Monday, June 18, 2012

Stocks pointed down despite Greek election result

Welcome to the morning roundup. Here's a look at what's news in banking and finance.

Greek election fallout. Stock futures are pointed down this morning despite the results of the election in Greece, Bloomberg reports. A pro-austerity, pro-bailout party won the elections in Greece, meaning the country is likely to stay in the euro zone for the time being. But the party's leaders will struggle to form a governing coalition, and early bullishness from investors has been outweighed by a rising Spanish bond yield, the Financial Times says.

HARP boosts profits. Mortgage servicers will make an estimated $12 billion off the federal government's mortgage refinancing program called HARP, a total far greater than homeowners have saved, the Wall Street Journal reports. The banks have been charging above-market interest rates and fees to a mostly captive customer base.

Fed moves? The Federal Reserve may mark down its outlook on the country's economic growth this year, prompting it to take more action, Bloomberg reports. That could include an extension of Operation Twist, in which the Fed sells short-term bonds and buys long-term bonds, to drive down interest rates.

Bank sales. Small banks are increasingly looking for a buyer as weak loan demand and increased regulatory expenditures pressure their finances, the Wall Street Journal reports. With 90 deals so far this year, 2012 is on pace to have the most since 2007. In Charlotte, First Trust Bank recently sold itself to Bank of North Carolina.