The (early) Lunch Wrap | FT Alphaville

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning, New York…

FT ALPHAVILLE

Alternative job market indicators. Cardiff covers a note by ConvergEx that reports on the latest statistics out of Harvard Business School. In 2012, 77 per cent of graduates had a job after graduating versus 90 per cent in 2007. Salaries are still about the same though, which makes one wonder whether the freshly-minted MBAs are unemployed by way of turning down lower paying jobs. More on this and the latest numbers around layoffs on Alphaville.

The Fed’s balance sheet and an expert commentary problem. A recent WSJ op-ed argued that the Fed should pay less interest on excess reserves. Cardiff peels back the argument, noting that the total amount of the Fed’s liabilities doesn’t change when the banks “draw down” their excess reserves from the Fed. Only the composition of these liabilities changes.

NEWS

Xi Jinping on Thursday replaced Hu Jintao as China’s president, in the culmination of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition that began last year. The presidency is a largely ceremonial office in China. Last November, Mr Xi was appointed to the two most important leadership roles, general secretary of the Communist party and chairman of the Central Military Commission. (Financial Times)

Barack Obama threw cold water on the prospects of a new grand bargain to reduce US deficits, saying Republicans and Democrats – who each released competing budget proposals this week – could be too distant to strike an agreement. “I am prepared to do some tough stuff. Neither side’s going to get 100 per cent. That’s what the American people are looking for,” Mr Obama said in an interview on ABC. “But ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide,” he later added. (Financial Times)

A new pontiff. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, a 76-year-old Jesuit intellectual, greeted the world as Pope Francis on Wednesday evening, the first pope from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. (Financial Times)

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has been ordered to testify in a lawsuit brought by the US government against alleged price-fixing in the ebook market. Judge Denise Cote granted the Justice Department’s request in a Manhattan court on Wednesday that Mr Cook must attend a deposition. (Financial Times)

Shares in BlackBerry rose sharply in late trading after the Canadian company announced that a partner had placed an order for 1m BlackBerry Z10 smartphones, the largest single order in the group’s history. The company, which changed its name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry at the end of January when it launched the new Z10 model, did not disclose the name or location of the partner. (Financial Times)

Barack Obama promised that the US would have “tough talk” with China over cyber espionage as he met corporate leaders to discuss the threat from hacking. In the latest volley from Washington about cyber security, the US president said threats were increasing and that a significant number of the attacks were “state sponsored”. (Financial Times)

CFTC probes gold pricing: The US regulator “is examining the setting of prices in London, in which a handful of banks meet twice daily and set the spot price for a troy ounce of physical gold, the people said.” (Wall Street Journal)

JPM-MF Global accord gets court approval: “A bankruptcy judge on Wednesday approved a settlement that will increase JPMorgan Chase & Co’s potential recoveries from the liquidation of MF Global Holdings to as much as 76 cents for every dollar in claims.” (Reuters)

Markets: Global stocks are hovering just shy of cyclical highs as markets have one eye on whether building optimism over the US economy, coupled with ongoing central bank support, can push Wall Street to record levels. US index futures suggest the Dow Jones Industrial Average will advance another 40 points into virgin territory and that the S&P 500 will climb about 4 points to 1,558. (FT’s Global Market Overview)