Bank of America Playing 'Defense' Against Wikileaks


Bank of America to Take $2 Billion Charge on GSE Repurchases (Yahoo Finance via AP)

"Bank of America Corp. will take an approximately $2 billion charge in its fourth quarter as it settles buyback claims on home loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank said Monday that it also expects to take a provision of about $3 billion in the quarter related to repurchase obligations on the home loans. Bank of America shares jumped 4.4 percent in premarket trading on the news."

Goldman Invests in Facebook(CNBC via New York Times) "Facebook, the popular social networking site, has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal that values the company at $50 billion, according to people involved in the transaction. The deal makes Facebook now worth more than companies like eBay , Yahoo, and Time Warner."

Political Showdown over Deficit Ceiling Looms (CNBC via Reuters) "A top aide to President Barack Obama warned of catastrophic consequences if Republicans follow through on threats to reject an increase in the nation's borrowing limit. Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives this week, are demanding spending cuts to curb the $1.3 trillion budget deficit and several have said they would oppose a higher debt ceiling if Obama does not agree to a range of painful cuts. White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee accused Republicans of 'playing chicken' with the nation's financial credibility."

Bank of America Playing 'Defense' Against Wikileaks (CNBC via New York Times) "By the time the conference call ended, it was nearly midnight at Bank of America’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., but the bank’s counterespionage work was only just beginning. A day earlier, on Nov. 29, the director of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, said in an interview that he intended to “take down” a major American bank and reveal an “ecosystem of corruption” with a cache of data from an executive’s hard drive. With Bank of America’s share price falling on the widely held suspicion that the hard drive was theirs, the executives on the call concluded it was time to take action."

U.S. Corporate Bond Spreads Lower Than Rest of World (Bloomberg) "For the first time on record, investors are demanding a smaller premium to own U.S. corporate bonds than global company debt. Bondholders demand 166 basis points more in yield to hold U.S. investment-grade company debt instead of Treasuries, compared with an average 169 basis-point spread worldwide, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data. At the height of the credit crisis in December 2008, companies paid about 150 basis points more to attract U.S. investors to their bonds than borrowers seeking buyers elsewhere in the world."

iPhone Alarm Glitches Continue (CNBC via Reuters) "Some iPhone users in Asia complained of malfunctioning alarms on the first working day of 2011, even after Apple reassured users that its phones' built-in clocks will work from Monday. Bloggers, Facebook and Twitter users complained about of missed flights and late arrival at work, as the alarm built into Apple's iPhone failed to go off for a third straight day for some users. "