China fines GM venture $29 million for monopolistic pricing: state TV

BEIJING China will fine U.S. automaker General Motors Co’s (GM.N) joint venture 201 million yuan ($29 million) for monopolistic pricing, state television reported on Friday, ending speculation after an official forewarned of penalties against a U.S. automaker. Shanghai’s pricing regulator said that it would fine GM’s venture with China’s largest automaker SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (600104.SS) for setting minimum prices on certain Cadillac, Chevy and Buick models, according to China Central Television. “GM fully respects local laws and regulations wherever we operate,” the U.S. automaker said in an emailed statement. “We will provide full support to our joint venture in China to ensure that all responsive and appropriate actions are […]

US Penalizes Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank $12 Billion For Toxic Debt

ZURICH/FRANKFURT Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have been hit with a combined penalty of more than $12 billion over the sale of U.S. toxic debt, further hampering two of Europe’s leading investment banks as they grapple with falling profits. The penalty puts them at a further disadvantage to larger U.S. rivals. Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) agreed in principle to pay U.S. authorities $2.48 billion to settle claims it misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities it sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the Swiss bank said on Friday. Credit Suisse will also provide $2.8 billion from the settlement over five years to offset the impact on consumers, it said […]

Credit Suisse agrees $5.3 billion U.S. mortgage settlement

ZURICH Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) had agreed in principle to pay US authorities $2.48 billion to settle claims it misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities it sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the Swiss bank said on Friday. Credit Suisse will also provide $2.8 billion in consumer relief over five years from the settlement, it said in a statement, adding the deal was subject to negotiation of final documentation and approval by its board of directors. “Credit Suisse will take a pre-tax charge of approximately $2 billion in addition to its existing reserves against these matters. This will be taken in our 4Q 2016 financial results,” it added. […]

Aleppo Update: UN Passes Resolution To Probe Syrian War Crimes; Evacuation Complete

Evacuations from Aleppo were completed in the aftermath of the resurgent Syrian Army’s success in establishing complete control, even as the United Nations passed a resolution Wednesday to establish an independent panel to investigate possible war crimes in Syria. The resolution passed in the General Assembly with 105 countries in favor, 15 against and  52 abstentions, aims to establish an impartial and independent mechanism to assist in investigation and prosecution in order to punish perpetrators of serious and heinous crimes committed in Syria since March 2011. The mechanism is set to work with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, established by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011, which […]

Banks lift stocks, dollar holds near 14-year peak

LONDON European stocks edged higher on Friday helped by banks after two regional bellwethers settled U.S. mortgage securities probes, while oil and the dollar were on the back foot in light trading ahead of the Christmas break. In another boost to European financials, a bailout for Italy’s oldest bank Monte dei Paschi was approved as the country’s government looks to end a protracted banking crisis that has gummed up the economy. European shares were up 0.1 percent with euro zone banks .SX7E up 0.7 percent and comfortably outperforming broader markets. An index of Italian lenders .FTIT8300 was up 1.3 percent. While Monte dei Paschi shares were suspended from trading, Italian […]

Volkswagen reaches deal with 80,000 U.S. 3.0-liter vehicle owners

WASHINGTON A federal judge said on Thursday that Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) has reached an agreement in principle to provide “substantial compensation” to the owners of about 80,000 3.0-liter polluting diesel vehicles, a key hurdle to resolve the German automaker’s emissions scandal. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer did not disclose the amount of owner compensation, which is not included in a $1 billion settlement announced earlier this week between VW and U.S. regulators. Half of the compensation will be paid at the time Breyer gives final approval of the settlement. Some fixes for the 3.0 liters may not approved until 2018, Breyer said. Earlier this week, Volkswagen reached the $1 billion […]

U.S. sues Barclays, ex-executives for mortgage securities fraud

NEW YORK The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday sued Barclays Plc (BARC.L) and two former executives on civil charges of fraud in the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the run-up to the 2008-09 financial crisis. The lawsuit was filed after Barclays resisted a penalty the U.S. government had sought in settlement negotiations, a person familiar with the matter said. The person would not disclose the government’s demand. Major U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), have paid tens of millions of dollars to settle similar claims over misconduct in the sale and pooling of mortgage securities, which helped to cause the financial […]

U.S. consumer spending slows; business investment perking up

WASHINGTON U.S. consumer spending increased modestly in November as household income failed to rise for the first time in nine months, suggesting the economy slowed in the fourth quarter after growing briskly in the prior period. The economy, however, remains on solid footing as other data on Thursday showed new orders for capital goods rising last month amid demand for machinery, indicating that some of the oil-related drag on business spending was fading. And while the number of Americans applying for unemployment aid hit a six-month high last week, it remained below a level that is associated with labor market strength. The slowdown in growth is likely to be temporary […]

Poll: As 2016 ends, ‘Trumponomics’ tempts investors back to equities

LONDON Global investors’ equity holdings rose to six-month highs in December on bets that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s promised fiscal splurge would spur higher growth and inflation, a Reuters monthly poll showed on Thursday. Trump’s plans to cut taxes and boost spending have sent Wall Street to record highs in December as investors pile into everything from banks, to energy and materials and other infrastructure-related names. The last Reuters asset allocation poll of 2016 surveyed 45 fund managers and chief investment officers in mainland Europe, the United States, Britain and Japan. It showed equity holdings at 45.3 percent, the highest since June, capping an eventful year that saw a significant […]

‘Regtech’ startups see more business in Trump era

NEW YORK President elect Donald Trump is pro-business and anti-red tape. But what if your business is red tape? Companies whose technology helps banks and investors cope with the welter of post financial crisis regulations and avoid increasingly hefty fines – a sector known as “regtech” – are sanguine about Trump’s pledge to dismantle some of those reforms. Their equanimity is based on a belief that if regulations are replaced rather than scrapped and the overall system of rules becomes more fragmented, financial firms will need their systems to navigate the new landscape. “Change is itself a driver of regtech adoption,” said David Buxton, the chief executive of compliance startup […]

