Allstate sues Bank of America—and Mozilo (Reuters) "Allstate Corp has sued Bank of America Corp, its Countrywide lending unit and 17 other defendants for allegedly misrepresenting the risks on more than $700 million of mortgage securities it bought from Countrywide. Allstate, the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, alleged it suffered 'significant losses' after Countrywide misled it into believing the securities were safe, and the quality of home loans backing them was high. The lawsuit also names several former Countrywide officials as defendants, including longtime Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo. Countrywide was the largest U.S. mortgage lender before Bank of America bought it in July 2008."
PIMCO's Bill Gross Bullish on the Muni Market (CNBC) CNBC's Jeff Cox tells the story of Bill Gross's 'strong buy' on municipal bonds. Said Gross: ''Despite the risk there's always the reward function, and you can get 6.65 percent in New York City Build America bonds, and 7 percent-plus in California,' he said. 'That's decent return relative to the admittedly higher risk these days.'"
European Companies Pay the Price for Eurozone Sovereign Woes (Financial Times) "European companies’ relative cost of borrowing has risen above that of US groups for the first time since the financial crisis as the worries about sovereign debt in the eurozone hit businesses. Debt issued by European companies has historically traded lower compared with government benchmark rates than that of their US rivals. But since the end of November, European companies have started paying a higher premium, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch corporate debt indices. The data suggest European companies are starting to pay the price for the sovereign debt crisis that has hit countries such as Greece, Ireland and Spain. It comes at the same time as growth prospects in the US have improved."
Wall Street on GM: It's a Buy (Wall Street Journal) "Wall Street is painting a broadly favorable picture of the restructured company at the end of a 40-day quiet period that had blocked banks that managed the company's initial public offering last month from opining on the stock. The common theme: Buy GM shares ahead of important launches of high-volume models such as the Chevrolet Malibu in 2012 and a major redesign of full-size pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles in 2013."
Mayor Bloomberg on Snow Removal Disaster: "I'm angry, too" (NY Post) Really? Imagine how he would feel if he had to walk places—like the rest of us. "In what he called a 'massive effort,' Mayor Bloomberg said today that the blizzard clean-up across the city continues—assuring New Yorkers that the Sanitation Department is 'working long and hard' to plow streets in the outer boroughs. 'It's a bad situation,' he said during a news conference this morning in Brooklyn, one of the hardest hit parts of the city. A testy Bloomberg defended the city's response and called on New Yorkers to 'be patient'--trying to reassure New Yorkers, especially those in the outer boroughs, that plows will clear streets over the next 24 hours."