Search This Blog


Search Tool

Aug 13, 2012

Reuters Counterparties August 13, 2012: Robo-suing is the new robo-signing

Of all the bad practices of the mortgage boom and collapse, robo-signing was among the worst. Unsubstantiated and at times fraudulent foreclosure documents submitted by banks affected more than a 138,000 US homeowners. Following the great series by the American Banker's Jeff Horwtiz, the NYT's Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that some of the same tactics are being employed collecting credit card debt:
As they work through a glut of bad loans, companies like American Express, Citigroup and Discover Financial are going to court to recoup their money. But many of the lawsuits rely on erroneous documents, incomplete records and generic testimony from witnesses, according to judges who oversee the cases.
Lenders, the judges said, are churning out lawsuits without regard for accuracy, and improperly collecting debts from consumers...
“I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt,” said Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, who said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day.
Americans may be reducing their outstanding credit card debt, but an overhang of unpaid loans remains. And lenders are looking for ways to maximize the value of those loans: JP Morgan is settling claims that it improperly raised minimum credit card payments, and then charged borrowers a fee if they couldn't pay the new, larger amount. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may force American Express to refund customers who paid for "identity-theft protection services" without actually receiving the services. It has already won $140 million in refunds from Capital One for selling add-on products customers "didn’t understand, didn’t want, or in some cases, couldn’t even use". That money fully compensated customers for their losses, which is a far better deal than penalizing a firm $4.8 million after costing customers $300 million. – Ben Walsh
On to today's links:
B of A is not the bank of Obama's America: the Democratic National Committee moves its capital to a union-owned bank – WSJ
"The Ryan brand is rooted in his ostentatious wonkery...[a] blend of fact, pseudo-fact, & pure imagination" – Jonathan Chait
You say that now
The underwriters and media hyped Facebook pre-IPO, and the sell-side hyped it after – NYT
Settling Limits
From $5 million to $500 million: StanChart's cost of settling skyrockets – FT
Magazines desperate – NYT
Google buys Frommer's travel for less than $66 million – WSJ
EU Mess
Merkel confronts a crisis: "I don’t do dinner parties, but I’d like to have Vicente del Bosque to supper" – Economist
Criticism of Standard Chartered, Godwin's law edition – WSJ
Quotes From The Id
Jamie Dimon: "This is not the Soviet Union. This is the USA. It’s a free. Fucking. Country". – NY Mag
Anti-Social Media
"The iPhone sadly lacks the ability to process a constant stream of hate-filled text messages" – Fast Company

NYT Global Update | Top News August 13, 2012: Casino Mogul's Frontman in China Is Focus of Inquiries

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
August 13, 2012
Compiled 20:45 GMT

Global Update


Casino Mogul's Frontman in China Is Focus of Inquiries

Questions over a casino company's payments to its Chinese representative highlight how often politics and profits are intertwined for Sheldon Adelson, the company's founder and a major Republican donor.

Syrian Rebels Claim to Have Brought Down a Jet

The downing of a fighter jet would signal a major shift in the war, which has been defined by an inequality of force.
Media Decoder Blog

Helen Gurley Brown, Who Gave Cosmopolitan Its Purr, Is Dead at 90

Ms. Brown ran the magazine for more than three decades, giving it the sexually frank tone it was known for.

Slide Show: London Returns to Normal as Olympians Return Home

As London cleaned up, Olympic athletes were welcomed back to their countries, sometimes with great fanfare.


Being Sikh in America

The Wisconsin killings have sparked efforts to recognize Sikhs for who they are. But this is a classic case of stigmatizing the victim instead of the perpetrator.

In Upheaval for Egypt, Morsi Forces Out Military Chiefs

President Mohamed Morsi ousted his powerful defense minister, the army chief of staff and several senior generals, seeming for the moment to reclaim power the military had seized.

Norway Panel on Massacre Finds Litany of Government Failures

Norwegian authorities could have prevented or disrupted the bomb and gun attacks by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people last year, according to an independent inquest.

