News Archive


Big questions for markets for 2015


(Reuters) – Wall Street was generally calmer in 2014 than in previous years, but that doesn’t mean the stock market was devoid of drama.

Big selloffs in biotechnology and social media stocks had strategists predicting doom in the spring, and the plunge in oil prices has clouded the outlook for the coming year. It was a year when Cynk Technology, a development-stage company with no revenue, was briefly worth $6 billion, and when a long-forgotten closed-end fund focused on Cuba – the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund – saw more trading in one day in December than it had in six years.

With that in mind, Reuters asked Wall Street strategists a few questions on odd things to watch for in 2015.

THE BIG APPLE

Shares of Apple Inc, the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company, will finish higher for a sixth straight year. With a current market value of about $663 billion, if one were to pick a company that would be the first to hit $1 trillion in value, Apple’s a safe choice – but not next year, investors said. The iWatch, its latest product, may not be enough to propel the stock further.

“I don’t really see this company as having another blockbuster category of products. The watch doesn’t feel like a great idea. I’m kind of out of the Apple mystique thing,” said Kim Forrest, vice president and senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

NASDAQ 5000

With its gains on Friday, the Nasdaq Composite Index sits just about 200 points shy of the vaunted 5,000 level, which it has not seen in nearly 15 years – and its all-time intraday high of 5,132.52 reached on March 10, 2000, isn’t far off.

“I think Nasdaq will test and probably achieve higher highs than we did in 2000 because I think we’re in a secular bull market that has another eight to 10 years left to run,” said Jeffrey Saut, managing director at Raymond James Associates.

For the Nasdaq to hit 5,000, it would take a gain of 4 percent. And to get to that all-time high, it would take about a 7 percent increase. Whether that’s warranted is something over which investors disagree.

“What we need now is for fundamentals like revenue and earnings to catch up with current valuations,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

MORE TRADING EVENTS EXPECTED

After a series of market-crippling operational glitches in recent years, found everywhere from Nasdaq to options markets, investors are bracing for more such events.

This year, a gold-mining exchange-traded fund, Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, dove 10 percent in the waning seconds of trading one day in early December. Earlier in the year, high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial canceled an initial public offering after the release of Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys” brought negative publicity to computerized trading.

None of these incidents were as damaging as the May 2010 “flash crash.” The most notable in 2014 came out of the bond market in mid-October, when 10-year Treasuries yields crashed more than 0.3 percentage point without warning.

“There definitely will be an event. At least one, probably more,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. “Investors want a lower cost. In return for the lower costs they think they’re getting there are also risks, and the risks usually involve technology. Lots of times they leave black eyes.”

“Whenever you have all these systems talking to each other problems happen. They’re tested robustly but not for every boundary condition,” said Forrest of Fort Pitt Capital.

BIOTECH TROUBLE?

Investors worry that biotech stocks will have a tougher start to the year after pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts dealt a blow to Gilead Sciences Inc on Dec. 22 when it dropped coverage of Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment.

Biotechs were all over the place in 2014. They were at the forefront of the selloff in momentum favorites in the spring, and hit another rough patch in December on the Gilead news.

“I think biotech is pretty expensive as an asset class,” said Raymond James’ Saut. “But over the next three to five years the big breakthroughs are going to come from the biotech complex. I don’t know about a pullback but I think there are better places to be.”

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/QQBbY4uESWo/story01.htm

U.S. retailers miss fewer Christmas deadlines: early surveys


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Major U.S. retailers missed fewer Christmas deliveries this year, according to two small, early surveys released on Friday, partly reflecting a year’s worth of investments made to avoid 2013’s last-minute shipping debacle.

This year, 7 percent of packages ordered online did not arrive by their promised delivery date, compared with 12 percent in 2013, according to a survey of 160 orders placed by retail-intelligence firm StellaService.

Separately, management consulting firm Kurt Salmon said 13 percent of the nearly 100 e-commerce orders it surveyed did not make it in time for Christmas, down from 15 percent in 2013.

In 2013, some 2 million express packages were left stranded on Christmas Eve, according to shipment-tracking software developer ShipMatrix Inc. The reasons given were, in part, a surge in demand triggered by last-minute online promotions and bad weather.

This year, retailers pushed back the cut-off date for Christmas delivery by one day, but most were still able to hit the mark because of improvements to their logistics infrastructure, better weather and fewer last-minute deals.

