Moody's Cuts Ireland Five Steps (New York Times) "Even as Europe’s leaders were praising the Irish government’s deficit-cutting efforts, the country received a dramatically different verdict Friday from a credit rating agency: a steep downgrade and a warning of more to come. Having pledged late Thursday to do 'whatever is required' to contain the debt crisis and defend their embattled currency, European Union leaders reconvened for the final day of a summit meeting. In the draft of a closing statement, the leaders welcomed the 'impressive progress' in Dublin toward meeting the stiff conditions set for its recent bailout, including adoption of steep budget cuts. Moody’s Investors Service had a different assessment, however. It cut Ireland’s credit rating by five notches to Baa1, with a negative outlook, from Aa2 and it warned further downgrades could follow. The rating remains investment grade but if it were to move down by three more notches, Irish debt would be classified as junk."
"Markets torn by EU debt deal, Irish downgrade" (Yahoo Finance via AP) "European stocks traded flat Friday after EU leaders agreed to create a system to solve future debt crises, but a sharp ratings downgrade of Irish government bonds underscored the scale of Europe's short-term problems. Outside Europe, sentiment was buoyed somewhat by upbeat U.S. economic figures and indications Chinese policymakers are reluctant to raise interest rates. Asian shares rose and U.S. pre-open futures pointed slightly up. Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX were both flat, at 5,879.38 and 7,022.21. France's CAC-40 was 0.3 percent higher at 3,898.40. Asian markets closed mostly higher and Wall Street was expected to edge up on the open—Dow futures were 3 points higher at 11,434 and Standard & Poor's futures were up 0.1 point at 1,238.60."
Wells Fargo Now Bigger Than JPMorgan by Market Cap (Bloomberg) "Wells Fargo & Co., the San Francisco-based lender that doubled its size by buying Wachovia Corp. during the credit crisis, passed JPMorgan Chase & Co. to become the largest U.S. bank by stock-market value. Wells Fargo’s market capitalization rose to $157.6 billion at today’s close of New York trading, surpassing JPMorgan’s $156.4 billion. Wells Fargo is ranked fourth by assets and deposits, while JPMorgan is second behind Bank of America Corp. and New York-based Citigroup Inc. is third. "
Partisan Squabbling May Limit FCIC Effectiveness (Bloomberg) "The partisan split on the federal panel exploring the origins of the financial crisis may undermine the impact of its findings on the banks, bond-rating firms and regulators it investigated, legal scholars and former national commission members said. Democrats and Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, struggling for months to find consensus behind the scenes, haven’t even been able to agree on whether to include the phrases “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” in the final report. The report is now scheduled to be published in January and is likely to include dissents, FCIC members said yesterday. "
"M&A tops $2.2 trillion in first yearly rise since 2007" (Reuters) "Mergers and acquisitions rose for the first year since 2007, potentially marking the start of a new, multiyear M&A cycle in which emerging economies account for a bigger share of global dealmaking.
Thomson Reuters data showed announced M&A grew nearly a fifth this year, to $2.25 trillion globally. The preliminary figures show emerging markets made up a record 17 percent of transactions, and energy was the busiest sector."