Ugandan Copters, en Route to Battle Shabab, Disappear Over Kenya

At least two Ugandan military helicopters, key assets in a push against militants in Somalia, "lost communication" somewhere in Kenyan airspace and may have crashed, officials said.

In Talks, Canada's Autoworkers Face a Strong Currency

As talks begin this week on a new Canadian Auto Workers contract, the three Detroit automakers have been scaling back their operations in Canada even as they add workers and shifts in the United States.

German Small Businesses Reflect Country's Strength

FRANKFURT - The small and midsize companies of the Mittelstand will play a key role in determining to what extent the German economy will continue to provide a counterweight to the recession in Southern Europe.
Euro Watch

Greek Economy Shrank 6.2% in Second Quarter

PARIS - The data is a painful reminder of how Greece, the weakest member of the euro zone, is chasing a moving target in trying to meet its bailout obligations.

Motorola Set for Big Cuts as Google Reinvents It

The cuts are the first step in Google's plan to reinvent the company that it bought in May, and to shore up its Android mobile business and expand beyond search and software.

A Steep Climb Back for Facebook's Stock

In a new test for the company's stock, over 1.6 billion shares will be eligible to come on the market in several waves when a number of shareholders are allowed to sell.

Google to Buy Frommer's From Wiley Publishing

The acquisition, said to be worth $23 million, will expand Google's ambitions in the travel business. The search giant bought the Zagat local guide business last year.

Home Team Comes Through in London

Britain won 65 medals at the London Games, continuing a resurgence that began after its poor performance in 1996, when it placed 36th in the medal table in Atlanta and won one gold.

Belarus Shot Putter Stripped of Gold Medal for Doping

Nadzeya Ostapchuk tested positive for an anabolic steroid, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday, making Valerie Adams of New Zealand the winner.

Britain Takes a Final Bow

The host of the Summer Games capped a fortnight of athletic achievements with a jukebox collection of songs and a marathon display of endearingly wacky stagecraft.
In Full Swing

Enduring Drought, Farmers Draw the Line at Congress

With lawmakers at home for a recess, constituents are venting their anger over delays in enacting a new five-year farm bill.
The Lede Blog

Two Killed in Shooting Near Texas A&M Campus

A gunman opened fire near the campus of Texas A&M University, killing two people including a local constable, before police shot him and took him into custody. He died shortly after, The Associated Press reported.

Some in California Skirt a Ban on Foie Gras

The grace period for a 2004 law prohibiting sales has ended, and while most eateries appear to be compliant, some serve the fattened duck or goose liver for free with other dishes.
Op-Ed Contributor

Shale Gas to the Climate Rescue

A shift to massive production of shale gas would sideline coal and blunt the spectacular rise of carbon dioxide emissions.
Op-Ed Columnist

Saving Private Romney

Romney's choice of Ryan has the merit of opening a serious debate about the debt undermining America.

The Stalin in Putin

There's a depressing continuum between Stalin's last show trial against 13 intellectuals and Putin's latest against the Pussy Riot.

CBS NEWS | Political Hotsheet Top Stories: Ryan heckled at Iowa State Fair

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter


Vice presidential candidate is able to speak over protestors in his address.
Read full story
Ryan heckled at Iowa State Fair

Obama blames Ryan for blocking farm bill President Obama singles out new VP candidate Paul Ryan for blocking crucial farm bill

Romney: We will protect Medicare Mitt Romney back on the campaign trail solo after announcing his running mate over the weekend

Schieffer, Crowley, Lehrer to moderate debates CNN's Candy Crowley to be first woman to moderate presidential debate in 20 years; CBS News' Bob Schieffer to moderate on October 22

An emotional homecoming for Ryan in Wisconsin At first rally home after being picked to run with Romney, Ryan jokes that the crowd of thousands is made of relatives

