The Closer | FT Alphaville

The Closer


FT markets round-up: “Equity markets maintained their broadly positive tone as fresh signs of weakness in the global economy were offset by more forecast-beating earnings reports and hopes of additional central bank largesse. The picture painted by the day’s main US economic release was also gloomy. Headline durable goods orders tumbled 5.7 per cent in March, and by 1.4 per cent after stripping out the volatile transport component – less than the market had expected. The S&P 500 equity index ended virtually unchanged, with Apple edging lower after a volatile session in the wake of its first-quarter earnings report, released after Tuesday’s close. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.7 per cent – its fourth successive gain – while Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 2.3 per cent. An early bout of weakness for the yen boosted demand for Tokyo stocks, although the Japanese currency later recovered to trade flat against the US dollar.” (Financial Times)

Citigroup sees of shareholder revolt on executive pay: “Citigroup quelled a shareholder revolt on executive pay on Wednesday but told investors not to expect a quick wind-down of its pile of toxic assets or a split of the sprawling banking group. More than 90 per cent of shareholders approved Citi’s executive pay scheme in a vote at the bank’s annual meeting, a year after more than 50 per cent of votes went against the company and six months after Vikram Pandit was ousted as chief executive.” (Financial Times)

JPMorgan under pressure in Basel spat: “Leading European companies have accused JPMorgan Chase and other US banks of putting their own interests ahead of their clients in a spat over tough new bank capital rules for derivatives sold privately off exchanges. The fight stems from a successful campaign by the European Association of Corporate Treasurers, which represents 6,500 companies, to convince the EU to water down the Basel III rules by exempting so-called over-the-counter derivatives sold to corporates from an onerous capital charge.” (Financial Times)

Pressure mounts on ECB to cut rates: “Pressure mounted on the European Central Bank to cut interest rates next week as German business confidence took a fresh knock, banks across the eurozone reduced their lending and two leading German carmakers warned on weak European markets. After discussing an interest-rate cut at last month’s governing council meeting and saying it would watch incoming data very closely, the chances of a cut at next Thursday’s ECB meeting have risen considerably. If it cut, it would be most likely to shave a quarter percentage point off its main refinancing rate, which now stands at 0.75 per cent.” (Financial Times)


- George W Bush’s presidency, in 24 charts.

- New $100 bill coming soon.

- The reverse Robin Hood recovery.

- The Frankfurt veto.

- The collapse of nominal expectations.