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Monday, December 3, 2012

Greece Announces Terms of Bond Buyback to Slash Debt


Wall Street Journal

Greece Announces Terms of Bond Buyback to Slash Debt
New York Times
A successful buyback is critical for Greece. The International Monetary Fund has said that it will lend more money to Greece only if it is reasonably able to show that it is on target to achieve a ratio of debt to annual gross domestic product of less ...
Greece Offers to Buy Back DebtWall Street Journal
Greece launches bond buyback in effort to cut national debtWashington Post
Greece Offers 10 Billion-Euro Debt Buyback Key to Securing AidBloomberg
Chicago Tribune -NEWS.com.au (blog) -The Seattle Times
all 690 news articles »

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Greece Offers 10 Billion-Euro Debt Buyback to Unlock Aid


Greece Offers 10 Billion-Euro Debt Buyback to Unlock Aid
Businessweek
Greece offered 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to buy back bonds issued earlier this year as the bailed-out nation attempts to cut a debt load that may threaten future international aid. Greek bonds rallied after the so-called modified Dutch auction was ...


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Playing without pressure in Greece


ESPN (blog)

Playing without pressure in Greece
ESPN (blog)
The Champions League trip to Olympiakos Tuesday arguably comes at a good time for Arsenal. There is no time to dwell on the non-performance in the 2-0 loss to Swansea, and the match gives fatigued first-teamers a chance for much-needed rest.

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Euro-Zone Finance Ministers Discuss New Bailouts

A week after settling on a debt-relief plan for Greece, euro-zone finance ministers met again Monday to discuss two other bailouts in the works, one for Cyprus and another for Spanish banks, and review progress on a key piece of the Greek plan, a debt buyback the Greek government launched Monday morning.

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Greek tax scandal takes bizarre twist


CNBC.com

Greek tax scandal takes bizarre twist
Financial Times
The unfolding scandal of the so-called “Lagarde list” of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts took a bizarre twist on Monday after a Greek-Israeli financier revealed an account previously reported to be linked with the mother of a former Greek prime ...
Former Greece PM's Mother in Tax ClaimsCNBC.com

all 11 news articles »

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Migrants in Greece held in shocking conditions: UN


Kathimerini

Migrants in Greece held in shocking conditions: UN
Reuters
ATHENS (Reuters) - Migrants in Greece face shocking conditions in detention centers and deepening hostility on the streets as the country goes through its worst economic crisis since World War Two, a top U.N. official said on Monday. Many of the 130 ...
UN official highlights deep immigration problems in Greece after visitKathimerini

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Migrants in Greece held in shocking conditions: U.N.

ATHENS (Reuters) - Migrants in Greece face shocking conditions in detention centers and deepening hostility on the streets as the country goes through its worst economic crisis since World War Two, a top U.N. official said on Monday.



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Louvre-Lens hopes to bring the glory of art to France's mining heartland

Nord-Pas de Calais region vilified as uncultured by southerners but locals say interst in museum proves stereotype is wrong

So grim are the northern stereotypes still endured by the French former coalmining town of Lens that when fans of rival football team Paris Saint Germain unfurled a banner at a match calling the locals "Paedophiles, unemployed and inbreds" it sparked a court case for hate speech.

But on Tuesday , the tiny, cash-strapped city of Lens – ravaged by the first world war, left struggling by the end of coalmining, best known for its red-brick terraces, slag heaps, football and love of chips – will celebrate the ultimate revenge for past injustices as it unveils France's most important arts event of the decade.

The Louvre will open a striking new outpost on the site of an old Lens coal pit, transporting some of its top works to a glass structure in the midst of local housing estates.

The Louvre is Paris's biggest cultural attraction, one of the largestarts centres on the planet and the world's most visited museum, attracting over 8 million people a year – its Lens outpost could transform the post-industrial north. Local politicians are hailing it as nothing short of a miracle.

The Louvre-Lens project is seen as far bolder than other famous museum satellites, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Tate Liverpool or more recently the Pompidou centre in Metz, because those cities were larger, better established and better funded.