Money Show Investors Daily Alert: 2 Stocks Closing on an Alzheimer's Cure,

Investors Daily Alert
The Daily Guru
A Value Fund's Unique Ideas, Marian Kessler

Jim Jubak on

Today's Top Pros' Top Picks

Today's Gurus' Views & Strategies

SavageMoney Blog

Ideas from Around the World

Today's Featured Videos & Exclusive Interviews
Surviving the Debt Debacle, Anthony Mirhaydari

Stocks and Markets in the News | Wall Street at Close: S&P 500 quits longest win streak since 2010

By Laura Mandaro 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks ended mostly lower Monday, disrupting the S&P 500's SPX -0.13% longest winning streak since Dec. 2010, after rebounding a bit in the last hour of trade. With no U.S. economic news, investors focused on a report showing Japan's economy decelerated in the latest quarter and headwinds facing European stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.29% lost 38.52 points, or 0.3%, to 13,169.43. The S&P 500 SPX -0.13% lost 1.76 points, or 0.1%, to 1,404.11. The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.06% ended up 1.66 points, or 0.1%, to 3,022.52, helped by gains in heavyweights Apple Inc. AAPL +1.34% and Google Inc. GOOG +2.81% .

DealBook | DealB%K Afternoon Edition: White Collar Watch: Is That It for Financial Crisis Cases?

Monday, August 13, 2012
Is That It for Financial Crisis Cases?
White Collar Watch: Is That It for Financial Crisis Cases? Peter J. Henning says that the disclosures that the Justice Department has closed an investigation of Goldman Sachs and that the S.E.C. has decided not to pursue a civil fraud case may turn out to be the denouement of the government's investigations of Wall Street for potential wrongdoing that contributed to the financial crisis.
    Pfizer Animal Health Unit Files for I.P.O. The company that will be spun off, to be called Zoetis, has about $4.2 billion in annual revenue and could be valued at $15 billion or more.
    Manchester United Trades Up on 2nd Day Shares of the English soccer club rose in their second day of trading on Monday, climbing as much as 9 percent above their offer price. At midmorning, the stock was still up about 3.6 percent, at $14.51 a share.
    Julius Baer to Buy Bank of America Unit The Swiss bank has agreed to buy Bank of America Merrill Lynch's private banking operations outside the United States, the latest consolidation move in the private banking industry.
    Peltz Takes Seat on Ingersoll-Rand Board After taking a big stake in the conglomerate last spring, the activist investor Nelson Peltz is joining the board of Ingersoll-Rand.
    Google to Buy Frommer's From Wiley Publishing The deal will further expand Google's ambitions in the travel business, Julie Bosman reports for The New York Times. Wiley, a 200-year-old publisher based in Hoboken, N.J., is using the proceeds to bolster its trade and educational businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
    In Banking, Down Under Is on Top Cullen Roche on the Pragmatic Capitalism blog points to a chart by Bank of America Merrill Lynch research that shows the combined market value of Australian banks is now larger than that of banks in the euro zone.
    Hong Kong Protesters Ordered to Leave HSBC Site A judge in Hong Kong has ruled in favor of HSBC, ordering Occupy Hong Kong protesters to leave a site under the bank's Asian headquarters within two weeks, Keith Bradsher of The New York Times reports.
    Dimon on the Defensive It has been a difficult time for Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, after the bank's huge trading blunder in London. But he tells Jessica Pressler of New York magazine that he never considered resigning. "People and companies make mistakes," Mr. Dimon said. "I guarantee we'll make a mistake next quarter. So what? Businesses make mistakes. Hopefully smaller, and fewer."
    Economic Reports The data released on Tuesday will include retail sales for July, the producer price index for July and business inventories for June.
    Corporate Earnings Companies reporting results on Tuesday will include Home Depot and TJX.
    Overseas The European Union statistics agency will issue its first estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product on Tuesday. The Greek government will auction 3.125 billion euros of 13-week treasury bills.
    DealBook Video
    Business Day Live: Olympics Clean-Up
    Business Day Live: Olympics Clean-Up As it seeks to reinvent Motorola, Google cuts jobs. | Britain cleans up and tallies its tab after the Olympics.


