Frontrunning: February 23
- IMF Official: 'Huge' Greek Program Implementation Risks In Next Few Days (WSJ)
- European Banks Take Greek Hit After Deal (Bloomberg)
- Obama Urged to Resist Calls to Use Oil Reserves Amid Iran Risks (Bloomberg)
- Hungary hits at Brussels funds threat (FT)
- Bank Lobby Widened Volcker Rule Before Inciting Foreign Outrage (Bloomberg)
- Germany fights eurozone firewall moves (FT)
- New York Federal Reserve Said to Plan Sale of AIG-Linked Mortgage Bonds (Bloomberg)
- G-20 Asks Europe to Beef Up Funds (WSJ)
- New Push for Reform in China (WSJ)
- Gillard Calls Leadership Vote After Rudd Resigns (Bloomberg)
Overnight news digest
* Investigators probing the collapse of MF Global are scrutinizing two money transfers made during the securities firm's final days in an effort to uncover what happened to $1.6 billion in missing customer funds.
* A coalition of Internet companies including Google has agreed to support a do-not-track button to be embedded in most Web browsers.
* U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said she is worried about the role of high-frequency traders in the stock market and hinted at new policies aimed at curbing frenetic market activity.
* Asian companies are tapping bond markets at a record pace, worried that the euro zone crisis may deepen and make it impossible for them to secure funds later in the year, say bankers who arrange borrowing.
* General Motors and French car maker Peugeot Citroen are discussing a European auto alliance as the two grapple with weak sales and a raging price war on the continent.
* Microsoft Corp is complaining to European regulators that Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc and its soon-to-be-owner Google are misusing patents to gain an upper hand in the mobile-device market.
* A federal advisory panel overwhelmingly backed the weight-loss drug Qnexa, which is made by a small California firm called Vivus Inc, clearing the way for the Food and Drug Administration to potentially approve a prescription diet drug for the first time in more than a decade.
UK AND JAPAN WARN VOLCKER RULE THREATENS RECOVERY
Britain and Japan have urged the United States to rewrite its so-called "Volcker rule", saying that trading restrictions on U.S. banks could hit the international sovereign debt market at a delicate moment in the global recovery. http://link.reuters.com/waj76s
GERMANY FIGHTS EURO ZONE FIREWALL MOVES
The German government is set to resist or delay increasing the size of the euro zone's financial "firewall" against contagion from the Greek debt crisis, in the face of mounting pressure from its partners, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. administration. http://link.reuters.com/xaj76s
SFO ADMITS TCHENGUIZ CASE ERRORS
The Serious Fraud Office has admitted to "very regrettable errors" and failures in the way it handled its case against property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz. http://link.reuters.com/zaj76s
ICELAND BANKS ESTABLISHED COVERED BOND PLAN
Arion, the bank created from the assets of failed Kaupthing, has established a 1 billion euro ($1.32 billion) international covered bond programme, the first by an Icelandic lender since the country's banking crisis. http://link.reuters.com/bej76s
RBS BONUS CUTS OFFSET WITH BIG SALARY INCREASES
Increases to the fixed salaries paid to Royal Bank of Scotland's investment bankers last year will largely offset cuts to their bonus pool. http://link.reuters.com/cej76s
EASYJET FOUNDER PLANS WEST AFRICAN VENTURE
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is planning to launch his new airline venture in West Africa in the coming months with up to 15 jets in what may eventually become an African version of EasyJet, the UK low-cost carrier he founded. http://link.reuters.com/dej76s
PROFUMO IN FRAME AT MONTE DAI PASCHI
Alessandro Profumo, former chief executive of UniCredit and one of Italy's most high-profile bankers, is the leading candidate to take over as chairman of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the country's third-largest bank by assets. http://link.reuters.com/fej76s
MORGAN STANLEY VETERANS PLAN ADVISORY BOUTIQUE
A group of senior Morgan Stanley managing directors, each with an average 25 years at the bank, has broken away to form an advisory boutique in a move that underscores the difficulties large securities firms are facing in dealing with clients, staff and regulators. http://link.reuters.com/gej76s
* Google will start selling eyeglasses that will project information, entertainment and ads onto the lenses, but questions have been raised on how privacy will be regulated.
* The Obama administration, seeking to promote domestic manufacturing without increasing the federal deficit, proposed on Wednesday to offset new tax breaks for manufacturers by raising taxes on a wide range of other companies.
* A federal advisory panel on Wednesday overwhelmingly recommended approval of what could become the first new prescription drug to treat obesity in 13 years.
* The Obama administration on Wednesday outlined a set of online privacy principles that officials said would help consumers control the use of their personal data gleaned from Internet searches.
* The chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission defended the agency's record of settling fraud cases with Wall Street companies, saying on Wednesday that she believes the agency's practices "clearly have deterrent value," even though firms are often charged repeatedly for violating the same securities laws.
European Economic Update:
- UK BBA Loans for House Purchase 38092 – higher than expected. Consensus 36250. Previous 36171. Revised 36553.
- UK CBI Trends Total Orders -3 – higher than expected. Consensus -13. Previous -16.
- UK CBI Trends Selling Prices 10 – lower than expected. Consensus 12. Previous 13.
- Sweden Consumer Confidence -3.2 – lower than expected. Consensus 0.0. Previous -1.3.
- Sweden Manufacturing Confidence s.a. -13 – lower than expected. Consensus -12. Previous -14.
- Sweden Economic Tendency Survey 93.0 – higher than expected. Consensus 92.8. Previous 91.4. Revised 91.6.
- Spain Mortgages-capital Loaned -37.4% y/y. Previous -32.6% y/y.
- Spain Mortgages on houses -37.2% y/y. Previous -35.8% y/y.
- Netherlands Consumer Spending -1.3% y/y. Previous -1.2% y/y. Previous -1.5% y/y.
- Netherlands Producer Confidence -1.5. Previous -1.4.
- Italy Consumer Confidence Ind. s.a. 94.2 – higher than expected. Consensus 92.1. Previous 91.6. Revised 91.8.
- Ireland CPI (EU Harmonised) -0.4% m/m 1.3% y/y. Previous -0.1% m/m 1.4% y/y.
- Ireland CPI -0.5% m/m 2.2% y/y. Previous -0.3% m/m 2.5% y/y.
- Ireland PPI 1.4% m/m 2.7% y/y. Previous 0.5% m/m 2.4% y/y.
- Germany IFO – Business Climate 109.6 – higher than expected. Consensus 108.8. Previous 108.3.
- Germany IFO – Current Assessment 117.5 – higher than expected. Consensus 116.5. Previous 116.3.
- Germany IFO – Expectations 102.3 – higher than expected. Consensus 102.0. Previous 100.9.
- Poland Retail Sales -24.9% m/m 14.3% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -25.0% m/m 13.8% y/y. Previous 20.8% m/m 8.6% y/y.
- Poland Unemployment 13.2% - lower than expected. Consensus 13.3%. Previous 12.5%.
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