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UBS Posts $1.7 Billion Loss; Infosys Forecast First Sales Drop; FDI in China Slips Again; Annual CPI Falls For First Time Since 1955; Homebuilder Sentiment Rises; BofA Raises Credit Card Transfer Fees to 4%; Cisco Deal Clears FTC; Brazil's Bonds Rise On Interest Rate Cuts
- UBS AG (UBS) said it will cut 11% of its staff and warned that the bank faces an uncertain future. In its first quarter earnings report, Switzerland's largest bank posted a $1.7 billion loss. At its annual shareholder meeting, Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel told investors: "Unfortunately I am not able – as yet – to offer you any good news. Instead I am forced to present you with another round of unsatisfactory performance figures and to announce further drastic measures," Reuters reported.
- India's second-largest computer services provider, Infosys Technologies Ltd. (ADR: INFY), forecast its first annual drop in dollar sales, Bloomberg reported. For the fiscal year ended March 31, revenue will fall 3.1% to 6.7% to range between $4.35 billion and $4.52 billion.
- Foreign direct investment in China fell for the sixth consecutive month in March, as overseas companies and governments continued to curtail spending in the global financial crisis. Investment fell 9.5% to $8.4 billion compared to a year ago. Foreign investment declined 15.8% in February, Bloomberg reported.
- The consumer price index posted its first annual decline since 1955in March, and idle American manufacturing capacity reached a record, alleviating concern that U.S. Federal Reserve actions would cause inflation to soar. Consumer prices fell 0.4% in March from 2008, the Labor Department said in Washington. Output at factories, mines and utilities in use slid to 69.3%. The figures signal deflation remains the bigger danger, and underscores Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's call for inflation to remain "quite low for some time."
- Sentiment among U.S. homebuilders rose in April to its highest level since last October, the National Association of Home Builders said yesterday (Wednesday). The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 14 from 9 in March, emerging from single-digit territory for the first time in six months. April's increase was the largest one-month gain since May 2003, Reutersreported.
- Bank of America Corp. (BAC), is boosting fees on transfers of card balances amid growing criticism of banking practices. The fees on sums transferred will rise to 4% from 3% on June 1, according to a notice mailed to customers. The change reflects increasing costs for the third-biggest U.S. credit-card lender bank, spokeswoman Betty Reiss said in an interview, with Bloomberg.
- Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) won U.S. antitrust approval for its purchase of FlipVideo digital camcorder maker Pure Digital Technologies, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday (Wednesday). The $590 million all-stock purchase is part of Cisco's move into the consumer market, as its traditional routers and switches business slows down, according to Reuters.
- Brazil's local bond yields hit an 18-month low on rising prices, as investors forecast the central bank will use interest-rate cuts to help boost growth in Latin America's largest economy. Analysts forecast the central bank will cut interest rates on April 29 to avoid a contraction of gross domestic product this year. Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega said yesterday (Wednesday) the government will keep adopting measures to spur investment and support an economic recovery.