A digest of current business news affecting your investments.
Asia Stocks Slump over Greek Debt Concerns
Asian stock markets fell today on news of Greece’s plan to put its bailout package to a popular vote, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The referendum revives fears of a Greek default and the prospect of a new global recession. Concerns drove markets in Japan and Australia to week lows.
Foreclosure Review Process Launched
The federal government yesterday launched a review process that will give nearly 4.5 million Americans the potential for restitution in the case of botched foreclosures, reports USA Today.
The process is designed to give nearly 4.5 million consumers the chance to get their foreclosure cases reviewed for mistakes and potential restitution.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has mailed the first batch of letters notifying consumers of their right to review their foreclosure proceedings. The agency plans to send out all notifications by the end of the year. The review covers foreclosure actions taken in 2009 and 2010 by 14 mortgage servicers and their affiliates. Affected foreclosure sales will be postponed until the review is completed. To learn more, consumers can call 1-888-952-9105 or go to www.independentforeclosurereview.com.
Transaction Tax Proposed for Financial Firms
Two U.S. lawmakers propose raising revenue through a transaction tax on financial firms contained in bills expected to be introduced in the House and Senate today, Bloomberg News reports.
The measures, which mirrors a proposal released by the European Union in September, were written by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon. The bills are unlikely to become law in the face of stiff opposition from Republicans, who control the House.
Judge Bars Madoff Suit
An attempt to compensate victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was blocked by a federal judge yesterday. The judge barred a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee from suing banks that provided financial services to Madoff, Bloomberg News reports. Federal Manhattan District Court Judge Colleen McMahon ruled yesterday that the trustee did not have the right to press $20 billion in claims against UBS and JP Morgan Chase.
Chase served for decades as Mr. Madoff’s banker, and created and sold derivatives pegged to his investment performance. UBS provided financial services to European investment funds channeling money to Madoff.
U.S. Manufacturing Slows
Manufacturing in the U.S. as measured by the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index, dropped from 51.6 in September to 50.8 in October, resting slightly above 50, the dividing line between growth and contraction, Bloomberg News reports. A slowdown in global demand caused factories to curb production and reduce inventories.
Reports of the slowdown coincide with a meeting of Federal Reserve policy makers evaluating whether more monetary easing is needed to spur demand. The Fed is scheduled to release its new economic projections after the meeting, which is scheduled to end today.
Will Supercommittee Get it Done?
Legislators from both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns that the Supercommittee charged with devising a bipartisan agreement to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget is running out of time, The Wall Street Journal reports. A failure to meet a November 23rd deadline will trigger automatic spending cuts in.