Lens, with a population of around 35,000 does not even have its own cinema, boasts two modest hotels and only opened a tourist office at the end of the 1990s. At the entrance to the museum site sits not a showy restaurant, but a small terraced betting shop and tobacconists.

The initiative in a depressed mining region is an act of great political symbolism, marking a return to the revolutionary roots of the Louvre. Already the architecture is being hailed as a mastery of understated minimalism, perched on the site of an old pithead. The Japanese architects of the firm Sanaa said they didn't want to create an "imposing fortress". But the glass structure – described as "boats on a river delicately floating into a huddle" – boasts views of the giant slag heaps at Loos-en-Gohelle, the largest in Europe and recently graced with world heritage status.

The gallery layout is also a world first: 200 key works, from Greek sculpture to 19th century French painting, will not be separated by theme, style and era as is the norm, but be showcased together in one long gallery, uniting 55 centuries. Elsewhere, the temporary exhibition space is larger than that of the Louvre in Paris and begins with a Renaissance show including Leonardo Da Vinci's newly restored The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, will leave its home for the first time in 200 years.

But Daniel Percheron, the Socialist head of the Nord-Pas de Calais region, which funded over half of the €150m (£122m) cost of the museum, felt the most important piece was the transfer to Lens of one of the Louvre's most famous paintings, Eugene Delacroix's French revolutionary masterpiece, Liberty Guiding the People.

"When the Lens miners came up from the pits, covered in soot, they had two distractions, football and their racing pigeons; they would look up to the sky waiting for the pigeons to return from a race. It's wrong to say there was a cultural void here, it was the miners who fought for rights, unions, pensions and healthcare.

"Their glory can be restored through this museum. There was a one in a million chance for the Louvre to come here. It's an unimaginable dream. The miners built France, they symbolise France. This museum is all about restoring justice to this region."

Local politicians hope it will take only 10 years for infrastructure and jobs to boom in an area that has almost double the national unemployment rate. The first move will be to build hotels if it is to have the impact of the Guggenheim in Bilbao on this post-industrial region. As well as a new young audience of locals and people who have "never set foot in a museum", the Louvre-Lens hopes to attract the same visitors as its Paris palace, including British tourists.

Easy toi get to from Kent by train, and near crucial first-world war battlefield sites, the museum hopes for 700,000 visitors this year. Henri Loyrette, the head of the Louvre, stressed that the Louvre-Lens "is not an annexe, it's the Louvre itself".

Xavier Dectot, director of the Louvre-Lens said the aim was to bring "humanity" to the museum-going experience and to create "a spark of happiness" in a region already transforming itself. When President Fran├žois Hollande opens the museum on Tuesday, the town will lay on a vast celebration and fireworks display at the football stadium, advertising unlimited chips.

But amid the festivities, the museum will not be spared the exacting demands of world art critics. Already, the mould-breaking idea of a chronological display of works from 3,500 BC to the 19th century, bringing scores of civilisations and styles into one room, is being questioned.

Harry Bellet, deputy culture editor of Le Monde, hailed the museum as a "revolution in spirits" but he feared that the long gallery filled with so many different styles and eras risked looking "like a bookshop where all the books are muddled up". As the Louvre-Lens will have no permanent collection but instead be renewed every five years, the museum will no doubt tweak its experience as it goes along.


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Greece launches $13 billion bond buyback plan


Greece launches $13 billion bond buyback plan
Boston.com
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece revealed Monday plans to spend up to €10 billion ($13 billion) in a bond buyback program that it hopes will help stabilize its mountainous debt. The buyback is part of efforts to reform Greece's moribund economy and reduce ...


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EURO GOVT-Greek bonds rally after Athens reveals buy-back terms


EURO GOVT-Greek bonds rally after Athens reveals buy-back terms
Reuters
LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Greek bonds rallied on Monday after Athens announced better than expected terms for its planned debt buy-back, boosting chances it will succeed and lead to the release of fresh aid funds. The International Monetary Fund has ...