“We saw a lot less of the 11th-hour promotions,” said Steve Osburn, director of supply chain for Kurt Salmon. “They may have extended their deadline by about a day, but they were a little less aggressive about pushing those promotions.”

Retailers set a Christmas cut-off delivery date between Dec. 19 and Dec. 20 this year, he said. The four retailers with the most aggressive cutoff date of Dec. 23 – Apple Inc, Dell Inc, Nordstrom Inc and Zappos, a unit of Amazon.com Inc – all made their deadlines, StellaService said.

The better results also stemmed from the heavy investments by United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp, the world’s two largest shipping companies.

UPS allocated $500 million to expand and improve its 2014 holiday operations. Both built new facilities, added more temporary workers and pushed retailers for clearer estimates and earlier deadlines to avoid last year’s missteps.

The level of communication between carriers and retailers was “significantly higher” this year, Osburn said, pointing to a retail client who, in the run-up to Christmas, heard from one carrier two to three times a day.

But both surveys found that some retailers still fell short of their promises, reflecting the difficulty of accurately calculating holiday demand as e-commerce orders grow rapidly.

StellaService found nine of the top 40 retailers it tested missed delivery dates: Best Buy Co Inc, Costco Wholesale Corp, Crate Barrel, J.C. Penney Co Inc, Kohl’s Corp, Macy’s Inc, Staples Inc, Toys ‘R Us and Wayfair Inc.

Best Buy declined to comment. The other retailers were not immediately available for comment.

Both Staples and Toys ‘R Us missed deliveries in multiple regions in the United States, and in one case, Staples canceled an order without notifying the shopper, StellaService said.

Osburn found one case where a retailer fell behind on orders and attempted to upgrade shipping on packages to make the Christmas deadline. But the volume was three to four times higher than its previous estimates, and the retailer missed the Christmas deadline, Osburn said, declining to name the company.

(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne; editing by Gunna Dickson)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/TFbUHy0jHdQ/story01.htm

Women’s apparel, dining drive U.S. holiday sales: MasterCard


(Reuters) – U.S. retail sales rose 5.5 percent from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve as solid demand for women’s apparel, jewelry and casual dining offset surprisingly sluggish sales of electronics, MasterCard said in its holiday spending report.

The report, which tracks spending by combining sales activity in MasterCard’s payments network with estimates of cash and other payment forms, offers an early look into how the holiday season shaped up. Official government data and results from retailers will not be available until next month.

The results of the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report are the latest sign that a stronger economy boosted spending during the holiday season. An improving jobs market, with unemployment at a six-year low, and falling gasoline prices are among the factors helping to spur spending.

The National Retail Federation, the industry’s main trade body, is forecasting that retail sales will increase 4.1 percent during November and December, the biggest jump since 2011.

The MasterCard report highlighted how uneven the gains are, with some surprising winners and losers.

Casual dining and lodging were among the strongest categories, posting double-digit and nearly double-digit year-on-year sales growth, respectively, from “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, through Dec. 24.

The results reflected a growing consumer preference for “experience” over goods, Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president at MasterCard, said. The “economy is very strong but they are spending in a different way,” she said in an interview.

Contrary to some experts who predicted a strong showing for electronics, the category was among the weakest, with sales “basically flat” from Black Friday to Dec. 24 and in negative territory when looking at sales starting on Nov. 1, according to the report.

Brian Sozzi, head of Belus Capital Advisors, still thinks Best Buy Co Inc, the country’s largest electronics retailer, had a strong holiday season. A flat sales performance for the industry as a whole may simply point to volume sales of PCs and other products marked by steep price declines, he said.

Based on his visits to Best Buy stores, Sozzi said higher-end televisions, headphones and watches sold well. “All of the pricier stuff for them moved and moved very aggressively to the point where the last couple of days before Christmas Eve the shelves were basically bare,” he said.

Quinlan said apparel overall showed single-digit growth, and women’s apparel had mid-single-digit growth since Black Friday. She said it was not clear if the growth would translate into profits, echoing warnings by many analysts worried by heavy discounting in apparel this year.

Sozzi said one likely winner of some of that apparel demand was J.C. Penney Co Inc, which he said was doing brisk sales of trendier women’s items, as well as athletic apparel.

Other strong categories noted in the MasterCard report were furniture, which Quinlan said highlighted growing consumer confidence in the economy, and jewelry, with sales growth in the mid-single digits from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Chicago and Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/cGkpbU6-jtc/story01.htm

Shares rise in thin post-holiday trade; oil, natural gas slip


NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks pushed higher on Friday, with the Dow and SP 500 both closing at record highs, while oil and natural gas fell on worries of a supply glut and on mild U.S. weather.

