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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Greece charges statisticians over size of deficit


Greece charges statisticians over size of deficit
Financial Times
Greece has brought criminal charges against the official responsible for measuring the country's debt, thereby calling into question the validity of its €172bn second bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund. Andreas Georgiou, head of the ...
Greece's Statistics Agency Chief Faces Felony Charges -Judicial OfficialWall Street Journal
Greek statistics head faces charges over revisionMiamiHerald.com
Greek prosecutor to charge statistics chief over deficit - sourcesThe Star Online
New York Times
all 163 news articles »

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Man seriously injured in Greece crash


News 10NBC

Man seriously injured in Greece crash
News 10NBC
Man seriously injured in Greece crash. Posted at: 01/22/2013 2:45 PM. Police say a man was seriously injured in a crash Tuesday afternoon near Fetzner Road. Investigators tell News10NBC they saw a man they were interested in speaking with and as they ...

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Greek-Style Yogurt Proteins Reduce Costs


DairyReporter.com

Greek-Style Yogurt Proteins Reduce Costs
Food Product Design
VIBY J, Denmark—Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a new range of Nutrilac® milk proteins that allow food manufacturers to boost protein levels in their Greek-style yogurts to 10% by using their existing processing line technology and dramatically ...
Greek-style yogurt proteins cut costs, but ensure quality – ArlaDairyReporter.com

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Greek PM plans investment talks on Qatar visit


ArabianBusiness.com

Greek PM plans investment talks on Qatar visit
ArabianBusiness.com
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will visit the cash-rich Gulf state of Qatar next week in a bid to secure investment in his country's battered economy, the Greek government said on Tuesday. Kept afloat solely by foreign aid, Greece is trying to ...

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OPAP rises on Greek plans for faster asset sales


Kathimerini

OPAP rises on Greek plans for faster asset sales
Kathimerini
Opap SA (OPAP) rose the most in more than a week after Greek officials met to coordinate state asset disposal plans, which include the sale of a 33 percent stake in Greece's biggest gambling company. Opap advanced 5.4 percent to 6.97 euros at 3:57 p.m ...

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Greek Prosecutors Seek Inquiry Over Deficit Claims

The prosecutors asked for a criminal inquiry into the head of Elstat, Greece’s statistical authority, and two of his subordinates, over claims that they manipulated budget figures.


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EU approves financial transaction tax for 11 eurozone countries

UK abstained in vote but Germany and France among nations to impose FTT levy despite warnings by banks over losing trade

Germany, France and nine other eurozone countries have been given the green light to impose a financial transaction tax, despite warnings from banks and business groups that it will drive share, currency and derivative trading out of Europe.

EU finance ministers gave their approval at a meeting in Brussels, allowing 11 states to pursue a levy on financial transactions. The UK abstained in the vote alongside Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

Eleven countries won the EU's backing for a financial transaction tax (FTT), with Germany, France, Italy and Spain adding their names to eurozone neighbours Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The UK, which already imposes a tax on share trades, could benefit from a shift in banking business if Germany and France tax foreign exchange or derivatives trading in Frankfurt and Paris.

The levy, which could raise as much as €35bn (£29.3bn) a year for the 11 countries, is designed to prevent a repeat of the conditions that stoked the credit crunch by reining in investment banks. Following the decision, the European Commission will put forward a new proposal for the tax, which if agreed on by those states involved, would mean the levy could be introduced within months. Although critics say such a tax cannot work properly unless applied worldwide or at least across Europe, countries such as France are already banking on the extra income from next year.

"We will be able to put it into place quickly," said Benoit Hamon, a junior minister in the French finance ministry who was at the meeting.

A tax would raise the costs of individual trades, which economists suspect are carried out by banks to extract commissions and fees from fund managers that handle large pension funds.

Opinion is divided over whether banks would continue to trade at current levels and pay the tax or cut back on the number of trades, potentially saving pension schemes millions of pounds.

Algirdas Semeta, the European commissioner in charge of tax policy, said: "This is a major milestone in tax history."

Under EU rules, a minimum of nine countries can co-operate on legislation using a process called enhanced co-operation as long as a majority of the EU's 27 countries give their permission.