Business in Vancouver | BIV Today's Business NewsBody scanners for clothing stores; San Fran gamers set up shop in Vancouver; Junior miners face tough times:

Retail and Manufacturing

Bodymetrics scanner in Bloomingdales

Canadian retail must follow futuristic tech trends – like body scanning: BMO

Retailing is on the verge of a technology revolution that includes body scanners that recommend clothing purchases to customers, according to a new BMO report.

Politics and Policy

B.C. would get lion’s share of pipeline jobs benefits: study

While B.C. may not get the oil royalties from the Northern Gateway pipeline that Alberta will get, a new study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) suggests it would benefit more than Alberta in terms of job creation and overall gross domestic product.


Mobile game developer sets up shop in Vancouver

Recent console game studio closures in Vancouver have paved the way for smaller mobile and social gaming studios to set up shop. The latest new arrival is San Francisco-based mobile game developer TinyCo, which announced today it will open a 60-person studio in Vancouver.

Local firms land contracts with Lockheed Martin

Two B.C. firms announced contracts with American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] Friday at the B.C. Aerospace Showcase in Abbotsford.

Mining and Energy

B.C. junior miners facing tough times: AME BC

B.C.'s prospectors and junior explorers have been grappling with tough economic conditions in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC).

Corazon Gold to acquire ICN Resources

Vancouver-based Corazon Gold Corp. (TSX-V:CGW) has signed an agreement to acquire Vancouver-based ICN Resources Ltd. (TSX-V:ICN), the companies have announced.

Money Show Traders Daily Alert: 3 Good Strategies for Covered Calls

Traders Daily Alert

Tips for Traders

Options Idea

Currency Corner

Trading Idea of the Day

Today's Featured Videos & Exclusive Interviews

Stocks and Markets in the News | European Markets at Close: Resources weigh on Europe; Italian banks rise

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Losses for heavyweight resource firms dragged European stock markets lower Monday, with Italy in focus as itx equities index ends on a weaker note in the aftermath of a well-received government debt auction. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP -0.43%  fell 0.4% to 268.72, after closing out last week up 1.6%. The advance marked a 10th straight week of gains as investors increasingly hope central banks will stimulate the slowing global economy with additional easing measures. 

Stocks sank deeper into negative territory in afternoon action, after reports said a new lawsuit against the European Stability Mechanism in Germany’s constitutional court may delay the court’s ruling on the rescue fund planned for Sept. 12. 

In Europe, investors are ”hoping for some sort of resolution” to the region’s debt crisis, said Ben Williams, analyst at Bedlam Asset Management. 

“There is too much debt and markets want more [quantitative easing] and more money printed. It’s not the sensible way to do it, but markets have discounted new liquidity from the U.S. and Europe,” he said.
“There’s a fundamental imbalance and it can’t be solved by more debt,” he added. “Investors should be looking for businesses that have no exposure to [sovereign-default] problems.” 

Among notable decliners in Europe, Julius Baer Gruppe AG CH:BAER -7.42% tanked 7.4%. The Swiss banking group said it would buy Merrill Lynch’s wealth-management business based outside the U.S. See: Julius Baer buys Merrill Lynch private bank 
And shares of Petrofac Ltd. UK:PFC -5.17%  slumped 5.2%, as the oil-services firm said net profit in the second half will be lower than first-half profit. See: Petrofac on course for 15% full-year profit growth.
For the broader European markets, the weak sentiment was also inspired by losses in Asia, where Chinese stocks fell sharply on disappointment that officials in Beijing didn’t use the weekend as an opportunity to ease monetary policy. Data showing a sharp slowdown in Japan’s economic growth also weighed. See Japan’s economic growth weakens sharply. 
Also Monday, U.S. stocks traded broadly lower on Wall Street. Read more in Market Snapshot.

