Bernanke Tries To Soothe GOP (WSJ)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sought to reassure wary Republicans that he won't allow inflation to take root, though he gave no indication that he is ready to reverse his easy-money policies. "We do not now have a problem," Mr. Bernanke said amid repeated questions about inflation from lawmakers during an appearance before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
Jim Chanos: Big Misconception That Chinese Government Can Do What It Wants (Benzinga)
“There's this big misconception there that the Chinese government can do what it wants,” Chanos said, on CNBC this morning. “The Chinese banking system is expanding to do this.” Chanos said that China's credit expansion is much worse than that of the United States. Construction currently makes up 70% of the Chinese economy. They're building 25 million new homes. At its peak in the U.S., construction only made up 16% of the economy. “The real estate in China is approaching the scary numbers [that Japan and Ireland] saw,” Chanos said. “One of the fascinating things about Chinese market…there isn't much resale market. If you try to sell your condo China, you can't. Everyone wants new.”
Carlos Slim Sees Colombia Ascending as Choice in Commodity Boom (Bloomberg)
Commodity prices are surging as emerging markets such as China and India require more resources to accommodate the needs and wishes of their growing middle classes for infrastructure and consumer goods, according to Slim. The depreciating value of the dollar is also driving those countries’ governments to build up their investments in commodities, he said. “They don’t want to have Treasuries,” Slim said. “The dollar is weak and there’s no interest, and also with commodities they have reserves for internal consumption.”
U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell 36,000 to 383,000 Last Week (Bloomberg)
“The labor market is improving,” said Brian Jones, an economist at Societe Generale in New York who projected claims would drop to 385,000. “Fingers crossed, if the weather can hold off this week, we should get a pretty decent snap back in non-farm payrolls and maybe another drop in the jobless rate.”
Twitter's Suitors Talk In Billions (Reuters)
Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion.
Credit Suisse Cuts Forecast (WSJ)
Credit Suisse also said its investment banking and private-banking businesses held up well during a lackluster fourth quarter for the banking sector and gave a positive outlook for this year. Revenues were 6.96 billion Swiss francs ($6.67 billion) in the fourth quarter, up 11% on the third quarter, while they stood at 30.63 billion francs for the full year, down 9% from 2009. Net profit for the full year, however, fell 24%, partly due to the swoon in the investment-banking business last year and sluggish client activity in the private bank.
SEC Probes ETF Use in Disguising Insider Trading (FT)
ETFs have emerged as a possible mechanism for maximizing gains in one stock while potentially masking trading patterns, people familiar with the matter say. In one scenario, a trader could learn information about a company, buy an ETF that includes the company’s stock, and short sell the other stocks in the ETF.
The Groupon Clipper (TIME)
Founder Andrew Mason says he's had better ideas than Groupon. "To me, as somebody who likes to come up with ideas, it's kind of stupid," he explains. "Like, I've had way better ideas, way cooler ideas."
U.S. Foreclosure Filings Decline for Fourth Consecutive Month (Bloomberg)
Foreclosure filings in the U.S. fell 17 percent in January from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of declines, as legal scrutiny of lender practices slowed actions against delinquent homeowners, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
3 Things That Egypt Must Overcome: El-Erian (CNBC)
First, Egypt’s banking system must resume normal operations in an orderly fashion. Second, the Finance Ministry must deal properly with the unanticipated collapse in tax revenues. It must make sure that this temporary interruption in government receipts does not lead to even more destabilizing spending disruptions. Salaries must be paid promptly, and all supplier bills must be met. Third, particular emphasis must be placed on targeted social spending, particularly when it comes to health, food subsidies, and shelter.