Roubini: Obama's Spending Address Just 'Spare Change' (CNBC)
President Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze on non-discretionary defense spending for five year to lower the deficit by about $400 billion. But more actions will be needed to seriously tackle the deficit, Nouriel Roubini said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The government will have to work on reform on entitlement programs like Social Security and "also eventually raise taxes for both the rich and the middle class," he said. Until that happens, the Chinese will have to continue to buy US Treasurys, because "there is not alternative for them" and if they stopped their currency would appreciate sharply and hurt their exports and growth, Roubini said.
TARP Profit On Citi: $12.3 Billion (WSJ)
The U.S. is set to record a net $312.2 million from its sale of its final 465.1 million warrants to purchase common shares of Citigroup Inc., the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The sale of the warrants, expected to close Monday, will allow the government to dispose of the remaining stake in Citi it obtained through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Overall, taxpayers are expected to end up with a $12.3 billion profit on the government's $45 billion investment in the company during the 2008 financial-sector bailout. Last year, Treasury sold its 34% stake of common shares of Citi.
Bernanke Gets 66% Approval From Investors Disliking QE2 (Bloomberg)
Sixty-six percent of investors have a favorable view of the 57-year-old former Princeton University economist, compared with 31 percent unfavorable, according to a quarterly global poll of 1,000 Bloomberg customers who are investors, traders or analysts conducted Jan. 21-24. Bernanke is more popular than his European counterpart, Jean-Claude Trichet, and scores higher than all other world political and economic leaders in the poll with the exception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Getting Into Harvard Easier Than McDonald's University in China (Bloomberg)
“I’m thrilled and proud to attend Hamburger University,” said Zhou, who in 2007 started as a management trainee in the central Chinese city of Changsha, a job for which she and seven others were among 1,000 applicants. That’s a selection rate of less than 1 percent, lower than Harvard University’s record low acceptance rate last year of about 7 percent, according to the school’s official newspaper.
Brevan Howard hires BofA Merrill prop trading duo (FN)
Brevan Howard Asset Management has hired two credit traders from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Jason Feasey and Jenna Collins) as hedge funds continue to take advantage of banks scaling back their proprietary trading activities in preparation for impending regulation.
Barclays Plans To Cut 1,000 Jobs In UK (WSJ)
The bank said 1,000 jobs in its U.K. retail-banking arm are under review to be cut as part of its plan to withdraw financial-planning services for retail customers.
China to create largest mega city in the world with 42 million people (Telegraph)
City planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta. The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.
CEOs React To State Of The Union (WSJ)
CEOs did note a change in tone during Tuesday's address, after years of Mr. Obama being criticized for being anti-business. "I heard a lot more about creating the right environment for business," says Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA. "I think he got the message that business is where jobs will be created, not the government." Mr. Guzzi said Mr. Obama was "more moderate" in his address.
At Davos, Era Of Contrition For Bankers May Be Ending (NYT)
After being on the defensive for the last two years, there were signs that bankers attending the World Economic Forum here were pushing back more assertively against attempts by regulators to cramp their style. At one of the opening panels on Wednesday, top executives from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered warned that new restrictions on their businesses are either irrelevant or threaten to hurt economic growth.
Watch The State Of The Union In 4 Minutes (DI)
In case you missed it.