• Bernanke’s Confirmation Support Runs 3-1 in Favor in Senate
  • Top hedge funds bet on big rise in yields
  • AIG executives’ promises to return bonuses have gone largely unfulfilled
  • Geithner-U.S. job growth unlikely before spring
  • Stanford again seeks bail, Lawyers say he risks ‘breakdown’
  • Moody’s warns of possible sharp sell-off in sovereign debt
  • Rajaratnam Lawyer Opposes Request for Summer Trial on Galleon
  • Buffett Sells Moody’s Shares for Sixth Time After Profit Drop
  • Fortress’s Intrawest Said to Be in Talks on Buyout Loan Payment
  • Microsoft Must Alter Word or Stop Sales, Court Says

Bernanke’s Confirmation Support Runs 3-1 in Favor in Senate – Bloomberg

U.S. senators are backing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke for a second term by a 3-to-1 margin, based on a count of 77 lawmakers by Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg yesterday interviewed 53 senators who aren’t on the Banking Committee, which voted 16-7 on Dec. 17 to recommend Bernanke’s nomination to the full Senate. Twenty-one lawmakers said they are inclined to vote for Bernanke, while four said they would oppose the central bank chief, giving him 37-12 support so far for a four-year term starting Feb. 1. Another 28 said they’re undecided or declined to comment…..

Top hedge funds bet on big rise in yields – Financial Times

The recent rise in long-term US interest rates comes as good news for several leading hedge fund managers, including John Paulson, who have positioned their trading books to benefit from higher yields on US Treasury securities.

Mr Paulson, who made big gains earlier this decade by betting against the subprime mortgage market and whose firm, Paulson & Co, manages $33bn, has said he believes that government stimulus efforts would inevitably lead to higher inflation and a corresponding rise in rates…..

AIG executives’ promises to return bonuses have gone largely unfulfilled – Washington Post

When word spread earlier this year that American International Group had paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses at the division that had precipitated the company’s downfall, outrage erupted, with employees getting death threats and President Obama urging that every legal avenue be pursued to block the payments.

New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo threatened to publicize the recipients’ names, prompting executives at AIG Financial Products to hastily agree to return about $45 million in bonuses by the end of the year.

But as the final days of 2009 tick away, a majority of that money remains unpaid. Only about $19 million has been given back, according to a report by the special inspector general for the government’s bailout program…..

Geithner-U.S. job growth unlikely before spring – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday that the economy was recovering, but it may be some months yet before jobs are being created instead of lost.

“Most economists would say that, by the spring, we’ll have positive job growth,” Geithner said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” conceding that it is unlikely there was any job growth in December…..

Stanford again seeks bail, Lawyers say he risks ‘breakdown’ – Houston Chronicle

A psychiatrist who examined R. Allen Stanford believes he is in danger of suffering “a complete nervous breakdown” if he is not released from prison on bail and allowed to properly prepare for his scheduled criminal trial, according to court documents.

In documents asking that the jailed businessman be released on bail, attorneys argue Stanford’s deteriorating mental and physical health, combined with the difficulty of seeing his attorneys while at the downtown Houston Federal Detention Center, make it impossible for him to properly prepare for trial…..

Moody’s warns of possible sharp sell-off in sovereign debt – Financial Times

Sovereign debt could be sold off sharply next year, leading to a wider downturn in financial markets, if central banks fail to implement perfect exit strategies, Moody’s warned yesterday.

The ratings agency warned that economic growth would be choked off if exit strategies were introduced too soon, while financial markets would be unsettled if they were kept in place for too long…..

Rajaratnam Lawyer Opposes Request for Summer Trial on Galleon – Bloomberg

A lawyer for Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire Galleon Group LLC founder accused of insider trading, urged a judge not to “rush” the case by scheduling a summer trial that would “compromise” his defense.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell yesterday, defense attorney John Dowd said it would be unfair to hold his client’s trial for June or July, as prosecutors requested. He said he needed time to review wiretap recordings that prosecutors haven’t turned over since Rajaratnam’s arrest in October…..

Buffett Sells Moody’s Shares for Sixth Time After Profit Drop – Bloomberg

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. cut its stake in Moody’s Corp. for the sixth time since July after the ratings company was hit by profit declines, lawsuits and criticism from regulators.

Berkshire sold 87,992 shares on Dec. 18 for $26.77 apiece and remains Moody’s biggest shareholder, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s stake is down about 34 percent from the 48 million shares it owned at the end of June…..

Fortress’s Intrawest Said to Be in Talks on Buyout Loan Payment – Bloomberg

Intrawest ULC, a Vancouver-based ski-resort operator owned by private-equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC, is in talks with lenders about a debt payment due today on a $1.4 billion loan, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Intrawest, which owns venues being used at the 2010 Winter Olympics, may be pushed nearer to default if it fails to make the $524 million payment after getting a 60-day extension on Oct. 23, according to the people, who asked not to identified because the loan terms are private….

Microsoft Must Alter Word or Stop Sales, Court Says – Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, is preparing to alter its popular Word software after it lost its appeal of a $200 million patent-infringement verdict won by a Canadian firm.

The company, based in Redmond, Washington, was given until Jan. 11 to make the change or stop sales, in a decision released today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. Word is part of Microsoft’s Office software, used by more than 500 million people…..

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