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Dec 24, 2015

European Markets at Close Report on December 24, 2015: European Stocks Close Flat on Christmas Eve

cnbc.com

European stocks close flat on Christmas eve

Arjun Kharpal
 
European stocks closed flat on Thursday in a shortened trading day with thin volumes as the oil price remained choppy. 
The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the day 0.05 percent lower. The German DAX and a number of other markets were closed today, with other bourses opened for a shortened trading day.

FRB Press Release - December 24, 2015: Federal Reserve Board Announces Approval of Application by BB&T Corporation.

 

Press Release

Release Date: December 24, 2015

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced its approval of the application under section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act by BB&T Corporation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to acquire National Penn Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire its wholly owned subsidiary, National Penn Bank, both of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Attached is the Board's order relating to this action.

For media inquiries, call 202-452-2955.
Attachment (PDF)
Board Votes
 
Last update: December 24, 2015

The Guardian | World | U.S.: Chelsea Manning Spends Sixth Christmas in Prison With No End in Sight.

theguardian.com

Chelsea Manning spends sixth Christmas in prison with no end in sight

Ed Pilkington
 
Chelsea Manning, whose role as the source of one of the largest leaks of US government state secrets in history earned her a 35-year prison sentence, will be spending her sixth Christmas in military custody with no end in sight for her ordeal.
In an article in the Guardian, the army private writes movingly about the feeling of detachment that engulfs her at this time of year. As her detention lengthens from her original arrest in Iraq in May 2010, she says that she is prone to existential doubts in what she describes as her “artificially-imposed stasis”.

U.S. Market Future Indications Update by MarketWatch - December 24, 2015: U.S. Eye Fourth Day Gains For Holiday-Shortened Week.

marketwatch.com

U.S. stocks eye fourth day of gains for holiday-shortened week

Victor Reklaitis, Anora Mahmudova
 
U.S. stock futures edged higher Thursday, putting the market on track to stretch its winning streak to four days and finish with sizable gains for the holiday-shortened week.
It’s Christmas Eve, so trading is expected to be subdued. U.S. stock exchanges will close earlier than usual, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
S&P 500 futures ESH6, +0.00%  rose by less than a point to 2,053, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH6, +0.06%  added 14 points, or 0.1%, to 17,486. Nasdaq 100 futures NQH6, +0.10%  were up 4 points, or 0.1%, to 4,611.

Dealbook - December 24, 2015: Puerto Rico Utility Reaches Deal With Bond Insurers in Effort to Avoid Default.


nytimes.com

Puerto Rico Utility Reaches Deal With Bond Insurers in Effort to Avoid Default

Mary Williams Walsh

A Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority power station. The utility's bondholders expect to be paid about $177 million on Jan. 1. Alvin Baez-Hernandez/Reuters
Puerto Rico’s beleaguered electric utility announced new progress late Wednesday in its continuing efforts to avoid a default on as much as one-eighth of the island’s total debt of $72 billion.

Gold Market by CNBC - December 24, 2015: Gold Edges Up After 2-day Drop on Weaker Dollar, Steadier Oil.

cnbc.com

Gold edges up after 2-day drop on weaker dollar, steadier oil

CNBC
Gold rose on Thursday, snapping two days of losses, as the dollar softened ahead of the Christmas holiday break, and a recovery in oil prices helped sentiment.
Spot gold rose 0.27 percent to $1,073 an ounce, after losing 0.7 percent in the last two sessions.
Many financial centers will shut early on Thursday and stay closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday. Some will remain shut on Monday.

Oil Market by MarketWatch - December 24, 2015: Oil Continues to Push Higher on U.S. Stockpile Cheer.

marketwatch.com

Oil continues to push higher on U.S. stockpile cheer

Biman Mukherji
 
Oil futures edged higher on Thursday, extending gains scored the previous day after an unanticipated drop in U.S. stockpiles, though the broader outlook remains bearish.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported the nation’s crude stockpiles fell by 5.9 million barrels last week, surprising investors who had expected a slight buildup in inventories.