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Austria's Fekter: Expects Positive Outcome on Greece Debt Buyback


Telegraph.co.uk

Austria's Fekter: Expects Positive Outcome on Greece Debt Buyback
Wall Street Journal
BRUSSELS--Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said Monday she is confident that a Greek debt buyback will succeed but that Greece shouldn't expect their debts to be written off. On her way into a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers, Ms. Fekter said ...
HIGHLIGHTS-Comments from euro zone finance ministers, officialsReuters
Greece unveils bond buyback planFinancial Times
Treasurys Retreat on Greece Debt PlanNASDAQ
Telegraph.co.uk -Bloomberg -BBC News
all 603 news articles »

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Poor US manufacturing data takes shine off markets but Cable & Wireless Communications climbs after disposal

Caution returns after initial enthusiasm as US index shows manufacturing fell back in November

Cable & Wireless Communications has begun its restructuring with a near $1bn disposal.

The company has sold the bulk of its businesses in the Monaco & Islands division for an initial $680m in cash to Bahrain communications group Batelco. CWC is keeping a 75% stake in Monaco Telecom but has the right to sell it to Batelco within 12 months for another $345m. The deal is part of the group's strategy to reduce its geographical spread and focus on central America and the Caribbean, with its Macau business also currently on the block.

The news lifted CWC shares more than 1% to 35.1p but they came off their early highs.

The same was true of the market in general. Things began well enough following good manufacturing data from China and a better than expected purchasing managers' index number from the UK, as well as further details of Greece's bond buying programme. But a slowdown in US manufacturing as evidenced by Novembers ISM survey took the shine off, and the FTSE 100 finished just 4.42 points higher at 5871.24. Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index said:

The FTSE 100 rallied 17 points to briefly breach the psychologically important 5900 level but a sell off from this level of resistance is yet again something that needs to be watched. A failure to break above 5900 soon could prevent the FTSE 100 from enjoying a 'santa rally', whilst a sell off below 5860 and 5800 could indicate a potential correction of 3%-5%. The sell-off in late trading was more of a technical reaction than fundamental.

Among the risers, ITV added 1.5p to 100.4p following a positive note from Panmure Gordon in the wake of the finale of its jungle reality show. Analyst Alex DeGroote said:

According to ITV, the final of I'm a Celebrity had a peak audience of 10.6 million, which was a 47% share of TV viewers. This is significant because the ability to deliver major prime-time audiences is key to advertising and, in turn, content/format sales. If anything, the entertainment genre – as opposed to drama – has been tougher for ITV this year. The shares remain well supported and, in our view, the valuation is attractive.

Reed Elsevier continued to benefit from a positive recommendation on Friday from JP Morgan Cazenove, which raised its target price from 675p to 685p with an overweight rating. Reed closed 8p higher at 650.5p.

Schroders moved 25p higher to £16.21 after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch moved from neutral to buy. The bank said:

We have liked Schroders as a business for some time, but now believe that the combination of strong positioning and a supportive backdrop outweighs the disadvantage of an over-padded balance sheet.

But Royal Bank of Scotland dipped 2.6p to 292.6p after the latest bank net lending figures. Reports also suggested RBS planned to resume dividend payments in 2014, which would then lead to the UK government selling its near 80% stake through four share offerings over a ten year period. Gary Greenwood at Shore Capital said:

If true, this would represent a very lengthy exit process for the government, thus representing a considerable overhang for the shares for some time to come. Of course, we would also expect such plans to be subject to considerable change given prevailing market conditions, such that there can be no certainty, in our view, that this path will ultimately be followed.

Heading higher was Paragon, the buy-to-let lender. It added 1.8p to 242p after it confirmed reports it was seeking a banking licence with the possible purchase of Hampshire Trust, a private bank which offers loans and development finance. Espirito Santo said:

For Paragon the attraction is that the banking licence offers deposit accounts and savings bonds which Paragon could use as a source of retail funding. This would diversify Paragon's sources of funding and enable it to meet the demand it is experiencing from retail borrowers it has acquired through its recent portfolio acquisitions once they have repaid their loans – an opportunity management said they are currently having to turn down. Although this is still early stages, it does highlight managements proactive approach to increasing return on equity within the business and adds to our belief that there is significant value within the group.

