Friday, February 28, 2014

Today's Headlines

  • Defiant Yanukovych Urges Russia Restraint in Crimea. Ukraine’s deposed ex-President Viktor Yanukovych said he’s still the nation’s rightful leader and urged Russia to refrain from military intervention in the southern Crimea region, where unrest spread. Speaking for the first time since leaving Ukraine, Yanukovych told reporters today in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don that the country should abide by a peace accord sealed a week ago with European Union diplomats under which he’d remain leader through December. He labeled the parliament in Kiev illegitimate and vowed to return when it’s safe
  • IMF History With Ukraine Leaders May Cloud Aid Negotiations. The International Monetary Fund has extensive experience lending to Ukraine in recent years. It’s not a track record favoring the country as it seeks aid to stave off default. Twice since 2008, the IMF froze loans to the former Soviet republic after governments at the time balked at measures they had agreed to carry out. After failed attempts to revive loan talks with Ukraine, the Washington-based lender concluded in December it shouldn’t commit as much money to nations that don’t embrace economic change.
  • Chinese Army in Your Toaster Signals Rising Grid Attacks.  New technology promising to weave the Internet in to North America’s power grid could bring cyber-attacks all the way into your home kitchen, according to a new study. Opportunities for computer-driven sabotage will rise with the number of web-connected devices deployed by utilities and energy companies into homes and businesses, said former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden, one of the authors of the study released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.
  • India’s Economy Slows as Interest-Rate Increases Dim Outlook. India’s economic growth slowed last quarter, holding below 5 percent and denting the Congress party’s chances of extending its decade-long rule in national elections due by May. Gross domestic product rose 4.7 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier, compared with 4.8 in the previous quarter, the Statistics Ministry said in New Delhi today. That matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. 
  • Italy Unemployment Rises to Record High in Challenge for Renzi. Italy’s unemployment rate rose to a record high in January, signaling that companies may fail to hire even after the economy returned to growth in the last quarter of 2013. Unemployment increased to 12.9 percent from 12.7 percent in December, the Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. The January rate is the highest since the data series began in the first quarter of 1977. The median estimate of five economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent last month.
  • Iceland Seen Threatened by Capital Flight From Its Own Citizens. U.S. hedge funds aren’t the only ones trying to exit Iceland. Its own citizens may follow if the government doesn’t show it can lift capital controls in place since 2008 without triggering a currency sell-off, according to Iceland’s biggest insurance firm. “If people lack confidence, they will take their money elsewhere as soon as the controls are lifted,” Sigrun Ragna Olafsdottir, chief executive officer of Vatryggingafelag Islands hf, said in an interview in Reykjavik. 
  • European Stocks Are Little Changed as Erste Group Falls. European stocks were little changed, with equities posting their biggest monthly gain since July, as Ukraine accused Russia of stoking tension on its territory and data showed U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth slowed more than estimated. Erste Group Bank AG tumbled the most since May 2009 after it projected a slow start to the year. Pearson Plc plunged to a three-year low after reporting a drop in full-year earnings. Serco Group Plc posted the biggest gain since 2001 after naming a new chief executive officer. Old Mutual Plc rose 5.8 percent after making an acquisition in the U.K. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.2 percent to 338.02.
  • Natural Gas Futures Gain on Forecasts for Frigid March Weather. Natural gas futures rose in New York after four days of declines on forecasts for below-normal March temperatures that would cut stockpiles of the heating fuel. Gas gained as much as 2.5 percent. MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predicted colder-than-normal weather in the eastern half of the U.S. through March 13. Inventories totaled 1.348 trillion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 21, the lowest for the time of year since 2004, government data show. 
  • Copper Set for Secnd Monthly Loss on China Concern, Yuan. Copper traded near the lowest in more than two months on concern China’s slowing growth and a weaker yuan may reduce demand for the metal in the world’s biggest user. The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,034.25 a metric ton by 4:24 p.m. in Tokyo after trading between $7,054 and $6,995. Futures touched $6,993.50 yesterday, the lowest intraday level since Dec. 4. The price has lost 0.4 percent this month, extending a 4 percent drop in January.