Germany and France decided to push ahead with a smaller group after efforts to impose a tax across the whole EU and later among just the 17 eurozone states foundered. Sweden, which tried and abandoned its own such tax, has repeatedly cautioned that the levy would push trading elsewhere.

Critics say the levy could open another rift in Europe, where the 17 states using the euro are deepening ties in order to underpin the currency, and there is the growing risk that Britain could even leave the European Union.

The CBI said the tax, based on an idea proposed by US economist James Tobin more than 40 years ago, would place another barrier to growth in the eurozone because the costs would ultimately be passed on to consumers and savers.

Matthew Fell, CBI director for competitive markets, said: "The UK government is right to reject a FTT as damaging for jobs and growth.

"It is disappointing that eurozone economies are pursuing the FTT, whose costs ultimately fall on consumers and businesses, and will be a drag on the eurozone recovery.

"As the UK's largest single trading partner, a healthy European economy is in everyone's interests so we urge participating member states to reconsider this tax."


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Vodafone shakes off disappointing figures from US partner Verizon, but FTSE rally fades

Mobile group has volatile day but ends higher on hopes for Verizon Wireless dividend

Vodafone sent out mixed signals to investors, although it shook off initial weakness to close virtually unchanged.

Its shares fell back to around 160p after Verizon, its US wireless joint venture partner, missed expects by reporting reported a $1.93bn quarterly loss, hit by pension liabilities and charges related to superstorm Sandy. The wireless business, however, reported an 8.5% rise in revenues, and Verizon Wireless is due to pay an $8.5bn dividend to its two parents, so Vodafone recovered to end the day 0.15p higher at 162.4p.

The future of the joint venture has long intrigued investors, with speculation either party could buy the other out, or even that Verizon could buy the whole of Vodafone and sell the parts it does not want.

But there are also concerns about the outlook for Vodafone. Before the Verizon figures, analysts at Jefferies cut their target price from 180p to 155p, saying:

Our 29 June downgrade was predicated on concerted competitor fight-backs threatening margin guidance and undue reliance on [its US joint venture] Verizon Wireless to sustain dividend per share growth. The third quarter management statement is likely to reveal competitive conditions worsening again. Even flat dividend per share post-2013 now looks challenging. The urgency of fixing strategic weaknesses in the core may force Vodafone to accept an unsatisfactory Verizon Wireless endgame.

Vodafone can expect ongoing dividends from Verizon Wireless but it really needs to preserve this cash to fund strategic acquisitions. There is a potentially expensive check-list of weaknesses to be addressed. Moreover there are realistic downside scenarios even to our free cash flow base case. In anticipation, it might be sensible for Vodafone to pull 2014 dividend per share expectations back a bit and indicate that it would, if possible, top up with buybacks as the cash flow position gets clearer.

More positive was Liberum Capital, which issued a buy note based on recent falls in the pound and hopes of a resolution to a tax dispute in India. Analyst Lawrence Sugarman said:

A 1% change in the euro impacts operating profit for Vodafone by £40m and 1% change in the dollar impacts operating profit by £50m. If you assume the recent move holds relative to my assumptions then the earnings per share upgrade would be around 3%. Of course the valuation impact is lower because Vodafone hedges its overseas operations through its debt exposure. However the market tends to react to Vodafone earnings per share momentum and anything that improves sentiment should be relevant given the compelling valuation case around Vodafone's sum of the parts. Historically Vodafone tends to perform better when euro is strengthening versus sterling than the reverse.

On Indian tax, he added:

There is always a lot of press on this issue and frequently it comes to nothing but [there have been] encouraging headlines today. I am assuming a £2.5bn payment, which implies Vodafone all tax owed and some interest; anything lower would obviously be helpful.

Overall the FTSE 100 edged down 1.81 points to 6179.17, as investors decided to cash in some profits after the market's recent rally. The Bank of Japan, as had been rumoured, unveiled monetary easing, while there were positive comments from the Eurogroup meeting about Spain and Greece with a possible bailout for Cyprus in March. The US is due to vote on Wednesday on a proposal to raise the debt ceiling for three months to allow time for a full agreement. Ahead of that came some disappointing existing home sales figures.