Reuters | World - December 24, 2015: Syria Ready to Take Part in Geneva Talks By Ben Blanchard.

reuters.com

Syria ready to take part in Geneva peace talks: minister

By Ben Blanchard
 
BEIJING Syria is ready to take part in peace talks in Geneva and hopes that the dialogue will help it form a national unity government, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Thursday during a visit to Beijing.The U.N. Security Council last Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syrian peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.
The U.N. plans to convene peace talks in Geneva toward the end of January.
Moualem, who spoke to reporters in English, said he had told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Syria was "ready to participate in the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva without any foreign interference".
"Our delegation will be ready as soon as we receive a list of the opposition delegation," he said.
"We hope that this dialogue will be successful to help us in having a national unity government," Moualem said, standing next to Wang at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"This government will compose a constitutional committee to look for a new constitution with a new law of election so the parliamentary election will be held within the period of 18 months, more or less."
Friday's resolution gives U.N. blessing to a plan negotiated earlier in Vienna that calls for a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition and a roughly two-year timeline to create a unity government and hold elections.
But the obstacles to ending the war remain daunting, with no side in the conflict able to secure a clear military victory. Despite their agreement at the United Nations, the major powers are bitterly divided on who may represent the opposition as well as on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Wang over the weekend invited Syrian government and opposition figures to come to China as it looks to ways to help with the peace process.
CHINESE CONCERNS
Wang declined to answer directly when asked if China thought Assad should remain in power or step down.
"China's position is very clear. We believe Syria's future, its national system, including its leadership, should be decided and set by the people of Syria," he said.
"China's role on the Syrian issue is to promote peace and negotiations ... China hopes to see peaceful, stable and developing Middle East," Wang added.
China has played host to both Syrian government and opposition figures before, though it remains a peripheral diplomatic player in the crisis.
While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
China has its own security concerns in Syria, though it has not joined in the bombing of Islamic State.
"China believes that any and all efforts to combat terrorism should be respected and supported," Wang said.
China has expressed concern that Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people from western China's Xinjiang, have ended up in Syria and Iraq fighting for militant groups there.
(Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel)

The Guardian | World | Europe | Greece - December 24, 2015: Stories of 2015: Yanis Varoufakis, Syriza's Anti-Austerity Motorbiker.

theguardian.com

Stories of 2015: Yanis Varoufakis, Syriza's anti-austerity motorbiker

Esther Addley
 
The year 2015 did not begin – or end – as Yanis Varoufakis might have predicted. This time last year, having finished a busy academic term at the University of Texas in Austin where he was a visiting professor in economics, he had flown to Australia for a holiday. Varoufakis has a teenage daughter with his first wife – the pair now live in Sydney – and he was hoping, as he puts it, “to have a quiet time”.
The Fates, or the European Central Bank, or the Greek electorate, had other plans. Five years after a collapse in confidence over Greece’s ability to repay its debts plunged the country into a calamitous economic crisis, the weakened government of prime minister Antonis Samaras called a surprise January general election.

Bloomberg View - December 24, 2015: When Santa Was a Bank.

bloombergview.com

When Santa Was a Bank

Stephen Mihm
 
It’s bonus season, and while many in the junk bond market should expect coal in their stocking, the rest of Wall Street remains hopeful that Santa Claus remembers them this year. Given the Fed’s rate hike, though, more than a few financiers are losing faith.
It would help, perhaps, if Wall Street had a direct line to Santa Claus. Once upon a time, it did. For much of the 19th century, Santa Claus had a branch office at No. 12 Wall Street. This was the “Saint Nicholas Bank,” established in 1853 and capitalized at $500,000.

U.S. Stock U.S. Stock Market Future Indications by MarketWatch - December 24, 2015:: U.S. Stocks Eye Lower Open, But Set For Big Gain For Holiday-Shortened Week.

marketwatch.com

U.S. stocks eye lower open, but set for big gain for holiday-shortened week

Victor Reklaitis
 
U.S. stock futures edged lower Thursday, putting the market on track to break a three-day winning streak but still finish higher for the holiday-shortened week.
It’s Christmas Eve, so trading is expected to be subdued, with U.S. stock exchanges closing earlier than usual, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Asian Markets at Close Report by MarketWatch on December 24, 2015: Chinese Shares Drop as Beijing Acts to Cool Insurerers' Buying Spree

marketwatch.com

Chinese shares drop as Beijing acts to cool insurers’ buying spree

Chao Deng 
 
Shares in China fell Thursday as Beijing made an apparent attempt to cool domestic insurers’ buying frenzy, which has helped boost the market 4% so far this month.
The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.65%  finished down 0.6%, after China’s insurance regulator raised transparency requirements for insurance funds buying shares in the market. The benchmark had been rallying for three-straight days.