US lender to sell CCB stake
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Tuesday it had agreed to sell its stake in China Construction Bank (CCB, 中國建設銀行) to the bank, exiting an investment it made eight years ago. The US lender said it will sell approximately 2 billion shares, or 1 percent of all outstanding shares in CCB, China’s second-biggest bank, confirming earlier reports. The statement did not provide the financial details of the sale, but at a reported price range for the shares of HK$5.63 to HK$5.81, the sale would bring in between US$1.45 billion and US$1.5 billion.
S&P alleges US retaliation
Standard & Poor’s says the US government sued the rating agency as “retaliation” for its downgrade of the country’s credit rating. S&P, a unit of McGraw Hill Cos, said in a court filing on Tuesday that its opinions were independent and based on a good-faith assessment of the performance of residential mortgages during a tumultuous time in the market. The US Department of Justice filed civil charges against the rating agency in February and is seeking US$5 billion in penalties. In 2011, the rating agency downgraded the US government’s long-term credit rating one notch to “AA+” following a standoff in Congress over whether to raise the US’ borrowing limit. It reaffirmed the country’s “AA+” rating in June and upgraded its outlook to “stable” from “negative.”
LinkedIn plans shares sale
LinkedIn Corp, the world’s biggest professional networking Web site, filed to raise about US$1 billion in a stock sale after a fivefold surge in its shares since its initial public offering in 2011. The company plans to sell 4.17 million shares of its Class A stock, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. While the price has not been determined, LinkedIn estimated it will raise US$1 billion based on a closing stock price of US$240.04 on Friday last week. The Mountain View, California-based company last raised money in November 2011 in a US$701.5 million offering. As in that sale, LinkedIn said the cash will be used for working capital, product development and possibly to make strategic acquisitions or investments.
Services hit five-month high
Growth in China’s services sector hit a five-month high last month, underpinned by optimism over government policy measures, a private survey showed, the latest evidence that the world’s second-largest economy may have avoided a sharp slowdown. The Markit/HSBC Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) climbed to 52.8 last month, up from July’s 51.3 and the highest since March, the survey showed yesterday. The data came on the heels of three other PMI surveys this week that pointed to a pick-up in activity at factories and service firms.
Apple sends invitations
Apple Inc on Tuesday sent official invitations to an event on Tuesday next week at which it is expected to unveil the latest version of the iPhone, possibly in colors other than its trademark black and white. “This should brighten everyone’s day,” the typically cryptic invitation read, under a graphic depicting pastel-colored circles surrounding a stark white Apple logo. Apple said in the invitation it will host a breakfast and presentation at its Cupertino, California headquarters. The company did not specify as to what the presentation will be about.