Greek Euro Exit Risk Increases as EU Delivers Ultimatum (Bloomberg)
After three weeks of sparring since Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s election victory, finance chiefs hardened their positions as negotiations in Brussels ended abruptly on Monday night with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis refusing to bow to European demands.
El-Erian: Grexit would not be a major catastrophe (CNBC)
Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Germany-based Allianz, told CNBC on Tuesday that a Greek exit from the euro would cause "short-term chaos," but it would not bring the global economy to its knees. The former Pimco co-CEO said in a "Squawk Box" interview he expects short-term losses and a lot of volatility. "The reason it would not be a major catastrophe is because Europe has done a lot to navigate a Grexit [Greek exit]."
Fund managers bet on gold amid Greek uncertainty (CNBC)
Sentiment towards gold is on the up, as talks between Greece and its euro zone creditors drag on, adding to investor fears of a possible "Grexit" -- or Greek exit from the currency bloc. Asset managers have turned bullish on the yellow metal this month, with 40 percent of investors polled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA ML) for its latest fund manager survey predicting the price of gold to rise in 12 months' time.
UBS Client Claims Losses on Currency Product Probed by US (Bloomberg)
Walter Michaelson’s career on Wall Street ended 19 years ago when he injured his neck in an auto accident in New York. Now he lives near the Gulf Coast in Naples, Florida, where he cares for his quadriplegic mother. In July, he filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida against UBS Group AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, for selling him a complex financial product that he claims he didn’t ask for, wasn’t explained properly and lost him more than $100,000.
Tractor-Trailer Driver Allegedly Leads Cops On 34-Mile Chase, Chucks Fridge At Them (AP)
Police in Westmoreland County said a man called emergency dispatchers just before 2 a.m. Saturday and said he planned to wreck his truck. State troopers tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Township but the driver disregarded the emergency lights and sirens, and a pursuit began along Route 70 and later the Pennsylvania Turnpike, police said. "During the pursuit, the driver threw numerous items at pursuing troopers from the cab" including a steel canister that struck a Greensburg state police unit and disabled it, police said. The driver also threw a mini refrigerator before the truck was stopped with spike strips shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. The driver refused orders to leave the cab, police said, so troopers entered and used a stun gun to subdue him. He was taken to a hospital because officers believed he was under the influence of a controlled substance, namely Xanax, and for other injuries, police said.
Former Herbalife distributors reject proposed $15M settlement (NYP)
More than two dozen former Herbalife distributors plan to object to a proposed $15 million class-action settlement with the company that was reached in October, The Post has learned. At least $100 million is required to adequately compensate the class, which represents 1.55 million people, said Douglas Brooks, the lawyer representing the group. A former Herbalife salesman in California sued Herbalife in 2013, claiming it was a pyramid scheme. Dana Bostick argued more than a million former distributors have failed trying to peddle the Los Angeles company’s protein shakes and other weight-loss products. Herbalife, which is also under investigation by several federal and state regulators over similar allegations, agreed to settle the suit as a class action without an admission of wrongdoing.
Chinese Firms Tiptoe Back Into Europe’s Battered Financial Sector (WSJ)
In recent months there has been a surge in bite-size deals, particularly in smaller European markets, as Chinese firms tiptoe into the continent, looking to diversify and take advantage of cheap prices. More deals may be on the way, bankers and lawyers say. Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. has expressed interest in Portugal’s Novo Banco, carved out of the collapsed Banco Espírito Santo SA, while Chinese insurers have inquired about Italy’s up-for-sale Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, according to people familiar with the deals. Both of those deals could be multibillion-dollar transactions.
Global Oil Layoffs Exceed 100,000 (Bloomberg)
The outlook isn’t brightening. Citigroup Inc. said oil could drop to “the $20 range” by April as oversupplies build. U.S. crude rose 2.6 percent to $50.10 at 10:18 a.m. in New York.
Cleveland Fed President Sees June Rate Increase as ‘Viable Option’ (WSJ)
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is joining a chorus of central-bank officials who want to take a tentative step toward raising short-term interest rates at midyear by altering their pledge to be “patient” before making a move.
Burger King, Tim Hortons owner posts loss on deal costs (Reuters)
Restaurant Brands International Inc (QSR.TO), formed out of Burger King's takeover of Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons last year, saw higher quarterly sales growth at both brands, but posted a net loss due to one-time costs related to the merger. U.S. chain Burger King bought Tim Hortons for C$12.64 billion ($10.21 billion) in August, creating the world's third-largest fast-food restaurant group. The two restaurant chains are being managed as distinct and separate brands under the parent company. "Whenever you do a transaction like that, there's going to be a lot of one-time fees," Restaurant Brands Chief Financial Officer Josh Kobza said in an interview.
1,585 snowmen break Guinness record in Japan (UPI)
Residents of a Japanese town built 1,585 in one hour at a high school field to set a Guinness World Record, organizers said...The Sunday event was confirmed by Guinness adjudicator Justin Patterson to have beat the previous record of 1,279 snowmen set in Utah in 2011...Officials said each snowman had to be at least 36 inches tall and be composed of three snowballs with eyes, a nose and arms.