The three major U.S. stock indexes notched their second straight weekly advance. Eight of the SP 500’s 10 primary sectors ended higher, and no sector ended more than 0.1 percent lower. Trading was light, however.

Europe, Canada, Latin America and a number of Asian markets were closed for a holiday the day after Christmas.

“This modest growth, modest inflation environment that we’ve been in looks to me like it’s going to continue, and that’s positive for stocks,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis.

Oil prices slipped, pressured by a supply glut in top consumer the United States. A Department of Energy report on Wednesday showed crude inventories in the latest week rose to their highest December level on record.

U.S. natural gas futures hit a more than two-year bottom below $3 after the worst week since February as disappointing weekly draws of the fuel raised worries about growing gas in storage.

NYMEX’s front-month gas hit a September 2012 low of $2.9783 per million British thermal units before settling at $3.007, about half a percent below the close on Wednesday. The contract had traded as high as $4.53 per mmBtu on Nov. 26 due to colder weather then across the United States before collapsing as temperatures turned higher.

Brent crude settled down 79 cents at $59.45 a barrel. U.S. crude settled down $1.11 at $54.73 a barrel. Spot gold prices were up $21.09 at $1,194.39 an ounce.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.13 percent at 18,053.71. The SP 500 closed up 0.33 percent at 2,088.77. The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.7 percent at 4,806.86.

The SP posted its 52nd record close of the year, the most since 1995, and the Dow notched its seventh straight daily gain, its longest streak since March 2013.

MSCI’s all-country world index was last up 0.22 percent at 421.33, boosted by the gains in U.S. shares.

In Japan, one of the few major markets open on Friday, the Nikkei benchmark stock index closed up 0.1 percent in quiet trade.

European, Hong Kong, Australian, Canadian and Latin American stock markets were all closed for the day.

The U.S. dollar climbed to near a 7-1/2-year peak against the yen and close to a 2-1/2-year high versus the euro on the view that the U.S. economy is expanding enough for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates in mid-2015.

The greenback hovered at nearly nine-year highs against a basket of major currencies; the dollar index was last up or 0.06 percent at 90.022

U.S. Treasury prices recovered slightly from an early week selloff in light trading. Benchmark 10-year yields, which move inversely to prices, were last at 2.25 percent, from 2.26 percent late Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Jessica Resnick-Ault, Richard Leong, and Barani Krishnan in New York, and Thomas Wilson in Tokyo; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/DUo7jW0JsHA/story01.htm

Wall Street ends at record in second straight weekly gain


NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday, with both the Dow and SP 500 closing at records in a broad rally, though trading was light with many market participants still out for the Christmas holiday.

Major indexes closed out their second straight weekly gain, continuing an advance that has lifted the SP 5.9 percent in seven sessions. The benchmark index hit its 52nd record close of the year on Friday, the most since 1995 and the fourth-best annual record ever, while the Dow rose for a seventh straight day, its longest streak since March 2013.

“The overall trend remains higher, but we’re reaching a point where we’re overbought. Six percent since last Tuesday is such a strong move in such a short period of time, even if bulls have the upper hand in the longer term,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

Recent gains have come on strong economic data, including a bullish read on economic growth earlier this week, as well as accommodative measures from central banks.

The day’s gains were broad, with eight of the SP 500’s 10 primary sectors ending up on the day and no sector ending more than 0.1 percent lower. The utility sector was the day’s strongest, up 1.2 percent, while healthcare rose 0.8 percent.

Healthcare stocks were boosted by biotechs, which jumped 2.3 percent. While the Nasdaq biotech index was one of the day’s strongest sectors, it fell 3.2 percent in a week marked by heavy volatility. Celgene Corp rose 3.4 percent to $113.35 as the SP 500’s biggest percentage gainer, followed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, up 3.3 percent to $413.48.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.5 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,053.71, the SP 500 gained 6.89 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,088.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 33.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,806.86.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.4 percent, the SP rose 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.9 percent. It was the ninth positive week in the past ten for the Dow and SP.

The SP Retail index rose 0.5 percent in the first trading session after Christmas. Among notable names, Best Buy Co rose 0.6 percent to $39.14 while Macy’s Inc dipped 0.3 percent to $64.05. Amazon.com Inc rose 2 percent to $309.18.