Fresnillo fell 50p to £17.25 after the Mexican silver miner said silver production would be stable in 2013, and confirmed it was looking to increase its 25% free float by the end of the year, to ensure it remains in the FTSE 100 after recent rule changes.

But investors were unsettled by suggestions Mexico could bring in a royalty on net profits towards the end of the year.

Publisher Pearson continued to fall back following Monday's downbeat trading statement, with Deutsche Bank and Jefferies both cutting their price targets. It closed 21p lower at £11.81.

Banks were weaker, not helped by talk of a possible warning from Deutsche Bank. Royal Bank of Scotland was down 4p at 362.9p while Lloyds Banking Group lost 0.38p to 52.82p.

But BG, which has been recovering after last October's warning on 2013 output and has also been the subject of bid talk, continued its rise, up another 25.5p to £11.45.

Weir was in demand, with the pumping specialist's shares up 18p to £19.68 ahead of an update from US peer Baker Hughes on Wednesday.

Shire added 17p to £20.88 as Credit Suisse picked the pharmaceutical group as one of its buys, even as it trimmed its rating on the UK market. The bank said:

The FTSE 100 is a defensive market (by sector composition) and thus tends to underperform when economic lead indicators and global equity markets rise (we remain positive on equities and the global economy on a 3- to 6-month view).

However it remained overweight on the UK, partly because of the weakness of sterling helping exporters.

A number of retailers were lifted by Exane BNP Paribas. The bank raised its target on Next, up 61p to £40.31, by 8% to £40 and Kingfisher, 4.1p better at 273p, from 320p to 350p.

But Shore Capital was negative on the general retailers, and it was the weak pound again. Analyst Gerard Lane said:

Another reason to sell the sector is the fall in sterling, in our view. With the rise in sterling of 2012 depressing import inflation pressure, we suggest that the decline in sterling in recent weeks is likely to lead to higher prices in the shops, or lower margins pressure for the retail sector, as import prices are likely to rise. With weakness in the UK economy putting downward pressure on sterling's value, then the general retail sector could continue its recent underperformance, given the weakness in take-home pay in the UK and the sector overvaluation when viewed through the prism of relative dividend yield.

Among the mid-caps Ocado jumped 5.95p to 101p as it unveiled Sir Stuart Rose as its new chairman to replace Lord Grade.

Property website Rightmove rose 44p to £15.99 as UBS upgraded from neutral to buy and raised its price target from £16 to £18. UBS said:

Rightmove has always had a very attractive competitive profile, with high market share, barriers to entry, pricing power, and long term structural growth. The recent Zoopla merger [with Digital Property Group] has led some investors to question the sustainability of the competitive backdrop. Our analysis of viewing data shows Rightmove remains as strong as ever. There is always a competitor to worry about. One such competitor, PropertyLive has just closed down and that was free to advertise.


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Greece Citizens Help Capture Alleged Robber


News 10NBC

Greece Citizens Help Capture Alleged Robber
13WHAM-TV
No one was hurt. In a statement, Greece Police Chief Todd Baxter said, “This arrest is an example of the success we can have when citizens partner with the Greece Police Department to rid our streets of criminals. There is a clear message to the ...
Greece man charged with attempted robbery, attempted grand larcenyNews 10NBC
Citizens capture would-be robber in GreeceRochester Democrat and Chronicle

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European Jewish Leaders Blame Greek Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn for Racist Killing


European Jewish Leaders Blame Greek Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn for Racist Killing
Jewish Daily Forward
The head of the European Jewish Congress condemned the “racist” killing of an immigrant in Athens last week, saying it was a result of Greece's tolerance of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party. “We are witness to an increasing violence against foreigners ...
Greek anti-fascist resistanceSocialistworker.co.uk

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Greece's Statistics Agency Chief Faces Felony Charges -Judicial Official


Greece's Statistics Agency Chief Faces Felony Charges -Judicial Official
Wall Street Journal
ATHENS--Greek prosecutors have charged the head of the country's statistics agency and two other board members with allegedly inflating Greece's 2009 deficit, that led to the country's first rescue loan from the European Union and the International ...
Greek statistics head faces charges over revisionMiamiHerald.com

all 124 news articles »

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Greek prosecutors seek charges against statistics head for allegedly inflating ...


