Job market shows surprising strength (Reuters)
Nonfarm payrolls rose 165,000 last month and the jobless rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday. Payrolls rose by 138,000 jobs in March, 50,000 more than previously reported, and job growth for February was revised up by 64,000 to 332,000, the largest gain since May 2010. Economists polled by Reuters had expected April payrolls to rise 145,000 and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.6 percent.
EU economies to breach deficit limits as economic picture darkens (FT)
Three of the eurozone’s five largest economies will bust through EU-mandated deficit limits this year as the bloc’s recession continues to deepen, according to highly anticipated European Commission forecasts published on Friday. In addition to the anticipated breaches by France, Spain and the Netherlands, the currency union’s third-largest economy, Italy, will come within a hair’s breadth of missing the limit of 3 per cent of economic output, with a 2013 deficit forecasted at 2.9 per cent.
RBS presses for sell-off of state stake (FT)
The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday said he wanted the UK government to be able to start selling its 81 per cent stake in the group from the middle of next year – or even earlier. Sir Philip Hampton made the comments as the bank announced disappointing first-quarter results that prompted shares in the bank to fall 5.6 per cent to 290p in morning trading in London.
BNP Paribas CEO 'Satisfied' After 45% Profit Drop (CNBC)
BNP Paribas said quarterly earnings fell to 1.58 billion euros ($2.07 billion) from 2.87 billion euros in the year-ago period, when profits were boosted by the sale of part of its stake in real-estate subsidiary Klepierre. The profit figure slightly beat analysts' expectations of 1.53 billion euros, according to an average of analysts' forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters.
JPMorgan Caught in Swirl of Regulatory Woes (DealBook)
The latest is from FERC.
Buffett Supports Dimon’s Dual Roles 100% at JPMorgan (Bloomberg)
Warren Buffett, who has said he personally owns shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), is backing the bank’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon as shareholders vote this month on whether to split his roles. “I’m 100 percent for Jamie,” Buffett told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska. “I couldn’t think of a better chairman.”
Hong Kong's giant rubber duck (CNN)
Thousands lined the harbor front and work ground to a halt in offices with sea views as the much-hyped 'Rubber Duck' made its grand entrance. For two weeks local media has been on something of a "duck watch," closely monitoring the movements of the 16.5-meter (54 feet) inflatable sculpture. The man behind the seriously over-sized bath toy, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, described the Hong Kong response as overwhelming and said he was happy to have finally made it to the city, his first visit. ... "If it makes you smile, then that's OK, but maybe it makes you cry because of the urban environment. I make work not to give answers but to question things," said the 36-year-old father of three.
Lucrative Fees Behind Property Management Spark Fights (Bloomberg)
The problem with using an outside manager is that the firm may buy low-quality properties -- or overpay for real estate -- to boost the REIT’s portfolio size and increase management fees, Sullivan said. The manager may be focused more on its own income than in building the best portfolio for investors, he said.
Too-Big-to-Fail Danish Banks Seek Bailout Text in Sifi Law (Bloomberg)
Denmark’s biggest banks want the state to clarify its readiness to bail them out. The six lenders identified by a government committee as systemically important for the Danish economy say they need to be shielded from the country’s bail-in legislation for their too-big-to-fail designation to be meaningful. Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest lender, argues the additional capital costs they face should be matched by explicit guarantees of state support, just like in neighboring Sweden.
Banks to Repay ECB 616 Million Euros of Crisis Loans (Reuters)
Banks will return early 616 million euros of crisis loans to the European Central Bank next week, the lowest amount since banks started to repay the funds earlier this year. ... A Reuters poll of euro money market traders had expected banks to return a total of 3.3 billion euros next week, more than the 2.3 billion euros banks returned this week.
Glencore Xstrata CEO: Expect Big Layoffs (WSJ)
"Not one glass of champagne will be opened," said [Ivan Glasenberg,] the 57-year-old former coal trader and Glencore International PLC head in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "It's easy to buy. Prove that you bought at the right time and the right price. I've never opened a glass of champagne on any acquisition. Bankers do that."
J.C. Penney Spent $170 Million to Install Johnson Team (Bloomberg)
Ron Johnson’s tenure at J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) will long be associated with a 25 percent sales plunge. Lost amid the criticism since his departure last month is the $170 million it cost to install Johnson and his top three executives. The sum covers cash payments and restricted stock offerings to the four executives and outgoing Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman -- and doesn’t include salary or incentive pay, according to public filings. Now after less than a year and a half, Johnson and his trio are gone, and some are being been paid on the way out too.
Rat Meat Sold as Lamb Highlights Food Fears in China (NYT)
The police arrested 63 suspects accused of “buying fox, mink and rat and other meat products that had not undergone inspection,” which they doused in gelatin, red pigment, and nitrates, and sold as mutton in Shanghai and adjacent Jiangsu Province for about $1.6 million, according to the ministry’s statement. The account did not explain how exactly the traders acquired the rats and other creatures. “How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?” said one typically baffled and angry user of Sina Weibo.