“Things are looking positive since the shopping season coincided with a big drop in crude oil, which means lower gas prices,” Sarhan said. “That translates to more disposable income, which could mean stronger retail sales.”

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,032 to 1,011, for a 2.01-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,792 issues rose and 934 fell for a 1.92-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The benchmark SP 500 index was posting 70 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 133 new highs and 28 new lows.

About 3.06 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the month-to-date average of 7.39 billion.

(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/54HpXXeGfy8/story01.htm

Wall Street Week Ahead: Big questions for markets for 2015


(Reuters) – Wall Street was generally calmer in 2014 than in previous years, but that doesn’t mean the stock market was devoid of drama.

Big selloffs in biotechnology and social media stocks had strategists predicting doom in the spring, and the plunge in oil prices has clouded the outlook for the coming year. It was a year when Cynk Technology, a development-stage company with no revenue, was briefly worth $6 billion, and when a long-forgotten closed-end fund focused on Cuba – the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund – saw more trading in one day in December than it had in six years.

With that in mind, Reuters asked Wall Street strategists a few questions on odd things to watch for in 2015.

THE BIG APPLE

Shares of Apple Inc, the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company, will finish higher for a sixth straight year. With a current market value of about $663 billion, if one were to pick a company that would be the first to hit $1 trillion in value, Apple’s a safe choice – but not next year, investors said. The iWatch, its latest product, may not be enough to propel the stock further.

“I don’t really see this company as having another blockbuster category of products. The watch doesn’t feel like a great idea. I’m kind of out of the Apple mystique thing,” said Kim Forrest, vice president and senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

NASDAQ 5000

With its gains on Friday, the Nasdaq Composite Index sits just about 200 points shy of the vaunted 5,000 level, which it has not seen in nearly 15 years – and its all-time intraday high of 5,132.52 reached on March 10, 2000, isn’t far off.

“I think Nasdaq will test and probably achieve higher highs than we did in 2000 because I think we’re in a secular bull market that has another eight to 10 years left to run,” said Jeffrey Saut, managing director at Raymond James Associates.

For the Nasdaq to hit 5,000, it would take a gain of 4 percent. And to get to that all-time high, it would take about a 7 percent increase. Whether that’s warranted is something over which investors disagree.

“What we need now is for fundamentals like revenue and earnings to catch up with current valuations,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

MORE TRADING EVENTS EXPECTED

After a series of market-crippling operational glitches in recent years, found everywhere from Nasdaq to options markets, investors are bracing for more such events.

This year, a gold-mining exchange-traded fund, Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, dove 10 percent in the waning seconds of trading one day in early December. Earlier in the year, high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial canceled an initial public offering after the release of Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys” brought negative publicity to computerized trading.

None of these incidents were as damaging as the May 2010 “flash crash.” The most notable in 2014 came out of the bond market in mid-October, when 10-year Treasuries yields crashed more than 0.3 percentage point without warning.

“There definitely will be an event. At least one, probably more,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. “Investors want a lower cost. In return for the lower costs they think they’re getting there are also risks, and the risks usually involve technology. Lots of times they leave black eyes.”

“Whenever you have all these systems talking to each other problems happen. They’re tested robustly but not for every boundary condition,” said Forrest of Fort Pitt Capital.

BIOTECH TROUBLE?

Investors worry that biotech stocks will have a tougher start to the year after pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts dealt a blow to Gilead Sciences Inc on Dec. 22 when it dropped coverage of Gilead’s hepatitis C treatment.

Biotechs were all over the place in 2014. They were at the forefront of the selloff in momentum favorites in the spring, and hit another rough patch in December on the Gilead news.

“I think biotech is pretty expensive as an asset class,” said Raymond James’ Saut. “But over the next three to five years the big breakthroughs are going to come from the biotech complex. I don’t know about a pullback but I think there are better places to be.”

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/MUZi4m7QJvk/story01.htm

Tesla’s new Roadster to cover two-thirds more miles per charge


(Reuters) – U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc will relaunch its Roadster model with a new battery pack that will increase the distance the car can travel on a single charge by nearly two-thirds to more than 400 miles.

The company’s shares rose 2.8 percent to $228.44 in late afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.

Tesla will demonstrate the enhanced range for the new Roadster in a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015, the company said in a blog post. (bit.ly/13zLpRe)

The current Roadsters can travel up to about 245 miles on a single charge.

Tesla had discontinued the production of Roadster, its first car, three years ago to focus on its ‘Model S’ sedan.

