down 0.1% at midafternoon. China's Shanghai Composite bucked the trend, closing up 1.6%. Markets in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan were closed for New Year's Eve. MarketWatch (31 Dec.), The Economic Times (India) (26 Feb.)
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Global bond issuance in 2012 was lowest since 2002
Bond issuance by banks in 2012 was $1.26 trillion -- the lowest level in 10 years -- because of the debt crisis in Europe and new regulations worldwide, according to Dealogic. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (30 Dec.)
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Actions of European central banks will determine growth, experts say
Europe has struggled to bolster economic growth in recent years and 2013 could be more of the same. However, analysts and investors say the actions of central banks across the region will be a main factor in trading. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (30 Dec.)
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Pending home sales in U.S. continue to rise
The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales for November, based on sales contracts signed, rose for the third month in a row. The index was up 1.7% from October and 9.8% above the November 2011 reading. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Money & Co. blog (28 Dec.)
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Smallest population growth since Great Depression expected in U.S.
The U.S. is headed for a decade of population growth at the slowest rate since the Great Depression, according to Census Bureau estimates. The population is expected to expand 7.3% in the current decade, compared with 7.25% between 1930 and 1940. Bloomberg (31 Dec.)
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China's factory output at its highest level since May 2011
China's factory output accelerated in December to its highest level since May 2011 with new orders suggesting increased momentum in 2013, according to the final reading of the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index. The sub-index focusing on new orders rose to its highest level since January 2011. Reuters (31 Dec.)
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Analysis: Turkey builds on success of its Internet boom
Turkey has a vibrant technology sector driven largely by resourceful Internet firms and the government is getting better at giving its high-tech startups a helping hand, according to The Economist. "Young companies can already get grants for research and marketing; those in 'technoparks' are excused some taxes," the magazine notes. "More encouraging is the prospect of tax breaks to accredited angels, which are due to come into effect soon." The Economist (free content) (22 Dec.)
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Financial advisers are more optimistic about 2013
At the end of December, financial advisers were considerably more optimistic about the outlook for 2013, according to Rydex AdvisorBenchmarking's Advisor Confidence Index. The index rose from 85 in November to 101 this month. AdvisorOne (27 Dec.)
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German businesses recruit foreign workers amid shortages
Faced with an increasingly severe shortage of technical workers, German businesses are recruiting employees from other countries and migrant communities within Germany. The aging German population is making it difficult for companies to find enough workers with university degrees and critical skills to grow. Deutsche Welle (Germany) (30 Dec.)
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Investors urge SEC to take action against insider trading
Pension funds and other institutional investors managing more than $3 trillion in assets called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt guidance aimed at preventing corporate executives from engaging in abusive insider trading. Jeff Mahoney, the Council of Institutional Investors' general counsel, wrote in a letter to SEC Chairman Elisse Walter that new guidelines are "essential to restoring public confidence with respect to purchases and sales of a company's securities by its insiders." The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (30 Dec.)
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Indian central bank delays Basel III target date
The Reserve Bank of India is moving back its target for implementing Basel III. The central bank's three-month delay to April 1 is seen as a needed extension that will allow some banks to build the necessary capital base. The Economic Times (India)/Press Trust of India (30 Dec.)
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Senate confirms Baer to be DOJ's antitrust chief
The U.S. Senate confirmed William Baer, an antitrust lawyer at the Arnold & Porter law firm, as chief of the antitrust division at the Justice Department. Antitrust experts said they expect Baer to continue the department's energetic enforcement of antitrust laws that began when President Barack Obama first took office. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/DealBook blog (30 Dec.)
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Financial Products
SSgA readies 6 actively managed ETFs for launch
State Street Global Advisors filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval of six actively managed equities exchange-traded funds. The funds are the SPDR SSgA Risk Aware ETF, SPDR SSgA Large Cap Risk Aware ETF, SPDR SSgA Small Cap Risk Aware ETF, SPDR MFS Systematic Core Equity ETF, SPDR MFS Growth Equity ETF and the SPDR MFS Systematic Value Equity ETF. IndexUniverse.com (27 Dec.)
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Editor's Note
Financial NewsBrief will not publish Tuesday
In observance of New Year's Day, Financial NewsBrief will not publish Tuesday. Publication will resume Wednesday. Enjoy the holiday!
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