Chinese manufacturing activity declined for the second consecutive month in December but showed tentative signs of stabilising, according to a survey published on Friday.
The HSBC purchasing managers’ index for China hit 48.7 this month, weighed down by falling orders and remaining below the 50 mark that denotes a contraction. Yet the decline was softer than November’s 47.7 reading, signalling that Chinese manufacturing growth may be nearing a bottom, at least in the short term.
Nearly two months after coming to power, the new center-right government in Spain has warned that the country’s budget deficit will surpass prior expectations, hitting around 8% for 2011. The prior government had predicted a budget deficit of 6%. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz made the announcements at a press conference, in which she said the government had approved an austerity package worth €8.9 billion euros ($11.5 billion) to combat the country’s economic and budgetary difficulties. Saenz also said the government would need to increase some taxes on a temporary basis.
The U.S. Treasury Department plans to start charging large banks a fee to cover the costs of the financial risk council it leads and a research office tasked with measuring threats to financial markets.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research were created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, which instructs the government to bill banks for their operations.
Treasury on Thursday released a proposed rule, which would apply to banks with more than $50 billion in total assets, starting in the middle of next year.
Treasury is proposing charging these banks a flat rate that would be applied to an institution’s total consolidated assets, and would be collected twice a year.
Euro-zone banks’ overnight borrowing from the European Central Bank jumped Thursday to a level unseen since early this year, while their deposits remained close to the record levels hit earlier this week. Banks borrowed €17.307 billion ($22.43 billion) from the ECB Thursday.
Stocks to watch this morning include AMR, Sears Holding and more.
New York Stock Exchange regulators said they will delist the common stock of AMR Corp. before the opening bell on Jan. 5., saying that it is “no longer suitable” for listing. NYSE Regulation cited reasons including the timing and outcome of last month’s bankruptcy filing as well as the company’s sharply weakened share price. Shares plunged 40% to 31 cents in recent premarket trading.
Fitch Ratings slashed its ratings on Sears Holdings Corp. Thursday and kept the door open for further cuts deeper into junk, after the retailer warned of disappointing holiday sales earlier this week. Shares of Sears slipped 1.2% to $32.50 in light premarket trading.
Activist investor Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management LP hedge fund holds a 14.2% stake in Canadian Pacific Railway, wants to oust the railroad’s chief executive and has pushed its board to hire a former CEO, the Globe and Mail reported Friday on its website, citing people familiar with the hedge fund’s strategy.
Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. said it expects to record an $11.3 million charge as a result of the retirement of 31 drilling rigs this month.
Samsung Electronics Co. strengthened its lead as the top handset maker in the U.S. during the three months ended in November, while Google Inc.’s Android platform expanded its dominance of the U.S. smartphone market, according to industry tracker comScore Inc.