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Author Archives: Bloomberg News

At brink, Morgan Stanley got $107 billion from Fed

As markets convulsed in September 2008, Morgan Stanley Treasurer David Wong briefed the Federal Reserve on a “dark” scenario in which the U.S. firm would need at least $10 billion of emergency loans from the central bank

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Bunge sued for refusal to accept modified corn

Syngenta, the world’s largest maker of agricultural chemicals, sued a unit of St. Louis-based Bunge Ltd. for refusing to accept corn grown from the company’s bioengineered seeds. Bunge, which operates a network of grain elevators and receiving stations, posted a notice on its website and at several locations that it’s “unable to accept” delivery of corn or soybeans produced by Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera seeds and another product made by DuPont Co., the complaint claimed.

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One-month-late mortgage payments jump

The percentage of U.S. mortgages overdue by one month rose to the highest level in a year in the second quarter as homeowners who lost jobs were unable to make their payments. The share of home loans overdue by 30 days rose to 3.46 percent of all mortgages, from 3.35 percent in the first quarter, according to a report today from the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

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Fidelity: Selling burns 401(k) savers

U.S. investors who sold equities in their retirement accounts during market volatility in 2008 and 2009 did worse than those who stayed in stocks, Fidelity Investments said.

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Muni-finance advisers face pay-to-play curb

Municipal financial advisers in the U.S. would be barred from making political donations just to win business under a proposal from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

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Payback for bad mortgages may backfire

Efforts by U.S. regulators and government-controlled firms to recoup billions of dollars from Bank of America Corp. for faulty mortgages may backfire, hurting the same taxpayers they’re meant to protect.

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Four senators urge Pentagon to collect ‘delinquent debt’

Four U.S. senators are pressing the Defense Department to collect its “delinquent debt” after an inspector general reported that the Pentagon is owed about $209 million by defense contractors. “In these times of ever-shrinking budgets, a soaring deficit, and disturbingly high levels of wasteful spending across the federal government, the Department of Defense must do all it can to get its fiscal house in order,” said Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, of Delaware.

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Prognosis improves with digital law

Even with the all-too-depressing illustrations of political paralysis we’ve seen recently, government can still act to improve our lives. A good case in point: The U.S. health sector is rapidly digitizing, and federal legislation from early 2009, passed well before the health care reform act, is an important reason why. Just five years ago, only 12 percent of doctors and 11 percent of hospitals had comprehensive information-technology systems in place. With no digital records to measure patient progress and guide doctors on best practices, it’s not surprising that cost and quality of care have varied wildly, not only across the U.S. but even within a single hospital.

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The real crisis is not the debt downgrade

The U.S. has a fiscal crisis, but not the one that everyone is talking about. Standard and Poor’s proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the U.S. still has the world’s preeminent reserve currency. When shocks hit — and investors have no idea who or what might be next in line for a downgrade — they buy U.S. government securities. Downgrades don’t usually have this effect. For example, if S&P or other rating companies downgraded France, that would set off a crisis within the euro region — pushing up interest rates on French government debt, undermining euro-area banks, and perhaps putting pressure on the fabric of the European Union itself. With a one-notch downgrade of the U.S. government, on the other hand, S&P inadvertently managed to lower the U.S.’s borrowing costs, both at the federal level and for homeowners who refinanced their mortgages.

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Health care law mandate for coverage ruled unconstitutional

President Barack Obama’s health care reform law’s provision requiring individuals to obtain coverage “exceeds Congress’s commerce power” and is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled, affirming a federal judge’s January decision to invalidate that portion of the act in a lawsuit brought by 26 states.

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SEC sues Stifel for fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing broker Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. for fraud, claiming it misled five Wisconsin school districts about the risks of complex investments that wiped out $200 million. Stifel and David Noack, a former executive, masked the risks in persuading the schools to buy notes tied to synthetic collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, a type of derivative linked to corporate bonds, the SEC said Wednesday in a complaint brought against the two in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.

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