The company launched the Roadster in 2008 and sold about 2,500 units until January 2012.

Tesla’s announcement hints at plans to use more advanced battery packs in Model S sedans and the upcoming sports utility vehicle ‘Model X’ and the smaller ‘Model 3’ car, Stifel Nicolaus and Co analyst James Albertine wrote in a note.

Tesla is expected to launch the Model X in 2015 and the Model 3 in 2017.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/sou7-lKK5oA/story01.htm

Oil declines amid stronger dollar, crude oversupply in U.S.


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell Friday, tumbling as the dollar strengthened and as a supply glut in top consumer, the United States, trumped worries about falling production from Libya.

The market had come under pressure from Wednesday’s Energy Department report, which showed a 7.3 million-barrel rise in crude inventories to their highest December level on record. Analysts had expected a seasonal decline.

The slide was exacerbated as oil prices reacted to a strengthening dollar index.

“There’s still significant weakness in confidence, and that means that we’re going to have occasional retests to the downside,” said Richard Hastings of Global Hunter Securities. The strengthening dollar index triggered the slide on Friday, he said.

Additionally, the market continued to reel from bearish storage data just before the Christmas holiday.

“The numbers on Wednesday were really bearish, and it’s possible the market is still trying to digest them,” said Andrew Lebow, a Senior Vice President of Jefferies in New York. “Maybe the path of least resistance is down here, given that we’ve been in a long down trend.”

Crude imports by Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest oil buyer, dropped 17.3 percent in November from a year earlier to 14.68 million kilolitres (3.08 million bpd), government data showed on Thursday.

Brent crude settled down 79 cents at $59.45, while U.S. crude fell $1.11 to $54.73 in thin trade as many countries were still on holiday.

“We tried to rally off of the Libyan situation, but I think that the market is still reeling from larger-than-expected inventory data,” said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Fighting in Libya has cut output there to 352,000 barrels a day, or about half November’s average, state oil company spokesman said on Thursday. This countered the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) report showing a big stockbuild.

In Libya, a rocket hit a storage tank at the country’s biggest export terminal, Es Sider, setting it on fire as armed factions allied to competing governments fought for control, officials from both sides said on Thursday.

On Friday, officials said the blaze had spread to two more tanks.

(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler and Henning Gloystein; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Pravin Char, Chizu Nomiyama and Gunna Dickson)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Zj5PZEuhgf0/story01.htm

Standard Chartered hires ex U.S. prosecutors amid sanctions probe


ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – Standard Chartered Plc has hired two former prosecutors to police its transactions for criminal activity, a spokesman said on Friday, as the British bank wrestles with a series of legal and compliance problems.

The hires in the past two months coincide with a federal probe of Standard Chartered’s past compliance with sanctions laws, the latest in a string of legal issues it has faced, including some with U.S. anti-money laundering laws.

In late November, Standard Chartered hired Vincent G. Heintz, a former assistant director of the enforcement and investigations division of U.S. audit watchdog Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), to lead its U.S. financial crimes compliance investigations unit, said bank spokesman Chris Teo.

This month, it hired former federal prosecutor Evan Weitz, an expert on U.S. money laundering law, to serve as Heintz’s deputy, Teo added.

In 2012 the bank paid U.S. authorities, including New York state’s banking regulator, $667 million over sanctions violations involving Iran and other countries.

In August of this year, the New York regulator fined Standard Chartered another $300 million after a monitor it appointed uncovered shortcomings in the automated monitoring systems the bank relies on to detect money laundering and other criminal activity.

Standard Chartered hired Heintz and Weitz to lead U.S. investigators probing transactions flagged by frontline employees and software systems to determine if the activity is truly suspicious – possibly linked to criminal activity – and therefore must be reported to authorities.

The two new hires will work in the bank’s offices in New Jersey and Manhattan.

Heintz previously served as a prosecutor with the New York County District Attorney’s Office where he combated organized crime, money laundering and terrorism finance.

Weitz, the recipient of several awards for his prosecution of financial institutions that violated the Bank Secrecy Act, the primary U.S. anti-money laundering law, is best known for his participation in the prosecution of HSBC.

HSBC in 2012 agreed to pay $1.9 billion for compliance lapses that led to violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and allowed drug cartels to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

That case prompted Congress to step-up pressure on regulators to better hold banks, and bankers, to account for compliance lapses.

(Reporting by Brett Wolf; Editing by Christian Plumb)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/rT89mhFlSSI/story01.htm