- Fed's No. 2 Strongly Backs Low-Rate Policy (Hilsenrath)
- World Bank Cuts China 2012 Growth Outlook on Exports (Bloomberg)
- BlackRock's Street Shortcut: Big Banks Would Be Bypassed With Bond Platform; 'Not Going to Cannibalize' (WSJ)
- George Soros - Europe’s Future is Not Up to The Bundesbank (FT)
- Fed May Have Aggravated Income Inequality, El-Erian Says(Bloomberg)
- Shirakawa Pledges Japan Easing Amid Political Pressure (Bloomberg)
- Spain’s Debt Struggle Opens Door to Sarkozy Campaign Message (Bloomberg)
- Iran Woos Oil Buyers With Easy Credit (FT)
- Syria Pledges to Observe Ceasefire (FT)
- Aquino Says Philippines Seeking Peaceful End to China Ship Row (Bloomberg)
Overnight Media Digest
* BlackRock is planning to launch a trading platform this year that would let the world's largest money manager and its peers bypass Wall Street and trade bonds directly with one another.
* The U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Apple and five big publishers, alleging they conspired to increase prices for e-books. Three have agreed to settle.
* Last year, Goldman Sachs unloaded hundreds of millions of dollars of leveraged loans at a loss. The buyer of some of the loans was a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which has made a tidy paper profit on the deal.
* Food scraps and trashed Christmas trees could one day be a source of a billion-dollar business, according to Harvest Power, a start-up that just raised $110 million to help convert organic waste to energy and fertilizer.
* The SEC will meet next week with representatives of hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone, in the first face-to-face meeting aimed at settling potential civil-fraud charges.
* Anheuser-Busch InBev NV has emerged as the lead bidder for Cervecería Nacional Dominicana SA in a potential deal that could give the Belgian brewer control of the maker of Presidente beer, according to people familiar with the matter.
* The Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen made an emphatic case for sticking to the central bank's low-interest-rate policies and said the Fed might need to take additional action to bolster the economy if the recovery once again falters.
* Natural-gas prices dropped below the $2 mark for the first time in more than a decade, extending a yearslong descent that many analysts say still has further to go.
APPLE SUED OVER EBOOK PRICING
The U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five of the world's largest book publishers on Wednesday, alleging that they colluded to increase the price of ebooks and cost consumers "tens of millions of dollars".
NOKIA SHARES PLUNGE ON PROFIT WARNING
Shares in Nokia tumbled as much as 19 percent after the struggling Finnish handset maker warned that profits in its phone division would be worse than expected in the first and second quarters.
AVIVA CONSIDERS PLANS TO SELL US DIVISION
Aviva is considering plans to sell its life assurance business in the U.S. in a move analysts estimate could raise at least 1 billion pound ($1.59 billion) and mark an exit from one of the UK-listed group's core markets.
VALE LOOKS TO MEGA-SHIPS COMMISSION
Vale has signalled it is prepared to commission more than 100 of its controversial giant Valemax ships as the biggest producer of iron ore battles with Australia-based miners for the key Chinese market.
IRAN WOOS OIL BUYERS WITH EASY CREDIT
Iran is trying to skirt U.S. and European sanctions by luring nations to buy its oil on highly advantageous credit terms, say officials in the industry.
BARSKY MAKES A RETURN WITH MATRA
Maxim Barsky, the Russian oil executive who stepped down from BP's joint venture TNK-BP last October after being groomed for the top job for two years, has re-emerged as a strategic investor in Aim-quoted explorer Matra Petroleum.
URALKALI POSTPONES FULL LONDON LISTING
UralKali, the world's largest potash producer, is unlikely to seek a full London listing this year, but plans to improve its corporate governance.
TESCO TO SHAKE UP ADVERTISING STRATEGY
Tesco is to shake up its multimillion-pound advertising strategy as it strives to win back British shoppers.
MELROSE EXECUTIVES TO GET HUGE PAYOUT
Melrose's top executives have been awarded stock worth 126 million pounds after shareholders in the engineering turnaround specialist approved the crystallisation of its five-year incentive scheme.
* Cypriot banks have to prove their viability as the total of their risky investments has reached eight times the size of their nation's economy.
* The government's decision to pursue major publishers on antitrust charges has put Amazon, the nation's largest bookseller, in a powerful position to decide how much an e-book will cost.
* Traditional retailers like Nordstrom are tapping into the expertise of e-commerce companies such as Bonobos, which in turn are learning the advantages of bricks and mortar.
* A judge fined Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary after a jury found that the companies minimized or concealed the dangers associated with Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug.
* Janet Yellen, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said the country's lackluster recovery could require an emphasis on growth, not inflation, beyond 2014.
* St. Jude Medical is defending itself against reports of deaths and injuries linked to an implanted heart device made by the company.
* A report by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said the Hardest Hit Fund has not reached many homeowners in need of aid.
* Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellphones by volume, lowered its forecast on Wednesday as demand for its Symbian-based smartphones, which the company is phasing out, weakened sharply.
* A federal appeals court ruled that ex-Goldman employee Sergey Aleynikov did not violate corporate espionage laws by downloading computer code from his former employer.
* Best Buy said the sudden resignation of its chief executive officer, Brian J. Dunn, would not stop an inquiry into what it called personal conduct issues.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
- George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood-watch "captain" who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager inside a gated community will face second-degree murder charges, a special Florida prosecutor announced on Wednesday.
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's push to reduce costs by privatizing more city services suffered a major setback after his opponents yanked control over future outsourcing into the political arena of city council.
Reports in the business section:
- Canada is losing the global innovation race because it's throwing far too much money at dubious research and doing too little to jolt companies out of their sheltered complacency.
- A number of Canadian media companies have joined forces to try to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, claiming it threatens to ruin the music business for all of them. The group includes Quebecor Inc and Cogeco Cable Inc
- Canada's Conservative government continues to maintain that it didn't know it was supposed to tell the public the full costs of the F-35 purchase: that the $10-billion it left out of the total was not a lie or even a mistake, but simply reflected its honest belief about how these things should be accounted, or at any rate always have been.
- Public-health experts had barely released a hefty report on Wednesday urging Ontario to open five safe-injection sites for drug addicts when the province's health minister weighed in.
Reports in the business section:
- The rate of residential construction has lagged the oil boom in Alberta over the past few years, but blockbuster housing starts in March hint that residential construction is getting hot again.
European Economic Update
- Euro-zone Industrial Production 0.5% s.a. m/m -1.8% w.d.a. y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -0.2% s.a. m/m -1.8% w.d.a. y/y. Previous -0.2% s.a. m/m -1.2% w.d.a. y/y. Revised -1.7% w.d.a. y/y.
- UK Total Trade Balance -£3396 – lower than expected. Consensus -£2000. Previous -£1762. Revised -£2501.
- Sweden CPI – Headline Rate 0.3% m/m 1.5% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus 0.3% m/m 1.5% y/y. Previous 0.7% m/m 1.9% y/y.
- Sweden Average House Prices 2.088M. Previous 2.322M. Revised 2.227M.
- Netherlands Retail Sales 0.9% y/y. Previous 0.8% y/y.
- France CPI-EU Harmonised 0.9% m/m 2.6% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 0.7% m/m 2.3% y/y. Previous 0.5% m/m 2.5% y/y.
- France Consumer Price Index 0.8% m/m 2.3% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 0.6% m/m 2.1% y/y. Previous 0.4% m/m 2.3% y/y.
- Russia Gold & Forex Reserve USD 516.7B. Previous 512.6B.
- Czech Republic Current Account Monthly 18.33B – higher than expected. Consensus 13.00B. Previous 14.18B.