JPMorgan offers to settle
JPMorgan Chase has offered to pay about US$3 billion to settle an array of pending probes by the US Department of Justice, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the discussions. The department said JPMorgan would need to pay billions above the US$3 billion offer to settle the cases, the person said. The newspaper, citing people familiar with the matter, said that JPMorgan, the biggest US bank by assets, and the justice department had expanded the settlement talks to include an array of cases. It said it was unclear which of the more than half a dozen open investigations by the department into JPMorgan’s conduct would be resolved by such an agreement.
Lew warns on default
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday branded as unacceptable tactics by Congressional Republicans that could force the government to default on its obligations as soon as next month. Lew warned anew at the Bloomberg Markets Top 50 Summit in New York that without increasing the Treasury’s borrowing ability by the middle of next month, it could be left with only a relative small amount of cash and looming large payment commitments. “It is uncharted territory,” he said. “There is no plan after we run out of borrowing authority that will give us the ability to meet all the obligations of the United States.” He added that “it is not a line which you cross.”
Consumer confidence rises
Consumer confidence in Germany is rising as economic expectations continue to point upwards in Europe’s top economy, a new poll found yesterday. “German consumers expect the economy to gather pace in the coming months, as is seen in the clear upwards trend in economic expectations,” market research company GfK said in a statement. “Their urge to spend appears to be unbroken.” Overall, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to rise to 7.1 points next month from 7 points this month, it said. The outlook for Europe’s top economy is currently positive, it added.
Smithfield okays takeover
Shuanghui International (雙匯國際) won the largest-ever Chinese takeover of a US company on Tuesday when shareholders of pork giant Smithfield Foods approved its US$7.1 billion offer. The deal locks in for Shuanghui and the giant Chinese market a strong supply from the world’s largest pig raiser and pork processor. Smithfield said the deal received 96 percent of the votes cast at a special shareholders’ meeting, despite an earlier challenge by a key investor arguing that it undervalued Smithfield. The deal had to clear a number of hurdles, including questions from US politicians and a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.
GDP up in first nine months
Vietnam’s economic growth picked up slightly in the first nine months of the year, official figures showed yesterday, but experts warned that it could still miss its full-year growth target of about 5.5 percent. GDP grew 5.14 percent in the first three quarters of the year, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, compared with 4.73 percent for the same period last year. This year’s growth rate is “moderate, within control and acceptable,” said independent analyst Cao Sy Kiem, a former governor of Vietnam’s central bank.