Monday, June 18, 2007

Today's Headlines

- Confidence among US homebuilders fell this month more than estimates as interest rates rose and delinquencies increased.
- Crude oil jumped to a nine-month high after investment fund speculation rose on a report that a coalition of labor unions in Nigeria threatened to strike this week.
- Watson Farley & Williams LLP, a 200-lawyer law firm based in London, is in preliminary merger talks with NY’s Chadbourne & Parke LLP to create a 625 lawyer firm focused on the energy industry.
- Finish Line(FINL) agreed to buy Genesco Inc.(GCO), the owner of the Johnston & Murphy and Journeys shoe-store chains, for $1.5 billion in cash.

Wall Street Journal:
- Investment Technology Group(ITG), which supplies some of Wall Street’s most innovative trading technologies, is discussing its options after being urged by a hedge-fund firm to put itself up for sale or start a stock-repurchase program.
- US-backed anti-terrorism tactics are proving a success in the Philippines and helped weaken the Abu Sayyaf group, one of the leading bands in the country’s Muslim-dominated south.
- Thomas Marsico, who’s buying back his money-management business from Bank of America(BAC), hopes the purchase will secure the firm’s future. He says that, while he hasn’t lost anyone to hedge funds, he wants to be able to give the 23 investment professionals he employs stakes in the business, so they have “the same incentives here that they might have in other circumstances.”

- A plan by Bear Stearns(BSC) to recapitalize an internal hedge fund that’s based on subprime mortgage securities will be presented to major creditors at a 1pm est meeting today.

NY Times:
- Cadbury Schweppes Plc, the world’s largest confectioner, is expected to announce tomorrow the sale of its US beverage business.
- Bank of America(BAC) is expected to announce today the renaming of its business for wealthy private banking customers to US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, after the private bank it acquired in November for $3.3 billion.
- The US Air Force plans to speed up a program to develop a synthetic jet fuel to cut its dependence on foreign oil and ensure resources are available in times of crisis.

- The US government is ready to lift sanctions against the Palestinian government in the West Bank in a bid to support President Mahmoud Abbas.

Financial Times:
- Stonebrook Capital, a NYC-based hedge fund, is among firms starting funds seeking to duplicate the returns of hedge funds without the high fees. The firms use models to replicate hedge-fund strategies. Goldman Sachs(GS), Merrill Lynch(MER) and Deutsche Bank AG offer such strategies to institutional investors.
- Blackstone Group LP may be worth about 15% less if Congress passes a bill that would end special tax provisions for partnership investors.

Daily Telegraph:
- MySpace, the social-networking site owned by News Corp.(NWS/A), may start an online retail service, citing CEO Chris DeWolfe.

Die Welt:
- General Motors(GM) aims to quadruple sales of entry-level Chevrolet in Germany over the next seven years, citing Peter Sommer, who heads the brand in Germany.

Capital Week:
- China’s bank regulator has found that eight banks including Bank of China Ltd. have illegally lent money to companies that used the funds to buy stocks. The China Banking Regulatory Commission retracted a June 5 press release on its findings, amid concern news of the illegal lending may spark a market slump that causes borrowers to default on their loans, according to China’s Stock Exchange Executive Council.

- Syrian President Bashar Assad is ready to negotiate peace with Israel and will not set any conditions.
- Orckit Communications(ORCT) is close to signing a $40 million contract with an unidentified new Japanese customer.

Zambia Daily Mail:
- Zambia may increase corn production almost 500% in the next five years, citing Agriculture Minister Ben Kapita.

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