Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quick Notes & Articles for the Day - May 13

Obama - 'Stars Are Aligned' - President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for comprehensive health-care reform this year, saying "the stars are aligned" for change. Following a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers, Obama said any bill he signs must bring down costs, let consumers choose their doctors and plans, and deliver quality care. Pelosi said she is "quite certain" a reform bill will be on the House floor by the end of July.

Democrats Compromise on Climate Change Bill - Democratic leaders in the House of Representative have said they reached key compromises on proposed climate change legislation, according to reports. The new version would scale back the original target of a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emission by 2020, and would also include less strict provisions on renewable power for utilities. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a deal late Tuesday.

American Express to Issue Notes - American Express on Wednesday filed a prospectus with the SEC for a note offering with proceeds intended to help pay back funds from the TARP. In the recent stress tests, the company was told it did not need to raise capital.

Next TARP Recipients - Small Banks - Banks with assets of less than $500 million will be able to apply for capital injections from the TARP, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a gathering of community bankers on Wednesday. Treasury has roughly $109.6 billion in funds left in its bank bailout package. However, Geithner said he expects to use funds repaid from large investment banks, in part, to pay for the new capital injections for smaller public and private community banks. Goldman Sachs and some other large financial institutions have announced they will seek to repay Treasury from funds they received as part of the TARP. Geithner also said he plans to raise from 3% of risk-weighted assets to 5%, the amount for which qualified institutions can apply. Many community banks have already received funds from the program, but many more are still waiting to receive allocations.


'A Blatant Extortion' - The Wall Street Journal - "Court cases get dismissed all the time, but rarely are dismissals as significant as the two lawsuits against Dole Food and other companies that were tossed recently by a California judge. Among other good things, the ruling is a setback for tort lawyers who troll abroad seeking dubious claims to bring in U.S. courts."

Return of the Trustbusters - The New York Times - "During the entire Bush administration, the Justice Department’s antitrust division didn’t bring a single case against a big company for anticompetitive behavior to shut out a smaller rival."

GM Retirees Bully Bondholders With Obama’s Help - By David Reilly - Bloomberg - "The current deal 'can be seen as one that serves up bondholders on the altar of political self-interest.' 'The powers that be will not face any major constituency risks by screwing some mutual funds, insurance companies, pension managers, and hedge funds (who often manage pension and endowment money etc.) out of their fair and equitable treatment.'"

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