Sunday, June 14, 2009

Notes for the Day - June 14

G8 Finance Ministers Meet - The Group of Eight (G8) finance ministers met on Saturday. During the meeting, they started discussions on how to unwind the fiscal and monetary policy measures undertaken in response to the financial and economic crisis that spread last year. The finance ministers met to the lay the groundwork for the G8 meeting of the heads of state in July.

Pointing to a recovery in stock markets, rising consumer and business confidence and improvement in financial markets, the group "discussed the need to prepare appropriate strategies for unwinding the extraordinary policy measures taken to respond to the crisis once the recovery is assured," the finance ministers said in a statement.

"These 'exit strategies', which may vary from country to country, are essential to promote a sustainable recovery over the long term," they said.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn both stressed the need to ensure a recovery had taken hold before pulling back on global efforts to lift the economy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Geithner has said over the last few months that altering policies that boost the US economy (and global economy for that matter) too early will cause far more harm than good and slow the economic recovery.

Banco Santander SA Looks to Expand in the US - According to Spain's Expansion newspaper, Banco Santander SA (an international Spanish bank) plans to make acquisitions in the U.S. within the next five years, mirroring its U.K. expansion strategy, quoting Chief Executive Alfredo Saenz.

Santander is the euro zone's largest bank by market value and has also purchased three financial institutions in the U.K. during the past five years. Saenz was quoted as saying in an interview that Santander is targeting markets in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania following last year's full takeover of U.S.-based Sovereign Bank.

To give a brief background on Santander (from its website), "Founded in Northern Spain in 1857, Santander has a successful history in retail and commercial banking, and has grown to become one of the five largest banks in the world by profit." You can learn more about Santander by clicking on this link that discusses Santander and Sovereign Bank.

Six Flags Files for Bankruptcy - Six Flags, the amusement park chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Saturday and is seeking an expedited approval from the court of its pre-negotiated reorganization plan. The Chapter 11 filing will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of its 20 parks in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, the company said.

"This process is strictly a financial restructuring of our debt," Chief Executive Mark Shapiro said in a statement. "The current management team inherited a $2.4 billion debt load that cannot be sustained, particularly in these challenging financial markets."

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