March 31, 2013

Record Wall Street boosts sentiment, U.S. holds key in Q2

TOKYO (Reuters) – Whether the world’s largest economy can sustain momentum will be a primary focus for investors for the next three months after a general recovery trend in the United States helped risk sentiment for broad markets in the first quarter of 2013. Asian shares edged higher and the euro steadied on Friday after banks in Cyprus reopened to relative calm. Overall trade was subdued, with many Asian markets, including Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, closed on Friday for Easter holidays.

Banks lift TSX on Cyprus calm; index up for quarter

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index powered ahead in a late surge on Thursday, led by strength in financial and industrial shares, on relief that banks in Cyprus reopened relatively smoothly following a bailout deal. The market received further support from BlackBerry after the smartphone maker reported a surprise quarterly profit.

More trouble for Cohen’s SAC Capital as Steinberg indicted in NY

(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged Michael Steinberg, a veteran portfolio manager at Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund, with insider trading in two technology stocks, the most senior SAC Capital Advisors’ employee to be indicted in the government’s long-running probe. FBI agents arrested Steinberg at his Park Avenue home in New York City at around 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT). Steinberg, wearing a blue sweater, pleaded “not guilty” to charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities when he appeared at a late morning arraignment.

Chesapeake names Dixon interim CEO as McClendon set to leave

(Reuters) – Chesapeake Energy Corp appointed Chief Operating Officer Steven Dixon as interim chief executive officer on Friday and made him part of a three-person committee to search for a replacement for Aubrey McClendon. McClendon is expected to step down on Monday.

Monte Paschi says lost billions in deposits after February scandal

MILAN (Reuters) – Customers’ deposits at Italian bank Monte dei Paschi fell by “a few billion euros” after a scandal erupted in February over loss-making derivatives trades at the lender, the bank said in a document posted on its web site on Saturday. Monte dei Paschi last week reported a higher-than-expected net loss for the whole of 2012 on the back of a rise in provisions for bad loans and 730 million euros in losses on the derivatives trades, which are at the center of a fraud.

Loeb’s Third Point outperforms hedge fund rivals again

BOSTON (Reuters) – Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb outperformed his rivals again in the first quarter with returns that kept pace with the stock market’s recent rally, a person familiar with Loeb’s returns said. The New York-based manager told investors late on Thursday that his flagship Third Point Offshore Fund rose 2.8 percent in March while the Third Point Ultra fund, the leveraged version of the Offshore fund, gained 4.2 percent.

Cyprus details heavy losses for major bank customers

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Major depositors in Cyprus’s biggest bank will lose around 60 percent of savings over 100,000 euros, its central bank confirmed on Saturday, sharpening the terms of a bailout that has shaken European banks but saved the island from bankruptcy. Initial signs that big depositors in Bank of Cyprus would take a hit of 30 to 40 percent – the first time the euro zone has made bank customers contribute to a bailout – had already unnerved investors in European lenders this week.

ECB’s Draghi phoned Napolitano over resignation reports: press

ROME (Reuters) – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi phoned Italian President Giorgio Napolitano after media reports that the 87-year-old head of state was planning to resign early to clear the way for new elections, newspapers reported on Sunday. Napolitano pledged on Saturday that he would stay in office until the end of his term on May 15 following reports that he planned to step down to break the deadlock created by last month’s election, which left no party able to form a government.

EU, IMF resisting Greek bank NBG’s takeover of Eurobank: sources

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s international lenders have asked Athens to halt National Bank’s takeover of rival Eurobank, worried that the resulting lender would be too big for the state to deal with, two bankers close to the talks told Reuters on Saturday. The lenders’ concerns come as an unexpected twist in the takeover deal, which was launched in October and completed with a share swap. The two banks have already begun integrating operations after getting approval by authorities.

Areva CEO says would be interested in Urenco stake: paper

PARIS (Reuters) – French nuclear group Areva would be interested in taking a stake in uranium enrichment firm Urenco, Areva’s CEO was quoted as saying on Saturday. Urenco, owned by the British and Dutch states and Germany’s two top utilities, is up for sale and Areva – which already has a partnership with Urenco – is believed to be a leading contender to buy a stake in the firm. Areva so far had played down its possible interest in Urenco.

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