Monday, March 09, 2015

Today's Headlines

  • Russia's 'Dark' Warplanes Are Spooking Europe. Russian military aircraft with their transponders turned off have had several close calls with civilian planes. Two Russian bombers, flying with their transponders turned off to avoid detection, swooped so close to the Irish coast that Dublin's control tower delayed the takeoff of one passenger plane and ordered another to alter its route to steer clear of the bombers. The Feb. 18 incident, disclosed last week by the Irish government, was only the latest in an alarming series of close calls with Russian warplanes in the skies over Europe. In December, a Russian military intelligence plane nearly collided with an SAS passenger jet over southern Sweden, according to the Swedish air force chief. Earlier in the year, a Russian plane flew close to another SAS jet that had just taken off from Copenhagen. Russia has denied that its aircraft were dangerously close to either plane.
  • Greece Told Not to Waste Time as Euro Finance Ministers Meet. (video) Euro-area finance ministers said Greece must move faster to meet its rescue commitments in order to unlock more bailout funds, as the country risks running out of cash. “We have to stop wasting time,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the finance ministers’ group. “We’ve lost over two weeks -- in which very little progress has been made. The real talks haven’t started yet. There has been no implementation.”
  • Americans Get Burned by Europe Bond Rally That’s Undone by Euro. You can’t blame U.S. credit investors for wanting to ride this wave of European central bank stimulus. As policy makers buy bonds from traders in the market -- the thinking goes -- they’ll bid up prices. The problem is buying euro-denominated corporate bonds hasn’t necessarily been a good trade because the euro has been tanking relative to the dollar. While euro-denominated corporate bonds have gained 1.4 percent this year according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index, a U.S. exchange-traded fund focused on the debt has lost 9 percent. State Street Corp.’s International Corporate Bond ETF is the second-worst performer among all U.S. debt ETFs this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.  
  • Emerging-Market Stocks Drop for Seventh Day on U.S. Rate Outlook. Emerging-market stocks extended their longest losing streak since December, led by declines in Asia, amid speculation that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates sooner, damping demand for riskier assets. Shares in India and South Korea, which were closed March 6 when data showed a bigger-than-projected increase in U.S. payrolls, fell at least 1 percent. The won weakened 1.2 percent against the dollar. The Ibovespa slid to a three-week low as economists lowered their economic growth forecasts for Brazil. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. rallied as regulators said they may allow lenders to enter the brokerage business. Russian markets were closed for a holiday. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1.3 percent to 958.29, decreasing for a seventh day. All 10 industry groups in the gauge declined, led by technology companies. The odds for a U.S. rate increase by September surged to 59 percent from 49 percent on Thursday, futures showed, a move that will potentially damp the appeal of riskier assets.
  • European Stocks Fall From Seven-Year High, Led by Greek Shares. A drop in Greek stocks pushed European equities lower after a five-week rally. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.3 percent to 393.19 at the close of trading in London after falling as much as 0.9 percent. Greece’s ASE Index slid the most among 18 western-European markets as euro-area finance ministers said the nation must move faster to meet its rescue commitments in order to unlock more bailout funds.
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