Investment News Briefs

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.

Reuters Poll Shows Manufacturing Decline; Treasury Pushing Banks to Stem Foreclosures; Sands Hong Kong IPO Flops; India GDP Growth Could Lead to Monetary Tightening; LatAm to Return to Growth in 2010; China Snaps Back at Currency Accusations

  • The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index, which is set for release today (Tuesday), is expected to show that manufacturing activity decelerated in November, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The median estimate for the ISM manufacturing index in November was 55.0, a step back from 55.7 in October. Estimates from the 70 economists polled ranged from a low of 52.0 to a high of 56.2, Reuters said.
  • The Treasury Department said yesterday (Monday) that it will withhold payments from mortgage companies that aren't doing enough to help borrowers at risk of foreclosure, The Associated Press reported. A $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort - called Making Home Affordable - to get banks to lower payments for troubled borrowers in exchange for thousands of dollars in incentives so far has resulted in relatively few permanent loan modifications. An oversight panel last month said fewer than 2,000 of the 500,000 loan modifications in progress had become permanent.
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (NYSE: LVS) Macau unit slid 10.2% to close at HK$9.32 in its first day of trading on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, making it the fourth-worst Hong Kong debut this year. Sands China raised HK$19.4 billion ($2.5 billion) in its initial public offering (IPO).
  • India yesterday (Monday) reported its best growth figures in a year and a half as government spending and record low interest rates helped Asia's third-largest economy rebound to 7.9% growth. Analysts said the growth could pave the way for the central bank to raise interest rates. "This data could be a green light for the Reserve Bank of India to hike rates, and there are greater chances of this by end of the calendar year," said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, senior Asia economist at HSBC Holding PLC (NYSE: HBC) in Singapore.
  • Latin American economies will shrink by between 1.5% and 1.9% this year but return to growth in 2010, according to the latest projections by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). "Latin America as a whole is showing signs of recovery and stabilization," the Paris-based organization said in the statement. "Economic activity is helped by improving conditions in global financial and commodity markets, as well as recovering exports."
  • China ramped up rhetoric pertaining to its currency, the renminbi, which European and U.S. policymakers insist is undervalued. "Some countries on the one hand want the renminbi to appreciate, but on the other hand engage in brazen trade protectionism against China." Chinese Premir Wen Jiabao said at the conclusion of a European Union-China summit in Nanjing. "This is unfair. Their measures are a restriction on China's development." China's trade minister, Chen Deming, also defended China's position, taking a swipe at the United States in the process. "There is another major economy in the world which is devaluating its currency," Chen told journalists through a translator in Geneva, where he was attending a World Trade Organization meeting. "But I hardly see any criticisms of this in the media."