Citi and Mercuria reach settlement over Qingdao

Citi and Mercuria have reached a settlement over the metals financing fraud in Qingdao which took place in 2014. The amount is undisclosed, but Citi confirmed the news in a statement that read: “Citi and Mercuria are pleased to confirm that they have reached a commercial resolution in respect of all issues between them relating to the historic base metal transactions in Qingdao and Penglai. This brings to an end the legal dispute between them.” Commodity trading house Mercuria confirmed the arrangement, publishing the same statement over social media. The pair had been embroiled in a legal battle over a repurchasing agreement (repo) worth $270 million US, which saw them slug […]

AIIB to fund Philippines projects

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is to co-finance two infrastructure projects in the Philippines. The China-backed development bank is to contribute loans to a flood management project on the Manila metro system and a rapid transit bus system in the Filipino capital. The loan amounts are yet to be revealed, but the AIIB’s participation has been confirmed by the Filipino government. The metro project is running at a total cost of 23.46bn pesos (about US$470mn), while the bus network is to cost around 37.6bn pesos (approximately US$754mn). The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to partner on the transit system, while the World Bank is to co-finance the flood management […]

China Launches Satellite To Monitor Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

As part of its effort to monitor and curb greenhouse gas emissions, China on Thursday launched an atmospheric carbon dioxide monitoring satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. The TanSat satellite, launched on board a Long March-2D rocket, was sent to a sun synchronous orbit roughly 435 miles from the surface of Earth. The 1,400-pound satellite will measure global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days over the next three years. China hopes doing so would help policy makers and scientists gather “independent” climate change data. “Since only the United States and Japan have carbon-monitoring satellites, it is hard for us to see first-hand data,” Xinhua quoted […]

Japan Approves Record $43.6 Billion Defense Budget Amid Rising Regional Tensions

Japan aims to ramp up defense spending as it was revealed that out of the record 97.5 trillion yen ( $830 billion) spending budget for fiscal 2017 approved Thursday, a record sum of over 5.13 trillion yen ($43.6 billion) is dedicated to the defense budget. While this budget will certainly test Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition to achieve a primary budget surplus by 2020 in a country with the world’s heaviest debt burden, it also grants some semblance of security amid rising tensions with China and North Korea, according to Reuters.  Fears of North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile capabilities also led to the approval of a separate 171 million […]

Scientists Create Artificial Leaves That Can Serve As ‘Mini-Factory’ For Drugs

A garden filled with “plants” that manufacture medicines on demand might sound like an idea straight out of the fevered imagination of a science fiction writer, but a team of Dutch researchers has now taken the first step toward making it real. In a study, published Thursday in the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology described the creation of a “mini-factory” of drugs contained within artificial leaves. These structures, which don’t necessarily need to be shaped like leaves, utilize the unique characteristics of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) — materials capable of capturing sunlight much like real leaves, converting it to a specific color, and guiding it to […]

Ford Truck Recall 2016: Full List Of Models At Risk Of Catching Fire

Ford Motor Co. issued a recall Wednesday for 9,300 vehicles that are at risk of catching fire due to leakage of fuel.  The company said that it is not aware of any fires, accidents or injuries related to the problem. Approximately 8,000 2017 Ford Super Duty vehicles and 1,300 2016 Ford Taurus, 2016-17 Flex, 2017 Explorer and Police Interceptor Utility and 2016-17 Lincoln MKT vehicles with 3.5-liter GTDI engines have been recalled. While the company said it will inspect and install fuel tank strap reinforcement on the Super Duty vehicles, the other affected models will have their leaking turbocharger oil supply tubes replaced. “Over time, a missing reinforcement could lead to […]

Will Republicans Keep Obamacare Taxes? Repeal and Replace Needs Funding

Maybe not all of the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed. Congressional Republicans may hold off repealing some of the taxes associated with the measure to provide funding for whatever replacement legislation is developed, sources told the Hill Wednesday. “Members are still reviewing all options on the table and no decisions have been finalized about how we will smoothly transition away from this failing law and toward reforms that deliver affordable, quality, health care choices based on what patients and families need,” a House GOP aide said. More than 6.4 million Americans have signed up for ACA coverage beginning Jan. 1, 400,000 more than signed up for policies last […]

Top Mergers Of 2016: Linde And Praxair Would Be Second On The List By Dollar Value

‘Tis the season of shopping, and Praxair Inc. appeared to be feeling the holiday spirit early this week. The Danbury, Connecticut-based industrial gas company announced its intentions to buy German competitor Linde for at least $35 billion on Tuesday, a move that would place it among the most valuable mergers of 2016. The deal isn’t likely to reach completion by year’s end: The companies expect to seal the deal “in the coming months,” according to a Praxair news release. Read on for the biggest mergers of 2016, in which companies cleared regulatory hurdles and finished the job for a combined estimated worth of about $208 billion in deals.  Bayer AG […]

Dollar basks in yield glow, Nikkei at one-year peak

SYDNEY The U.S. dollar held near 14-year peaks on Wednesday as global yield spreads moved inexorably in its favor, while a falling yen lifted Japanese shares to a one-year top. The Nikkei .N225 added 0.3 percent in thin trade, while Australia’s main index climbed 0.6 percent to its highest in 17 months after Wall Street racked up more records. Japan’s government upgraded its overall assessment of the economy on Wednesday, echoing a more upbeat view from the Bank of Japan’s delivered the day before. The dollar reveled in its rapidly widening yield premium, with the Federal Reserve set on a tightening course even as its peers in Europe and Japan […]