Obama, Congress Reach Debt Deal (WSJ)
The Senate and House are expected to vote on the deal Monday, so the agreement still needs the support of many House Republicans, who have proven a restless, independent group in recent days. But if it passes both chambers, it culminates an extraordinary display of political and economic brinksmanship, coming just days before the government could have been unable to fully pay its bills. The deal would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in two stages, and provide initially for $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years. A special committee of lawmakers would be charged with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, which could come through a tax overhaul and changes to safety-net programs. If the committee doesn't find at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or Congress doesn't adopt its proposals, a pre-set array of spending cuts would kick in, including cuts in military spending and Medicare payments to health-care providers.
'Band Aid’ Deal May Pressure S&P to Slash US Rating (Reuters)
The deal “is certainly not a game-changing breakthrough, and will keep the possibility of a near-term rating downgrade alive; it represents, in our view, just a band-aid approach on the way to more sustainable public finances,” said Julian Callow, the chief European economist at Barclays Capital in a research note on Monday.
HSBC Posts Surprise Profit Rise; Cuts 30,000 Jobs (Reuters)
"There will be further job cuts," Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told reporters on a conference call. "There will be something like 25,000 roles eliminated between now and the end of 2013." The cuts equate to roughly 10 percent of HSBC's total workforce. They come on top of any reductions in overall headcount that will result from a program of disposals that also forms part of a plan to focus on HSBC's Asian operations.
Hedge Fund Cashes In $850 Million Goldman Stake (NYP)
Lansdowne Partners, a London-based hedge fund that is said to be the largest in Europe, has cashed in its entire $850 million stake in the New York bank giant. Lansdowne sold its shares in Goldman -- whose results lately have hit a rough patch under wisecracking CEO Lloyd Blankfein -- because of rising concerns about stiffening US regulations that are putting a crimp in its profits, according to the Sunday Telegraph, citing unnamed sources close to the situation.
Ex-SAC Manager Sentenced In Expert Network Probe (WSJ)
A former hedge-fund manager at SAC Capital Advisors was sentenced to 2½ years in prison Friday after he pleaded guilty in April to insider-trading charges. Donald Longueuil, 35 years old, was charged as part of an investigation into the ties between so-called expert-network firms, which match company insiders with hedge-fund managers and other investors for a fee. "I continue to accept full responsibility and will forever be remorseful for those actions," Mr. Longueuil said before sentencing. "I have one life to live and forever tainted it. "I made mistakes, I crossed the line, I broke the law," he told the court. After the judge left the bench, Mr. Longueuil visibly sobbed in the courtroom.
Report: Man Finds Brick Of Unknown Substance, Snorts It, Dies (WPBF)
Thomas Swindal, 53, was offshore on Marathon when he and his brother Kenneth discovered a brick of an unknown substance, possibly cocaine, floating in the water. They ended up tossing the package into a bait well until a short time later, when Kenneth said he turned around and saw his brother snorting some of the substance. Kenneth told investigators that about 90 minutes later, Thomas began running around the boat, throwing things into the water, including a cell phone and a VHF radio. Thomas also picked up knives, pliers and a gaff and removed the cowling from the engine, which fell overboard and sank, leaving the brothers stranded. To avoid further dangers, Kenneth said he tossed all remaining sharp objects into the water, as well as the package of the mysterious substance.
CIO: Selective Default Only Solution To US Debt (CNBC)
"It's incredibly frustrating to watch this slow train wreck taking place. All we have are incremental solutions to the problem and that's no good anymore. You need some very drastic solutions to shift America out of its paradigm because it's being chased by a hugely powerful China," Murrin said in an interview. "The only solution is the unthinkable and that is selective default. They will default whatever happens why not choose your default?" he added.
China's Fake Ikea Stores Try to Recreate Experience (Reuters)
Nestled in a sleepy southern district of Kunming city in southwest China, is a 10,000 square metre, four-storey building that could make Swedish furniture giant Ikea uneasy. 11 Furniture, as the store is known, copies Ikea's blue and yellow colour scheme, mock-up rooms, miniature pencils, signage and even its rocking chair designs. Its cafeteria-style restaurant, complete with minimalist wooden tables, has a familiar look, although the menu features Chinese-style braised minced pork and eggs instead of Ikea's Swedish meatballs and salmon. This knock-off Ikea store is emblematic of a new wave of piracy sweeping through China. Increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters no longer just pump out fake luxury handbags, DVDs and sports shoes but replicate the look, feel and service of successful Western retail concepts — in essence, pirating the entire brand experience. "This is a new phenomenon," said Adam Xu, retail analyst with Booz&Co. "Typically there are a lot of fake products, now we see more fakes in the service aspect in terms of (faking) the retail formats."
Porsche Profit Driven By World Wide Demand (WSJ)
Porsche Automobil Holding SE's sportscar division said Monday its first-half operating profit surged on rising demand for luxury vehicles in major markets across the globe, and confirmed that it's targeting a new sales record of more than 100,000 cars this year...It benefited from booming demand in China, where sales rose 47% to 11,712 cars. In Europe, sales increased by 10.5% to 18,853 vehicles. Porsche's domestic German market accounted for 6,734 cars, up 0.9% year-to-year. North American sales rose 25% to 15,466 cars.
Buffett’s Berkadia Venture Weighs Acquisitions (Bloomberg)
Buffett said in May that the commercial property market was showing signs of strength. “The country’s expanding, the activity is expanding, households are expanding,” Buffett, 80, said in the May 1 interview. “Prices have been pretty strong if you start looking at particularly apartment buildings, but even shopping malls.”
Xbox addict 'dies from blood clot' (AP)
The family of a budding computer programmer have on Saturday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games after their son died following a marathon session on his Xbox.
A post-mortem revealed that 20-year-old Chris Staniforth -- who was offered a place to study Game Design at Leicester University -- was killed by a pulmonary embolism, which can occur if someone sits in the same position for several hours. Deep vein thrombosis normally affects passengers on long-haul flights, but medical experts fear youngsters who spend hours glued to their consoles might also be at risk and have urged them to take regular breaks. Professor Brian Colvin -- an expert on blood-related conditions -- said it was "unhealthy" for youngsters to spend long periods in front of their consoles.