Elsewhere Enterprise Inns rose 4p to 90p after Deutsche Bank moved from hold to buy and raised its price target from 105p to 135p. The bank said:

During 2012, the group's corporate and securitised bond holders saw the market value of their investment rise by around £340m while the equity investors have managed less than half of that. Even after this year's run, the share price remains 35% below the levels of April 2010, when the group was in poorer shape. We see 2013 as the year when the equity holders reap most of the upside in the market value.

Since the pub group's results on 20 November, its shares have risen around 35%.

Finally Asos slipped 1p to £24.75 following reports that Amazon planned to start a premium fashion site in the UK.


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U.S. Stocks Advance on China Data as Greece Offers Bond Buyback


U.S. Stocks Advance on China Data as Greece Offers Bond Buyback
San Francisco Chronicle
3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose, following a two- week advance for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, after Chinese manufacturing data added to signs of the global economic recovery and as Greece made a debt buyback offer. Hewlett-Packard Co. and ...

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Global shares falter on US data, oil rises on China


Economic Times

Global shares falter on US data, oil rises on China
Reuters
By Herbert Lash. NEW YORK | Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:14am EST. NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global shares faltered on Monday after U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November, falling to the lowest in more than three years, but crude prices rose on ...
China data, Greek buyback boost Europe stocksMarketWatch
European stocks, euro rise on Chinese factory dataAFP
Euro-Zone Manufacturing Contracts Again in NovemberWall Street Journal
Financial Times -Bloomberg -Taipei Times
all 1,147 news articles »

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PRECIOUS METALS: Gold Climbs on Greek Debt Buyback Plan


PRECIOUS METALS: Gold Climbs on Greek Debt Buyback Plan
Wall Street Journal
NEW YORK--Comex gold futures marched higher in step with the euro Monday after Greece announced a plan to repurchase some of its government debt at above-market prices. The most actively traded contract, for February delivery, was recently up $8, ...

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Greek Economic Recovery Plan 'Plausible', Bank of Greece Says


Greek Economic Recovery Plan 'Plausible', Bank of Greece Says
Bloomberg
Greece, in a fifth year of recession, announced a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) offer today to buy back bonds issued earlier this year, a crucial step for the release of bailout funds that have been frozen since June. The offer was part of a package of ...
Greek debt cut deal paves way for recovery: central bankReuters
Update: Greece Cbank: Economy Eroding But Reforms ProgressingMNI News
BANK OF GREECE, THE : The Bank of Greece Interim Report on Monetary ...4-traders
ShareCast
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Greek Green Shoots? Not So Fast


Greek Green Shoots? Not So Fast
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Within minutes, companies including Greek dairy firm FAGE International announced plans to launch new bonds, marking the country's first new corporate bond issue since the crisis struck. Could these be green shoots? Is Greece Inc setting out on a path ...

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Greek Debt Buyback Could Cut Net Debt By Nearly EUR20B


Livemint

Greek Debt Buyback Could Cut Net Debt By Nearly EUR20B - Source
Wall Street Journal
The proposed Greek debt buyback could cut Greece's net debt by as much as 20 billion euros ($26.08 billion), a person familiar with the matter said Monday. The person said based on an average price of 33 cents to a euro, Greece would be able to retire ...
Eurozone crisis live: Greece launches debt buyback schemeThe Guardian (blog)
Treasurys Retreat on Greece Debt PlanNASDAQ
Debt crisis: Spain requests €39.5bn bank bailout from Europe - liveTelegraph.co.uk
Financial Times -Seeking Alpha -Bloomberg
all 582 news articles »

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Greek Socialist party expels lawmaker for forming own group

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's co-ruling Socialist PASOK party expelled one of its most popular deputies on Monday, deepening the rifts within the second biggest partner in the debt-ridden country's coalition.



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