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With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
Agricultural Bank of China Raises $7.3 Billion; Banks Applying to Repay TARP; Fiat CEO Confident About Opel Bid; World Bank Prez Sees Year-End Recovery; Derivatives Shrink to $592 Trillion; GE Reaches Debt Funding Goals for 2009; UAW & GM Still at Odds on Labor Agreement; Home Depot Beats Street
- Agricultural Bank of China raised 50 billion yuan ($7.3 billion) in the nation's biggest corporate bond sale. The goal of the bond sale was to raise capital and help set up an initial public offering, Bloomberg reported.
- A handful of banks have applied to repay the billions they borrowed from the U.S. government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Sources told Reuters that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) are two of the banks eager to begin repaying the government.
- Fiat SpA (OTC ADR: FIATY) Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said in a Bloomberg interview that an offer he plans to make for General Motors Corp.'s (NYSE: GM) Opel unit will include assets that are "better than cash." Today (Wednesda) is the deadline the German government set for Opel bids.
- World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that a global economic recovery could begin at the end of this year, Reuters reported. "I'm neither an optimist nor a pessimist, I am uncertain, a realist. Clearly the fall has been interrupted. I think there's a good chance that while we face declines, they will be smaller in size. The majority expect a recovery at the end of this year, at the beginning of next year," Zoellick said on Spanish television.
- The Bank for International Settlements said the derivatives market declined for the first time in the second half of 2008 as the global financial crisis curbed trading, Bloomberg reported. The Switzerland-based bank said yesterday (Tuesday) the amount of outstanding contracts linked to bonds, currencies, commodities, stocks and interest rates dropped 13.4% to $592 trillion, the first decline in 10 years of compiling the data. The amount of credit-default swaps insuring investors against losses on bonds and loans fell 27% to cover $41.9 trillion of debt.
- General Electric Co (NYSE: GE) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said yesterday (Tuesday) has already borrowed all the money it planned to raise on debt markets for 2009 and may reach funding goals for 2010 before the year is out. "From a funding standpoint, 2009 is already done," the head of the largest U.S. conglomerate told an investor conference in Florida, Reutersreported. "We're going to pre-fund a lot of 2010 in 2009, maybe the whole thing."
- The United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp (NYSE: GM) still have a "long way to go" to reach an agreement that local labor leaders could vote on, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said after a union-sponsored forum at the U.S. Capitol, according to Bloomberg. GM's decision to shut 16 U.S. plants and boost the number of cars it imports to 7% of North American sales has emerged as a sticking point in talks on a new UAW contract. GM has a June 1 deadline to complete a restructuring plan or enter bankruptcy.
- Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), the world's largest home improvement chain reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings as massive cost cuts offset weak sales. But investors found the results disappointing in comparison with those of smaller rival Lowe's Cos Inc. (NYSE: LOW) and shares fell. On Monday, Lowe's reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. Home Depot affirmed its fiscal-year outlook, Reuters reported.