China ADRs mostly fall on Chinese lending curbs

U.S.-traded shares of Chinese companies mostly traded lower Friday after China moved to curtail bank lending and cool down its fast-growing economy.

Chinese regulators on Friday ordered banks to increase reserves by half a percentage point — to 16.5 percent for large lenders and 14.5 percent for smaller institutions. Rural lenders that serve farmers were exempted to guarantee adequate credit for agriculture.

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It was the second time in a month that Chinese regulators said they would force banks to reduce their lending. The moves are aimed at trying to contain rapid economic growth in China to prevent speculative stock and real estate bubbles. Regulators also are concerned that the flood of money through the economy is adding to inflation.

American Depositary receipts of Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. dropped 98 cents, or 4 percent, to $23.63 in afternoon trading, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. fell $1.72, or 2.2 percent, to $75.29. China Real Estate Information Corp. [Read the full article]

WASHINGTON — Treasury releases international money flows data for December, 9 a.m.; National Association of Home Builders releases housing market index for February, 1 p.m.; Treasury releases federal budget for January, 2 p.m.

BERLIN — Germany’s ZEW institute releases its monthly investor confidence index for Europe’s biggest economy.

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve releases minutes from January interest-rate meeting with updated economic forecast; Commerce Department releases housing starts for January, 8:30 a.m.; Federal Reserve releases industrial production for January, 9:15 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.; Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for January, 8:30 a.m.; Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates.

STUTTGART, Germany — Automaker Daimler AG releases quarterly figures, holds annual press conference.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. [Read the full article]

Warren Buffett’s train has left the station, and millions of investors are joining him for the ride.

The billionaire investor’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK-A – News; NYSE:BRK-B – News) on Friday completed its roughly $26.4 billion purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp (NYSE:BNI – News), issuing new stock and paying out $15.87 billion of cash.

Berkshire is also replacing the No. 2 U.S. railroad company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index of large U.S. companies. It will begin trading on that index on Tuesday.

More than $1 trillion of investor money tracks the index, and the addition of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire is expected to generate about $14 billion of buying demand. [Read the full article]

Discover Financial Services said on Friday that it paid Morgan Stanley $775 million to settle a dispute over the proceeds from an antitrust lawsuit filed before Morgan Stanley spun off Discover in 2007.

The settlement, which Discover disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, comes after a New York state Supreme Court justice ruled early last month that Discover had to pay Morgan Stanley a special dividend negotiated when the credit card company was spun off.

A the time of the June 2007 spinoff, Discover agreed with Morgan Stanley to share money received from an antitrust lawsuit Discover had pending against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. Discover settled the antitrust case for $2.75 billion, of which Morgan Stanley was entitled to $1.2 billion.

However, Discover declined to pay Morgan Stanley, claiming it interfered in the Visa and MasterCard settlement. [Read the full article]

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