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When Banks Attack — And Wrongfully Targeted Homeowners Sue

When Banks Attack — And Wrongfully Targeted Homeowners Sue (New York Times) "When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words 'Together Forever,' that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert. The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand. In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed."

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Will China Buy Portuguese Debt? (Reuters) "The euro gained against the dollar and bounced from all-time lows against the Swiss franc on Wednesday, boosted by a news report that China was ready to buy significant amounts of Portuguese sovereign debt. The Jornal de Negocios daily reported China is looking to buy between 4 billion euros ($5.26 billion) and 5 billion euros of Portuguese sovereign debt to help the country ward off pressure in debt markets, though it gave no details of its sources. China's central bank declined to comment on the report which said the deal reached between the two governments will lead to China buying Portuguese debt in auctions or in the secondary markets during the first quarter of 2011."

Treasuries Down, on Sentiments of Economic Growth (Bloomberg) "Treasuries fell, extending their biggest monthly loss in a year, on speculation data showing the recovery is gaining momentum will fuel concern that debt supply will overwhelm demand as inflation accelerates. Five-year notes led losses before data that economists said will show sales of existing homes and gross domestic product increased. The Treasury is tomorrow scheduled to announce the sizes of two-, five- and seven-year auctions for next week. Ten- year yields have increased 41 basis points since Dec. 6, when President Barack Obama agreed to a two-year extension for tax cuts, widening the deficit and fueling bets that growth and inflation will quicken. "

Lehman-Related Charges Against E&Y Unpacked (Wall Street Journal) "In the most sweeping allegations against an accounting firm in nearly a decade, New York's attorney general is accusing accounting giant Ernst & Young of helping Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. disguise its financial condition for more than seven years, while collecting more than $150 million in fees from the firm. The two New York companies worked together from 2001 until Lehman's 2008 collapse. The lawsuit, led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, alleges that the firms engaged in practices to temporarily erase as much as $50 billion in Lehman assets. This often occurred near the end of a quarter, allegedly making the company look much healthier than it was."

"Stocks mixed ahead of home sales, GDP reports" (Yahoo Finance via AP) "Expectations that the U.S. economy is growing faster than first thought will be the focus of Wall Street Wednesday. The Commerce Department will issue its final estimate of gross domestic product growth for the July-to-September period. Analysts predict that the number will be bumped up to 2.8 percent annual growth from early estimates of 2.5 percent. Investors will also learn how the housing market fared in November, with the release of data on sales ofpreviously occupied homes. Companies reporting earnings include Walgreen, Bed Bath & Beyond and Micron Technology. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 2, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,473. S&P 500 futures are up 1, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,251. Nasdaq 100 futures are down 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,2334."