Good morning New York,
Losing in the court of public opinion: Lisa looks at the Starbucks tax debate and makes the eloquent point that the £10m Starbucks has given up to the UK taxman, is basically a donation to lessen the reputational damage caused by the furore and protests by UK Uncut this past weekend.
China’s weapons of mass ponzi problem strikes again: Kate takes a closer look at why China’s shadowy and increasingly popular wealth management products are back in the headlines and notes dozens of investors protested outside a bank branch in Shanghai after they were told they would not receive their money back.
If you’re going to CAC, now would be a good time: Joseph asks wouldn’t taking out the Greek banks in this “voluntary” buyback make a future restructuring hard, maybe even impossible, to do?
HSBC, StanChart to pay record US fines: HSBC is expected to pay $1.9bn and enter a deferred-prosecution agreement to settle accusations it allowed itself to be used by money launderers in Mexico and terrorist financiers in the Middle East, people familiar with the agreement said. US authorities won’t indict HSBC ” concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system”. However it will admit to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, the Trading with the Enemy Act and other US money laundering laws. Meanwhile Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $327m to several US authorities to settle allegations it violated US sanctions law and impeded government inquiries, on top of the $340m it agreed to pay in August to New York state’s Department of Financial Services. (Financial Times)(NYT Dealbook)(Wall Street Journal)
Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday, with a combination of wariness over US fiscal cliff talks and hope ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was little changed, South Korea’s Kospi Composite index was up 0.4%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.3% higher and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.6%. (Financial Times)(Bloomberg)
Monti in talks to run for PM: “Mario Monti is in talks with centrist groups urging him to stand in Italy’s elections early next year it emerged on Monday as pressure mounted on the technocrat prime minister from the financial markets, fellow European leaders and the Church to stay in politics to safeguard his reforms.” (Financial Times)
Positive signs in fiscal cliff talks: Although neither side gave any public signs that they were ready to give ground, there were indications that preparations were under way to quickly bring a deal to Congress if it is reached soon. (Reuters)
China’s new yuan loans for November were below forecasts. Banks lent Rmb522.9bn compared with an Rmb550bn median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey, and Rmb562.2bn the previous month. (Bloomberg)
AIG’s rescue is coming to an end: The Treasury Department is selling its last 234.2m shares of AIG in the government’s sixth offering of the AIG stock. The sale, which would generate about $7.8bn at today’s closing price, will add to the government’s profit, which was $15.1bn on the rescue as of mid-September. (Bloomberg)
Executive insider trading probe widens: Manhattan US attorney’s office “has launched a broad criminal investigation” into seven people featured in WSJ report. (Wall Street Journal)
US audit watchdog warns of failings: Almost one in six of the firms’ audits into internal controls did not do enough work to sign off company accounts, says PCAOB. (Financial Times)
Markets: Markets were lacking vigour as investors appeared reluctant to make big end-of-year bets ahead of the latest monetary policy decision by the US Federal Reserve and as the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington dragged on. Traders were also wary of recent heightened eurozone debt angst following political skirmishing in Rome and as they awaited an agreement by Greek banks on a crucial bond buyback deal. Throw into the mix a batch of ambiguous global economic data over the past several days and it is not surprising many investors think discretion is the sensible option. “Financial markets continue to trade sideways in an environment where headlines seem to have lost their bite,” wrote analysts at Barclays in a note. “Poor liquidity conditions as we approach the end of the year seem to be keeping portfolios on a tight leash around their benchmarks.”