Greek prosecutors seek charges against statistics head for allegedly inflating ...
Fox News
ATHENS, Greece – Greek prosecutors are recommending charges be brought against the head of the statistics agency and two other employees for allegedly inflating the country's 2009 deficit. The accusation stems from a 2010 revision which showed the ...
Greek statistics head faces charges over revisionBoston.com
Greek data agency head charged with inflating deficit: judicial sourceMSN Malaysia News

all 124 news articles »

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Greek Statistics Head Faces Charges Over Revision


Greek Statistics Head Faces Charges Over Revision
NPR
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek prosecutors are recommending charges be brought against the head of the statistics agency and two other employees for allegedly inflating the country's 2009 deficit. The accusation stems from a 2010 revision which showed ...
Greek data agency head charged with inflating deficit: judicial sourceMSN Malaysia News

all 36 news articles »

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Greek statistics head faces charges over revision

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek prosecutors are recommending charges be brought against the head of the statistics agency and two other employees for allegedly inflating the country's 2009 deficit.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST AT hosted2.ap.org

Greek statistics head faces charges over revision




Greece received an international bailout in May 2010, but opposition was mounting against the spending cuts and tax increases demanded by creditors.

In 2011, a former statistics agency board member alleged the figure had been inflated to justify the austerity.


READ THE ORIGINAL POST AT www.sfgate.com

Greek metro workers defy court order


Press TV

Greek metro workers defy court order
Press TV
Greek metro workers have defied a court order to return to work and have staged the sixth day of strikes over the government's spending cuts. Athens was without a metro service on Tuesday for four to five hours, which comes in continuation to the ...
Greek metro workers continue strikeBelfast Telegraph
Greek transport workers continue strikeIrish Examiner
Athens' striking subway workers defy court orderThe Seattle Times

all 153 news articles »

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Greece among EU countries pursuing financial transaction tax


Kathimerini

Greece among EU countries pursuing financial transaction tax
Kathimerini
A group of 11 European Union countries, including Greece, have been given the go-ahead Tuesday to push ahead with the introduction of a financial transaction tax. EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta told reporters Tuesday after a meeting of the blocĂ­s ...
Eurogroup statement on GreeceFXstreet.com
Eurogroup Approves 9.2 Billion Euro Tranche for GreeceGreek Reporter
Spain Objects to Dutch Fin Min Election as Eurogroup President -JunckerWall Street Journal
Newser
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Greece narrows budget deficit to 8.1%: official


Economic Times

Greece narrows budget deficit to 8.1%: official
Economic Times
ATHENS: Greece narrowed its budget deficit to 8.1 percent in 2012, a junior finance minister said, marking a rare improvement over targets pledged to its EU-IMF creditors. "The final execution data for the budget show that the country met its fiscal ...

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Greece's statistics chief faces charges over claims of inflated 2009 deficit ...


Kathimerini

Greece's statistics chief faces charges over claims of inflated 2009 deficit ...
Kathimerini
The head of Greece's statistics service, Andreas Georgiou, and two board members at the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) are to face felony charges regarding the alleged manipulation of the country's deficit figure in 2009. Financial prosecutors ...


READ THE ORIGINAL POST AT www.ekathimerini.com

Greece's 2012 Budget Deficit Narrows 31 Percent to Beat Target


Kathimerini

Greece's 2012 Budget Deficit Narrows 31 Percent to Beat Target
Bloomberg
In November, Greece's coalition government approved new austerity measures to obtain aid under two bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The IMF estimates the economy contracted 6 percent last year, the fifth year of ...
Greece beats deficit targets for 2012, as primary shortfall is slashed by 46pctKathimerini

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Greece beats deficit targets for 2012, as primary shortfall is slashed by 46pct


Kathimerini

Greece beats deficit targets for 2012, as primary shortfall is slashed by 46pct
Kathimerini
Greece's primary deficit beat its target for 2012 by 1.1 billion euros, or 0.6 percent of gross domestic product, according to figures published by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday. The government was aiming to have a primary deficit, which does not ...


READ THE ORIGINAL POST AT www.ekathimerini.com