Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly down in overnight trading with South Korea falling 5.73%. Europe is lower and U.S. futures are flat.
- Moody’s downgraded eight Greek banks by two notches because of increased risks of losses on their Greek debt holdings. National Bank of Greece, Eurobank Ergasias and Alpha Bank were among those downgraded. Moody’s also cut Slovenia’s sovereign debt rating by one notch. Now here’s who will get crushed if Greece defaults >
- Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos told socialists that he sees three scenarios for the debt-ridden country. In the ‘good’ scenario he expects a bailout and 20% writedown for bondholders. In the ‘better’ scenario the bailout collapses and Greece has an orderly default with 50% haircuts, while in a ‘bad’ scenario, Greece starts a disorderly default. Meanwhile, Meanwhile ECB governing council member Klaas Knot has said there is a chance of Greece defaulting.
- European officials are reportedly prepared to speed up the recapitalization of 16 European banks that nearly failed last summer’s EU stress tests. This would mostly affect mid-tier banks from Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece and Portugal, and Germany’s HSH Nordbank and Banco Popolare. Check out the 16 strongest banks in the world >
- After speculation that HP was letting go of CEO Leo Apotheker, the company confirmed last night that Meg Whitman would be the new CEO. Board chairman Ray Lane later told analysts not to criticise HP’s board because they didn’t hire Apotheker.
- Last night, the Euro rallied on talks of G20 support for the Eurozone, but that rally has disappeared. That action would include actions to increase the flexibility of the EFSF and to maximise its impact.
- Nike reported earnings after the bell yesterday. Its Q1 profits surged 19% to $1.36 per share on revenue of $6.1 billion, beating expectations of $1.21 per share, on revenue of $5.75 billion.
- Bank of America is looking to sell an $880 million portfolio of commercial mortgages at a 20% – 25% discount off the face value. The portfolio is being bought by Square Mile Capital Management LLC, Invesco Ltd. and a fund managed by Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC, and will include a mix of performing and non-performing loans and buildings. Don’t miss: 15 stocks that everyone is shorting right now >
- Last night’s Republican debate in Florida devolved into another showdown between frontrunners Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as both argued over social security, healthcare and immigration.
- Brazil which has been selling U.S. dollars, and on Thursday sold $2.7 billion in swap contracts, or about 49% of the $5.6 billion on offer, said it would continue to sell dollars in the local currency market and via spot auctions, as long as there was need for liquidity. Check out 10 facts about Brazil that will blow your mind >
- BONUS – Nicole Richie celebrated her 30th birthday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
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