Global Markets Roiled by Nikkei's 7.3% Slide (AP)
Several reasons have been blamed for the 7.3 percent fall in the Nikkei index to 14,483.98, including a spike in Japanese government bond yields and unexpectedly weak Chinese manufacturing figures.
Euro-Zone Business Activity Falls Again (WSJ)
Markit Economics said its composite purchasing managers' index for the euro zone—a measure of activity in the services and manufacturing sectors—rose to 47.7 from 46.9 in April, a stronger outcome than that forecast by economists but still below the level of 50 that separates growth from contraction. Speaking after the surveys were released, a member of the European Central Bank's governing council said he didn't expect the euro zone's economy to pick up in the near future. "From my personal view, I don't see at the moment any indication of a significant improvement in the economic situation for the immediate future," said Ewald Nowotny, who is also governor of the Austrian central bank.
Wall Street Seeks Dodd-Frank Changes Through Trade Talks (Bloomberg)
U.S. bankers and insurers are trying to use trade deals, which can trump existing legislation, to weaken parts of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. While the companies say they are seeking agreements that preserve strong regulations and encourage economic growth, their effort is drawing fire from groups who argue that Wall Street wants to make the trade negotiations a new front in its three-year campaign to stop or alter the law.
In a Plus for Electrics, Tesla Repays a Big Federal Loan Early (DealBook)
“Today’s repayment is the latest indication that the Energy Department’s portfolio of more than 30 loans is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated,” Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, said in a statement. ... The Energy Department on Wednesday said that losses on its loans were equivalent to 2 percent of its $34 billion portfolio.
Rating agencies under fire again (FT)
... for not upgrading RMBS fast enough.
For Philadelphia Bicyclist, a Cat Is His Co-Pilot (AP)
"People are thrilled to see the guy with the cat ride his bike down the street," Saldia said. But online commenters have been less kind, questioning whether the unharnessed cat is safe. Saldia noted he is equally vulnerable while riding in the city and takes necessary precautions. "I'm very confident that the cat would be better off in an accident than I would be, so I'm not worried about taking her out," he said.
EU may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets: Dijsselbloem (Reuters)
The euro zone may give Greece more time to meet fiscal targets agreed under its international bailout, the chairman of the euro zone finance ministers said in an interview published on Thursday. "The Commission's approach regarding fiscal consolidation is more flexible, giving certain countries more time to meet their targets. I believe that this will be the case for Greece if needed," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Kathimerini newspaper.
For Proxy Advisers, Influence Wanes (WSJ)
Big firms that sell recommendations on how to vote in corporate elections are losing some of their relevance, as companies more aggressively court key investors ahead of big votes and those investors handle more of the voting analysis themselves. ... "Our power is probably shrinking a little bit,'' said David Eaton, vice president of proxy research for Glass Lewis.
Wary of China, U.S. Steps Into Sprint's Board (WSJ)
SoftBank Corp. is readying a plan to allow the U.S. government an unusual level of influence over the operations of Sprint Nextel Corp., a concession to ease security concerns raised by the proposed cross-border takeover. Tokyo-based SoftBank has agreed to give the federal government the right to approve one of the directors it names to Sprint's board. That director will be responsible for overseeing national security issues. People familiar with the matter said the government is also seeking the right to approve some of Sprint's equipment purchases and wants the removal of Chinese gear from a Sprint affiliate's network.
JPMorgan’s Wealth Unit Fined in Britain (DealBook)
British regulators fined JPMorgan Chase £3.1 million ($4.7 million) on Thursday for failings in its wealth management division. The Financial Conduct Authority of Britain said that the unit’s senior management had failed to provide clients adequate advice and carried out poor recording-keeping related to individuals’ investments between 2010 and 2012. ... “No matter who they are, customers of wealth managers should be able to expect the firm to keep complete, up-to-date client records so that they can give the right advice,” Tracey McDermott, the Financial Conduct Authority’s director of enforcement and financial crime, said in a statement. The British regulator said that the poor record-keeping had not materially affected any JPMorgan client.
Cash Piles Up as U.S. CEOs Play Safe With Slow-Growth Economy (Bloomberg)
“What concerns me is that companies have all of this excess cash and they are not deploying it into their long-term operations,” said Nick Raich, chief executive officer of the Earnings Scout, an independent economic research firm based in Cleveland. “Public outcry will erupt if companies do not spend and create jobs.”
Derek Jeter uses phony name 'Philip' at Greenwich Village Starbucks (NYP)
The Yankee shortstop was spotted yesterday leaving one of the coffee chain’s locations in Greenwich Village with a cup suspiciously marked with the name “Philip.” Without his pinstripes, the Yankee captain may have been trying to go incognito as he picked up a cup of joe. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s operated under an alias. In 2007, The Smoking Gun Web site published a bill that showed the currently injured baseball star used the pseudonym “Johnny Drama” — an apparent reference to the HBO show “Entourage” — to check into a Seattle hotel with his teammates.