Frontrunning: February 6

  • Greeks Struggle to Resolve Their Differences (WSJ)
  • China May See Deeper Slowdown on Crisis: IMF (Bloomberg)
  • Banks to take a hit on US home loans (FT)
  • Europe’s banks face challenge on capital (FT)
  • Smaller Interest-Rate, Credit-Default Swap Trades Seen On Horizon  (WSJ)
  • Pro-European elected Finland president (FT)
  • Push Sputters for Credit-Default Swap Futures (WSJ)
  • China Money Rate Rises as Central Bank Gauges Demand for Bills (Bloomberg)
  • China Takes On Skeptics of Aid to Euro Zone (WSJ)
  • They finally figured it out? After Greece, Markets Will Eye Portugal: Economist (CNBC)

Overnight Press Digest


* Auto maker General Motors Co is expected to report net income of more than $8 billion for last year and has set a goal of making more than $10 billion a year.

* A financial turnaround at Las Vegas Sands Corp is beginning to pay off for chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, who during the financial crisis put $1 billion of his own money into the struggling casino operator.

* U.S. corporate profits are showing signs of flagging, even as share prices reach multiyear highs. Margins are slipping as already-lean firms find it harder to continue cutting costs.

* Greece's political party leaders will resume talks Monday after major differences on draconian reforms as part of an international aid package remained unresolved following a marathon meeting Sunday.

* Federal and state officials aim to wrap up this week a multibillion-dollar agreement with five major banks to settle probes of alleged foreclosure abuses.

* The White House plans to nominate former Bush administration official Jeremiah Norton to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a key banking regulator.

* Farmers and analysts are expressing fresh skepticism about Agriculture Department data on the corn market in the wake of the latest figures, which stunned traders and sent prices on another wild ride.

* The Federal Reserve is presenting a broad swath of conservative investors, from retirees and college savers to banks and insurance companies, with a tough choice: move into riskier investments or continue coming up short from low-risk investments that aren't even keeping pace with inflation.

* State-run entities that expanded over the past decade to provide affordable homeowners insurance in hurricane-threatened Florida are in danger of becoming so big they threaten to wreak havoc on the local economy. Citizens Property Insurance Corp, already the state's largest home insurer, now has 1.5 million policyholders and a total exposure of $511 billion, about one-quarter of the market.

* After a spate of rocky debuts in the U.S., this week's slate of initial public offerings are going to be facing a tougher pricing environment. Of the eight IPOs that were expected to trade last week, three were postponed -- two for market reasons and one because the company is being acquired --and three ended their first days of trading down.

* PepsiCo Inc and Coca-Cola Co likely will show solid profit growth when they share their 2011 results this week, but this year could be tougher. Investors want more evidence U.S. consumers will swallow pricier soda and chips.

* Global private equity fund TPG Capital LP said Monday it has secured about 4 billion yuan ($634 million) so far as it continues to raise capital for China investments.



* Pushed against the wall by its foreign lenders, the Greek government agreed on Sunday to drastic new spending cuts but failed to complete an arrangement that would unlock the financing the country needs to prevent default. It agreed instead to resume talks on Monday.

* With a deadline looming on Monday for state officials to sign onto a landmark multibillion-dollar settlement to address foreclosure abuses, the Obama administration is close to winning support from a crucial state that would significantly expand the breadth of the deal.

* Sun Media Group is joining Harvest Fund Management to create Harvest Seven Stars Media Private Equity, which will back entertainment ventures in China and abroad.

* Estimates are that NBC has spent as much as $25 million in promoting its "Smash," a new series that the network hopes will be the hit it desperately needs. The promotion campaign includes things like billboards, print ads, taxicab spots and the lavish, laminated, 40-page Broadway-style program book that NBC sent to the press.

* Although more than half of its 845 million members log into Facebook on a mobile device, the company has not yet found a way to make real money from that use.

* The president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is in a billion-dollar dispute with his former workplace, a cancer institute at the University of Pennsylvania, over accusations that he walked away with groundbreaking research and used it to help start a valuable biotechnology company.

* The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that promotes equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, has recruited Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs , to be its first national corporate spokesman for same-sex marriage; an issue that will come up for a legislative vote in several states this year, including Washington and Maryland.

European Economic Highlights:

  • UK Halifax House Prices for January 0.6% m/m -1.8% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 0.1% m/m -2.1% y/y. Previous -1.0% m/m -1.3% y/y.
  • Switzerland Service Production 0.0% m/m 3.0% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.2% m/m 2.2% y/y. Previous 0.1% m/m 3.5% y/y.
  • Eurozone Investor Confidence for February -11.1 – higher than expected. Consensus -15.0. Previous -21.1.
  • Germany Factory Orders s.a. for December 1.7% m/m – higher than expected. Consensus 1.0% m/m. Previous -4.8% m/m. Revised -4.9% m/m.
  • Germany Factory Orders s.a. for December 0.0% m/m – higher than expected. Consensus -0.4% m/m. Previous -4.3%  m/m.


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