What's Important in the Financial World (11/23/2012)


Greek Bailout Coming Soon?

The latest rumors about Greece's bailout suggest that a deal will be done soon. Only last week, battles among Germany, most European Union finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund made a compromise unlikely. Germany refused to force bond holders to take another write-down in addition to the one they took months ago. The IMF wanted more liberal terms for Greece to get is budget house in order. Greece has made the requested austerity cuts, but its economy was falling apart too quickly. According to Reuters:

International lenders have agreed new steps to cut Greece's debt pile further but it still has to fill a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) gap to gain the IMF's approval for its next tranche of aid, a senior Greek government official said on Friday.

The International Monetary Fund has agreed to deem the country's debt viable if it falls to 124 percent of GDP in 2020, giving ground on its earlier target of 120 percent, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Walmart Bribery Probe Widens

The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) bribery probe has widened. It began last April when The New York Times reported that officials of Walmart Mexico had bribed government officials to speed approval for new store. Walmart indicated that it would look for similar problems in countries as widely spread around the world as China and India. India, the company has found, has a problem. According to CNNMoney:

Wal-Mart has suspended the chief financial officer of its expanding India unit while the company investigates alleged corrupt business practices.

The mega-retailer said in early November it was broadening its investigation regarding allegations of potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in Mexico to include India, China and Brazil.

A spokesman for the company in India, which operates as a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, said the suspension of the CFO was related to the investigation but declined to provide additional details.

Walmart sales in Mexico have been strong since the allegations arose, and global senior management has not been touched, so the problem could stay relatively isolated.

Apple-Samsung Battle Escalates

The patent wars between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung have escalated again. Samsung claims that Apple's new iPad mini, its new iPod and iPad 4 infringe on its intellectual property. ZDNet reports:

Korean electronics giant Samsung has added three new Apple products to the list of products that the company claims infringes on its patents.

In a filing to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Samsung has added the iPad mini, the new iPad 4, and the fifth-generation iPod touch to an existing lawsuit that covers devices such as the iPhone 5, iPad 4, and earlier iPod touch devices.

According to the filing, Samsung believes that "good cause exists" to add these three devices to the original infringement claim, "because Apple's new products were not yet available when Samsung submitted its original contentions on June 15, 2012 or its first motion to supplement its infringement contentions on October 1, 2012."

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, WMT