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Thursday, October 29, 2009


Asian markets are lower Thursday
Markets in Asia were down on Thursday in the wake of poor performance by U.S. markets on Wednesday. Indonesian markets led the sell-off, down 4.9%. Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 2.1%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 2.4%, South Korea's Kospi Composite Index was off 2.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 2.6%, China's Shanghai Composite Index had lost 1.2% and Taiwan's Taiex Index was 2.8% lower. The Wall Street Journal (29 Oct.)

Some see U.S. as "in too deep" to reject third GMAC bailout
The U.S. government doesn't have an alternative to going along with a third multibillion-dollar rescue for troubled auto lender GMAC, experts said. "We are in too deep for us to sensibly back out now. We will probably lose less money by putting in more now," said Douglas Elliott, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former investment banker. Bailout talks with the Obama administration continue, but the third rescue may have essentially begun, according to this article, which notes that GMAC sold $2.9 billion of bonds backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The New York Times (28 Oct.)

SEC's Walter urges Congress to bolster muni-bond oversight
Elisse Walter, a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has called on lawmakers to change the way the municipal-bond market is supervised in order to put it on more even ground with corporate-bond and stock markets. Walter said the muni-bond market has become prone to accounting irregularities and defaults. She argued that municipal bonds' exemption from SEC oversight is no longer relevant. The Bond Buyer (free content) (10/28)

Northern Rock breakup is cleared by EU authorities
European Union competition authorities have cleared the breakup of failed U.K. bank Northern Rock into a "good bank" and a "bad bank," the European Commission said on Wednesday. Northern Rock, which is owned by the U.K. government, will be sold off, although another £8 billion ($13.1 billion) from the U.K. government will be required. The "bad bank" will hold about £60 billion of distressed mortgages. The Independent (London) (29 Oct.)

*officials are saying it so it must be true!
China's retail sales will grow 16% in 2010, official says
Retail sales in China are forecast to increase by about 16% in 2010, according to a Ministry of Commerce official. That is about the same level of growth that retail sales have seen this year, the official noted, citing pent-up demand. China Daily (Beijing) (29 Oct.)

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