Successful Italian auction 

FTSE 100 - Risers
Schroders (SDR) 1,419.00p +0.85%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 31.64p +0.83%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 325.70p +0.74%
G4S (GFS) 264.30p +0.69%
National Grid (NG.) 692.50p +0.65%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 272.00p +0.63%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 284.20p +0.57%
BAE Systems (BA.) 316.10p +0.54%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,333.50p +0.53%
Tesco (TSCO) 329.10p +0.53%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,486.00p -5.17%
CRH (CRH) 1,219.00p -2.40%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 977.00p -2.01%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,110.00p -1.86%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,417.00p -1.83%
Wolseley (WOS) 2,448.00p -1.49%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,117.00p -1.41%
ICAP (IAP) 332.50p -1.39%
Amec (AMEC) 1,076.00p -1.37%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,038.00p -1.33%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 167.10p +5.89%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 119.80p +4.26%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,175.00p +3.35%
TUI Travel (TT.) 204.90p +3.22%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 33.50p +2.95%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 184.90p +2.84%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 16.66p +2.40%
Homeserve (HSV) 225.10p +2.32%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 84.90p +2.23%
Ruspetro (RPO) 152.00p +2.01%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 98.00p -4.39%
Mitie Group (MTO) 274.00p -4.13%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 501.00p -3.56%
IP Group (IPO) 137.50p -3.03%
Cookson Group (CKSN) 581.00p -3.00%
Hunting (HTG) 781.00p -2.80%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 438.10p -2.34%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,266.00p -2.31%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 37.30p -2.30%
Drax Group (DRX) 473.90p -2.15%  

Japan's economy seen vulnerable Japan's quarterly GDP came in at half of what economist had expected. The WSJ's Phred Dvorak tells Deborah Kan why slower growth may lie ahead. 

Italian banks bucked the negative trend in Europe, after the country’s Treasury managed to sell its planned 8 billion euros ($9.87 billion) in government debt, although at slightly higher borrowing costs. 

UniCredit SpA IT:UCG +0.96%  added 1%, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA IT:ISP +0.82%  rose 0.8% and Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl IT:PMI +0.67%  picked up 0.7%. 

The FTSE MIB index XX:FTSEMIB -0.11%  however, fell 0.1% to 14,532.87, surrendering earlier gains. 

Banks were also on the rise in France, where Credit Agricole SA FR:ACA +0.80% gained 0.8% and Société Générale SA FR:GLE +0.97%  picked up 1%. 

The CAC 40 index FR:PX1 -0.27%  fell 0.3% to 3,426.41, weighed by Lafarge SA FR:LG -1.92% , off 1.9%, after Citigroup cut the cement maker to neutral from buy. 

In the U.K., resource shares pulled the market lower. BP PLC UK:BP -0.39%   BP -0.50%  fell 0.4%, while miner Vedanta Resources PLC UK:VED -2.01%  sank 2% and Kazakhmys PLC UK:KAZ -1.01%  shed 1%. Metals and oil prices were lower at the European market close.
The FTSE 100 index UK:UKX -0.26%  lost 0.3% to 5,831.88. 

Standard Chartered PLC UK:STAN +0.53%  added 0.5%, partly recovering from a steep loss last week amid allegations the bank laundered money for Iranian institutions. See: Standard Chartered will test a new line

Oil-related shares are
in focus on Monday.

German stocks

In Germany, utility firm E.ON AG DE:EOAN -0.58% fell 0.9%, shaking off an earlier gain on the back of a sharp rise in first-half profit and confirmation of its outlook for higher full-year earnings. See E.ON plans cost cuts, plant closures; demand wanes 
The DAX 30 index DX:DAX -0.50%  slipped 0.5% to 6,909.68, as car makers weighed on the German benchmark. 

Shares of BMW AG DE:BMW -1.41%  fell 1.4%, Daimler AG DE:DAI -1.16%  lost 1.3% and Volkswagen AG DE:VOW -1.45%  retreated 1.3%. 

“Car makers have basically done a lot better than people thought driven by currency advantages. But recently the demand outlook has been weakening,” said Williams, of Bedlam Asset Management. 

Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter, based in London.