  • Mt. Gox Seeks Bankruptcy After $463 Million Bitcoin Loss. Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy in Japan, and said that 850,000 Bitcoins belonging to its customers and the firm were missing. “The company believes there is a high possibility that the Bitcoins were stolen,” Mt. Gox said in a statement. “It is considering filing a criminal complaint.”
  • Citigroup(C) Cuts 2013 Earnings After Finding Fraud in Mexico Unit. Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-biggest U.S. lender, said it discovered fraud on loans to a Mexican oil-services company, forcing the bank to lower last year’s profit by $235 million. The fraud occurred on loans made to Oceanografia SA that were backed by payments from state-owned oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex, Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said today in a memo to employees. Invoices from Oceanografia were falsified to represent that Pemex had approved them and processed by a Citigroup employee, Corbat said.
  • Apple(AAPL) Investors Reject All Shareholder Proposals. Apple Inc. (AAPL) shareholders approved the company’s proposals and rejected those that the board opposed at its annual meeting, in a show of support for Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. Cook told stockholders at the event in Cupertino, California, that Apple is on the right track.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Armed Men Occupy Two Airports in Ukraine's Crimea. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov Calls Move 'Armed Invasion and Occupation'. Ukraine's new government appeared to lose control over the restive pro-Russia territory of Crimea on Friday after heavily equipped gunmen surrounded its two main airports, and armed checkpoints were established on the key roads leading into the region. Authorities in Kiev accused Russia of fomenting an "armed invasion" and said the men—who wore unmarked military uniforms and bore automatic weapons—appeared to be Russian soldiers. 
Fox News:
Business Insider:
NY Times:
  • Too much flexibility could risk efficacy of Fed policy -Plosser. The Federal Reserve must revamp its guidance to markets on how long it plans to keep interest rates near zero because its current low-rate vow is no longer relevant, a top Fed official said on Friday. And when it remakes its forward guidance, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said, the central bank must take care to convince markets that it is serious about whatever promises it makes, or risk those policies becoming ineffective.
  • Fugitive Yanukovich urges Russia's Putin to take firm line over Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovich urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to take a bolder line with Ukraine's new rulers who had ousted him, telling him on Friday that Russia could not remain indifferent to what had happened in the former Soviet republic. Appearing in southern Russia where he has taken refuge since fleeing Ukraine on Feb. 21, Yanukovich said: "I think that Russia should act and is obliged to act. "Knowing Vladimir Putin's personality, I am surprised that he is still saying nothing. Russia cannot be indifferent, cannot be a bystander watching the fate of as close a partner as Ukraine," the 63-year-old Yanukovich said. "Russia must use all means at its disposal to end the chaos and terror gripping Ukraine," he said, clearly encouraging the Kremlin leader to take a firm tack with the new pro-Europe Ukrainian leadership.
  • Hedge funds battle to show their worth in EM sell-off. A sell-off in emerging markets has given hedge funds a chance to prove they can profit from even the most testing market conditions - and try to justify their lucrative fees. These are conditions in which hedge funds are meant to be able to outperform, using their much wider array of trading tactics to capitalise on default risks, currency routs and share price falls.
  • Economists warn of more market 'tantrums' as U.S. Fed tightens. Turbulence on Wall Street will likely return when the Federal Reserve decides to hike interest rates, top U.S. economists said in a paper that warned the Fed's huge stimulus program could have harmful consequences. The paper, released on Friday, focused on a financial market selloff in mid-2013 after Fed officials said they planned to trim monthly bond-buying.
Financial Times:
  • Investors ignore rising chorus of US valuation warnings. Stocks looking overpriced if growth fails to pick up. US equities are heating up, while the economy is feeling the cold. A bruising start to the year, when emerging market worries briefly boiled to the surface, has quickly been transformed by the fear of missing out on the next leg of a US bull market run, on the cusp of celebrating its fifth anniversary.

No comments: