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HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- China's consumer price index dropped 1.6% in February from the year-earlier period, taking the economy into a deflationary zone, according to official data released Tuesday, media reports said. The drop was in line with economists surveyed by Reuters, and came in the wake of easing prices of food items and motor fuels. The producer price index, meanwhile, slumped 4.5% in February from the year-earlier month
A new private equity house was set to be born from the wreckage of Lehman Brothers on Monday, with investors in the failed US investment bank’s buy-out business expected to vote for its recreation in a shrunken form.
While many institutional investors are exiting their troubled private equity holdings, Johann Rupert, the South African billionaire, joined forces with managers from Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Partners to buy it out of the bank.
The rebirth of LBMB, which came close to collapse after Lehman’s bankruptcy last October, highlights how private equity’s long-term financing can help it survive tough conditions.
On Monday night votes were being counted from 320 investors in LBMB, which is expected to have about $3.4bn of assets under management, mostly in the US and Europe. It is expected to secure the necessary majority to survive under new owners.
Mr Rupert told the Financial Times that his investment was part of a strategy to diversify his holdings away from his Richemont luxury goods empire and to acquire assets that can “preserve capital” against inflation.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Companies ranging from Eastman Kodak (EK.N) to Unisys (UIS.N) are at risk of defaulting on their debt in the eyes of credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Moody's is expected on Tuesday to publish a list detailing 283 such companies, called "The Bottom Rung," which it will update monthly, according to a story published on the newspaper's website on Monday.
About 45 percent of companies on the list will default on debt in the next year, Moody's says, which could include anything from filing for bankruptcy to missing debt payments.
Companies in the U.S. car industry, retail chains, media and casino gambling dominate the list, and energy firms, airlines and restaurant chains appear often, the newspaper said.
The story quoted a Kodak spokesman as saying that speculation of this kind was "irresponsible" and added that the company "is financially solid."
A Unisys spokesman was not immediately available.
...As much as I thought...
European Factors -- Shares seen opening mixed
LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - European shares were expected
to open mixed on Tuesday, but investors were likely to stay cautious following
losses in U.S. and Japanese markets on weaker pharmaceutical stocks. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open down
19-28 points, Germany's DAX .GDAX to open between 2 points higher and 10
points lower and France's CAC-40 .FCHI to trade between 1 point higher and 6
Japan's Nikkei average .N225 fell 0.4 percent on Tuesday, with drugmakers
such as Astellas Pharma (4503.T) sliding amid worries about their global
competitiveness after Merck (MRK.N) proposed to take over Schering-Plough
(SGP.N). U.S. stocks fell in choppy trade overnight and the Nasdaq slid to a fresh 6
and 1/2-year low as shares of the biggest drugmakers fell after Merck's (MRK.N)
proposed a $41 billion takeover of Schering-Plough (SGP.N). On Monday, The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares closed 0.7 percent lower at 657.30 points after setting a fresh lifetime low. The index
has declined 21 percent so far this year after plunging 45 percent in 2008.
UK Stocks -- Factors to Watch on March 10
LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE is seen opening
19-28 points lower on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, reversing
Monday's late rally in tandem with overweight falls on Wall Street and in Asia. The UK blue chip index closed 11.67 points higher on Monday at 3,542.4,
having touched its lowest point in six years earlier in the session.
UK stocks to watch on Tuesday are:
ANTOFAGASTA (ANTO.L) The miner releases its preliminary results.
F&C ASSET MANAGEMENT (FCAM.L) The company releases its preliminary results.
G4S (GFS.L) The company releases its preliminary results.
TULLETT PREBON (TLPR.L) The company releases its preliminary results.
HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, jumped 15 percent in Hong Kong as the government probed a 24 percent tumble in the stock yesterday. Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, climbed 6.4 percent as crude rose to a two-month high. Sony Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. lost more than 2 percent after Warren Buffett said the U.S. economy “has fallen off a cliff.”