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pony

Pony Up

      by Larry Levin   When the lunatics are running the financial asylum, I will celebrate the small victories. Yesterday we learned the eight biggest U.S. banks must boost capital levels by a total of about $68 billion under new rules. The new rules are attempting to limit the big banksters reliance on debt. By 2018, banks must rely more on funding sources such as shareholder equity, rather than borrowing money. According to Bloomberg: Banks' insured subsidiaries face tougher limits and must boost capital holdings by a total of about $95 billion, regulators said. Officials said most firms are already on track to comply and could meet the requirements by retaining earnings, or could shrink or restructure some assets to reduce capital needs. The final rules show regulators are unwilling to budge from an increasingly tough stance on banking requirements, as they seek to shore up banks after the 2007-2009 financial crisis. "In my view, this final rule may be the most significant step we have taken to reduce the systemic risk posed by these large, complex banking organizations," said Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). The rule would apply to JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon and State Street. The Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group for large banks, issued a statement blasting the limits, which are more stringent than the international Basel III agreement. "This rule puts American financial institutions at a clear disadvantage against overseas competitors," said Tim Pawlenty, the group's chief executive. The FDIC, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved the rules, implementing a portion of the Basel III agreement known as the leverage ratio, which is calculated as a percentage of a bank's total assets. The rules require the eight biggest bank holding … [Read More...]

stocks-up6

Modest Bounce for Stocks Continues

    The domestic equity markets are gaining ground for a second-straight session, continuing to rebound from the recent rout in momentum stocks, aided by stronger-than-expected profits from Alcoa, which unofficially kicked off 1Q earnings season. Meanwhile, in afternoon action, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its March meeting, which caused some consternation on the Street regarding the outlook for interest rates. Treasuries are lower ahead of the report, and following other U.S. data showing wholesale inventories rose, while mortgage applications declined again. In other equity news, Constellation Brands bested analysts' profit estimates, while Mars agreed to acquire Dow member Procter & Gamble's pet food business for $2.9 billion in cash. Gold is trading lower, while crude oil prices are higher and the U.S. dollar is flat. Overseas, Asian stocks finished mostly higher, though the recent rally in the yen pressured Japanese markets, while European equities are showing some resiliency in the face of festering Ukraine tensions, disappointing German trade data, and some caution ahead of today's Fed report. At 10:49 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index are rising 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite is advancing 0.6%. WTI crude oil is increasing $0.20 to $102.76 per barrel, Brent crude oil is gaining $0.24 at $107.86 per barrel, and wholesale gasoline is up $0.02 at $3.00 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price is trading $4.53 to the downside at $1,304.12 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—is nearly unchanged at 79.75. Alcoa Inc. (AA $13) posted a 1Q profit excluding items of $0.09 per share, above the Reuters forecast of $0.05 per share, though revenues declined 6.5% year-over-year (y/y) to $5.5 billion, slightly below the Street’s expectation of $5.6 billion. The aluminum producer said lower third-party shipments of … [Read More...]

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Pony Up

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