Greek Talks Resume Amid Strikes (WSJ)
According to Greek officials, the political leaders are closing in on a deal that would reduce those supplementary pension benefits by about 20%, while the cuts in public-sector payrolls will likely be agreed to. Two-month bonus salaries now paid to Greek workers each year are likely to be kept intact, but could be trimmed. Meanwhile, signs of popular protest are growing. Thousands of workers, students and business owners marched through the streets of the Greek capital Tuesday protesting against the new austerity measures being demanded by Greece's international creditors.
Profit Falls At UBS (WSJ)
UBS aid net profit fell to 393 million Swiss francs ($427.9 million) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from 1.66 billion francs a year earlier, below analysts' average estimate of 739 million francs in net profit. Revenue declined 16% to 5.97 billion francs. In a gesture to shareholders who have gone without a dividend since 2006, UBS will pay a nominal dividend of 0.10 franc a share. The bank's executives did, however, sound a cautious note on the year ahead. "As in the fourth quarter of 2011, ongoing concerns surrounding euro-zone sovereign debt, the European banking system and U.S. federal budget deficit issues, as well as continued uncertainty about the global economic outlook in general, appear likely to have a negative influence on client activity levels in the first quarter of 2012," UBS said in a statement.
UBS Cuts 2011 Bonus Pool 40% (Bloomberg)
“I don’t see how compensation should stay the same or go up if profitability of the banking industry is going south,” Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti told reporters in Zurich today. “We’re trying to strive for a situation in which both the shareholder and employee can have a win-win situation.”
For Sale: AIG's Subprime Bonds (WSJ)
Selling the bonds would let the New York Fed take advantage of buoyant market conditions to dispose of more troubled assets from the financial crisis. It also would bring the central bank closer to ending a controversial chapter of its support for financial markets since 2008. A sale could take place as soon as Wednesday, the people said, if the New York Fed and its investment manager, BlackRock Solutions, feel the winning bid represents good value for U.S. taxpayers.
Facebook Governance a Concern for Pension Fund (Reuters)
The pension fund, which has a portfolio valued at around $145 billion, is planning to send a letter to Facebook, hoping to engage the social networking website on corporate governance, two CalSTRS executives told Reuters in an interview on Monday...CalSTRS decided on Friday — just two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering — to try to talk to the website about improving its corporate governance. CalSTRS invested in Facebook from its funds on the private equity side and is likely to invest in the company's publicly traded shares, Hester-Amey said. "No matter how brilliant you are, when you come to the public market — not that we want to ever tell Zuckerberg or anyone like him how to run his company — there should be some protection especially for long-term, patient money like CalSTRS," Hester-Amey said. "So I think there should be some more respect for capital," she said.
Banks Paying U.S. Homeowners to Avoid Foreclosures (Bloomberg)
Karen Farley hadn’t made a mortgage payment in a year when she got what looked like a form letter from her lender. “You could sell your home, owe nothing more on your mortgage and get $30,000,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in the Aug. 17 letter obtained by Bloomberg. Farley, whose home construction lending business dried up after the housing crash, said the New York-based bank agreed to let her sell her San Marcos, California, home for $592,000 -- about $200,000 less than what she owes. The $30,000 will cover moving costs and the rental deposit for her next home. Farley, who is also approved for an additional $3,000 through a federal incentive program, is scheduled to close the deal Feb. 10. “I wondered, why would they offer me something, and why wouldn’t they just give me the boot?” Farley, 65, said in a telephone interview. “Instead, I’m getting money.”
Romney Endorsement Came Down to China Says Trump (Reuters)
Trump said he is impressed that the former Massachusetts governor would declare China a currency manipulator "if they don't change their ways very quickly." "What they're doing with their currency is unbelievable," he said in a CNBC interview. "They are currency manipulators totally beyond anything that anybody's ever seen before and it makes it impossible or very, very hard for other countries to compete with their companies."
Rate Probe Keys On Traders (WSJ)
Investigators in a world-wide probe of how crucial interest rates are set are focusing on a small number of traders suspected of trying to influence other bank employees to manipulate the rates, according to people familiar with the situation. The move is part of investigations by regulators and law-enforcement officials in Europe, Japan and the U.S. that began more than a year ago. Officials are trying to determine if major banks colluded to manipulate benchmark interest rates such as the London interbank offered rate, commonly known as Libor, and the Tokyo interbank offered rate, or Tibor.
Glencore-Xstrata deal meets shareholder opposition (Reuters)
At least two top 10 shareholders in miner Xstrata said Tuesday they would vote against a takeover by commodities trader Glencore, threatening the creation of a powerhouse spanning mining, agriculture and trading.
Congressman Alerts Facebook Followers to Onion Story About $8 Billion Abortionplex (Daily Intel)
An ardent opponent of abortion, Fleming posted on his Facebook account a link to a May 11, 2011 story by The Onion titled "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex." Fleming's Facebook status, which has since been deleted, included the link with the note, "More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale." The congressman's followers were directed to Onion's faux-story that begins, "Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible."