U.S. employers praise push for immigration reform | ICE looks to EU for approval of NYSE deal | Sale of ICBC stake brings in $1B for Goldman Sachs
29 January 2013
CFA Institute: Financial NewsBrief

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U.S. employers praise push for immigration reform
An initiative in Congress to overhaul U.S. immigration laws is drawing praise from employers, many of whom say the current system is broken and an obstacle to hiring. Microsoft's general counsel said he is "encouraged by the momentum" for immigration reform. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO Charles Conner said the push is the best opportunity "in a generation" to solve farmers' immigration law problems. Reuters (28 Jan.), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (28 Jan.), RealClearPolitics (29 Jan.)
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ICE looks to EU for approval of NYSE deal
Seeking permission to buy NYSE Euronext, IntercontinentalExchange plans to ask individual nations to pass regulatory decision-making power to an EU commission. ICE prefers a unified ruling, rather than have the deal pass muster individually in the U.K., Spain, and Portugal. Bloomberg Businessweek (28 Jan.), AutomatedTrader.net/Dow Jones Newswires (28 Jan.)
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Sale of ICBC stake brings in $1B for Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs Group's sale of part of its stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest lender by market value, generated about $1 billion. Goldman said the shares were offered at about 3% below Monday's closing price in Hong Kong. Bloomberg (29 Jan.), Reuters (29 Jan.), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) (free registration) (29 Jan.)
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Japan reportedly relaxed safety standards for Boeing 787
Pressured by airlines and some Boeing suppliers, Japan's government loosened safety standard and accelerated approval procedures to help Boeing get its 787 Dreamliner into commercial service, according to people involved in the process and records. However, there is no indication that the easing of safety standards led to the battery problems and other malfunctions that have grounded Dreamliners worldwide. Reuters (28 Jan.), Forbes (28 Jan.), Avionics Intelligence/United News of Bangladesh (28 Jan.)
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Court OKs Icelandic plan to repay U.K. and Netherlands
A European court has decided to allow Iceland to gradually repay the U.K. and the Netherlands for rescuing depositors of Landsbanki Islands, an Icelandic bank that collapsed in 2008. Reuters (28 Jan.)
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Most Asian-Pacific markets advance, but Hong Kong slides
Most Asian-Pacific markets rose Tuesday but Hong Kong declined as Goldman Sachs Group sold part of its stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, raising about $1 billion. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi moved up 0.8%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 and Taiwan's Taiex each rose 1.1%. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 0.1%. India's Sensex was down 0.6% at midafternoon. MarketWatch (29 Jan.), The Economic Times (India) (26 Feb.)
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Yahoo tops forecasts and reports first growth in 4 years
Yahoo reported 2% higher revenue for 2012 compared with 2011. It was the first growth in four years and came only six months after former Google executive Marissa Mayer took over as CEO. Excluding one-time charges, earnings per share were 32 cents, well above the 28 cents that Wall Street analysts anticipated. San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration) (28 Jan.), CNET (28 Jan.)
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Sale of structured notes linked to yuan hits record
Since December, individual investors in the U.S. have bought a record $79.9 million of structured notes that fluctuate in value with the offshore exchange rate for China's renminbi, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Most analysts expect the yuan to gain about 2% in value by the end of this year. Bloomberg (28 Jan.)
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Aircraft bookings drive increase in durable-goods orders
Orders for U.S. durable goods increased 4.6% last month, the Commerce Department says. Bookings for commercial and military aircraft drove the gain. If transportation items are excluded, orders increased 1.3%. MarketWatch (28 Jan.)
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Pending home sales slid between November and December
The National Association of Realtors says its index of pending home sales in the U.S. reached 101.7 last month, down 4.3% compared with November but up 6.9% compared with December 2011. "The supply limitation appears to be the main factor holding back contract signings in the past month," Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Money & Co. blog (28 Jan.)
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Analysis: U.S. avoidance of austerity pays off
"A big part of why the U.S. economy is doing better than Europe's is precisely because we did not switch to rapid austerity," said Christina Romer, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama. The best way to cut the deficit is to limit long-term growth of entitlements, rather than imposing spending cuts that reduce immediate growth, she says. "That is a trade-off which both Mr Obama and the Republicans would be wise to make," according to The Economist. The Economist (tiered subscription model) (26 Jan.)
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M&A climbed in 2012 among registered investment advisers
Big, national advisers' acquisition of independent registered investment advisers accelerated last year, according to Schwab Advisor Services. Assets under management of RIAs involved in mergers and acquisitions reached $58.8 billion, compared with $43.9 billion in 2011. AdvisorOne (28 Jan.)
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Analysts expect Spain to end ban on short selling
The Spanish National Securities Market Commission is poised to announce by Friday whether it will extend a ban on short sales of stocks and bonds. Analysts say the ban likely will end because sentiment on Spain has improved. "They have no reason anymore to maintain this ban," said Ivan San Felix, an analyst at brokerage Renta 4. "The debt risk premium is less volatile, and that may be the right time." Reuters (28 Jan.)
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Germany postpones decision on changing HFT draft law
A source from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party says a decision on legislation to rein in high-frequency trading has been delayed. "We still need to clarify lots of technical details," the source said. "That is why we need to have a second meeting." Among proposed changes are registration with market regulators and disclosure of algorithms by high-frequency traders. Reuters (28 Jan.)
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BaFin reportedly investigates Euribor manipulation
German financial regulator BaFin is investigating Deutsche Bank and three other lenders amid possible manipulation of the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. The inquiry reportedly is the most serious type that BaFin can undertake. Reuters (28 Jan.), Bloomberg (28 Jan.)
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Biotechs want states to curb generic-drug competition
Biotechnology companies are lobbying U.S. states to restrict generic versions of popular drugs. Such limits on competition could eliminate billions of dollars in savings intended by the overhaul of the health care system. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (28 Jan.)
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Court upholds FSA's £8M fine against Swift Trade
The U.K. Financial Services Authority fined Swift Trade £8 million for layering and market manipulation. An appeals tribunal has ruled that the FSA had jurisdiction because even though Swift Trade is in Canada, it placed orders through U.K. branches of several banks. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (28 Jan.), Reuters (28 Jan.)
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Financial Products
Credit Suisse prepares gold ETN with covered-call feature
Credit Suisse is scheduled to launch an exchange-traded note on Nasdaq that invests in physical gold. The Credit Suisse Gold Shares Covered Call ETN is designed to generate extra returns by selling out-of-the-money call options, according to the prospectus. IndexUniverse.com (28 Jan.)
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SIGTARP: Treasury ignored rules for pay at rescued firms
The U.S. Treasury Department disregarded its guidelines for executive compensation at government-rescued companies when it approved millions of dollars in raises last year at Ally Financial, American International Group and General Motors, according to a report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The report says Patricia Geoghegan, the Treasury's acting special master for compensation, circumvented procedures aimed at keeping pay at the midpoint of similar companies. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (28 Jan.)
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