Here’s what you need to know this morning:
- Greek bond yields are rising yet again, this time as the EU statistics office found that the country’s deficit was worse last year than expected. Futures for the euro and stock indices are responding negatively to the continued uncertainty.
- President Obama is in New York today making his case to Wall Street for financial reform. He is seeking cooperation on Sen. Dodd’s bill, and several changes he wants to see implemented. There continues to be significant political and industry opposition to these moves.
- In an apparent pre-Volcker Rule move, Bank of America is set to announce the sale of its private equity investments for $1.9 billion to Axa Private Equity. It is believed that under new financial regulations depository firms will not be able to have private equity or hedge fund investments.
- Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has taken an aggressive stance on the SEC case against his firm, saying that the whole thing is political, and that he intends to fight it in court through the proposed jury trial.
- Russia is taking advantage of current market confidence and offering the second largest emerging market debt offering on record, valued at $5.5 billion. It will be the first time the Russian government has tapped markets since the ruble crisis and default of 1998.
- The story of China’s housing market tightening continues to grow more robust as Hong Kong today launched a further duty to quell speculation on high priced residential properties. The stamp duty increase targets properties worth more than $20 million.
- U.S. telecom giants CenturyLink and Qwest have agreed to a merger, where CenturyLink will buy Qwest for $10.6 billion. The resulting company will be worth $19.8 billion in revenues based on 2009 results.
- The UK’s annual deficit tops anything the country has seen since World War II, as its parliamentary leaders head for their second televised debate. Tonight’s topic will be foreign affairs, but the subject of debt will surely arise and polling results after are likely to impact pound futures.
- European flights have returned to normal today, as a backlog of stranded passengers finally begin to make their way home. Airline Ryanair, which originally refused to pay stranded passengers compensation, is now agreeing to do so.
- Bernie Madoff’s right hand man, Frank DiPascali, is being charged responsible for $170.25 billion in debts the firm incurred to victims. The government plans to strip him of his assets, and sell them in a effort to pay back those who lost money in their investments.
- Bonus: The Tiger Wood – Elin Woods divorce now looks “100 per cent” likely as the couple were unable to resolve their differences over Tiger’s sex scandal.
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