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Friday, January 29, 2010


Most Asian markets drop as concern mounts about policy tightening
Share markets across the Asian-Pacific region fell Friday because of concern about policy tightening in China and India as well as Greece's ability to repay debt. Japans' Nikkei 225 declined 2.1%, South Korea's Kospi Composite fell 2.4% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gave up 2.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 1.2%, China's Shanghai Composite inched down 0.2% and Taiwan's Taiex slid 0.7%. New Zealand's NZX 50 gave up 0.6%, shares in the Philippines edged down 0.3% and Thailand's SET fell 0.4%. The Wall Street Journal (29 Jan.)

Senate approves Bernanke for second term as Fed chairman
The Senate backed Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he continues to face significant challenges. Bernanke's political standing has taken a beating during the past several weeks, which might make it more difficult for him to defend the central bank and maintain its independence. Fed officials "are going to be fighting a rear-guard action against congressional encroachment and interference," said Martin Barnes, managing editor of BCA Research. The Washington Post (1/29)

Leading bankers discuss proposals on pay, regulation
Bank executives gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss proposals related to compensation, regulation and other changes. However, the executives, including Bank of America's Brian Moynihan, HSBC's Stephen Green, Barclays' Robert Diamond and Banesto's Ana Botin, could not come to a consensus, according to a source who was part of the discussion. The Wall Street Journal (29 Jan.)

Uncertainty continues to plague securitization market
As thousands of securitization industry participants get ready to gather for a conference, the market continues to be plagued by uncertainty. Securitization is a key aspect of the financial system that remains frozen. "We will not see a return of this market without a return of investor confidence in bank originated securitizations," said FDIC chief Sheila Bair. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (1/29)

Analysis: Look for change in Obama's economic team
U.S. President Barack Obama's sudden change of direction in favor of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker's approach to bank regulation puts the future of Obama's economic team in doubt, according to The Economist. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, are widely viewed as servants of Wall Street and might be asked to resign, the magazine notes. Geithner's experience at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, once a sign of continuity, is now a liability. "If diffusing popular anger means someone must go, Mr. Geithner is likely to top the list," according to The Economist. The Economist (28 Jan.)

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