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BlackRock cuts fee on biggest index mutual fund; 2 bank deals announced in Iowa

The world's largest asset manager, BlackRock Inc., will lower the fee on its biggest equity index mutual fund, the iShares S&P 500 Index Fund, to $1.25 from $4 for every $10,000 in July, The Wall Street Journal reports. This is the lowest fee ever offered for any BlackRock index mutual fund and clients must invest at least $2.5 billion to qualify for the fee, according to the report.

In bank M&A news, Iowa-based Old O'Brien Banc Shares Inc. and R & J Financial Corp. Inc. are merging; Pella Financial Group Inc. is acquiring Iowa State Savings Bank; and in Missouri, Bethany Bankshares Inc. is merging with Fairport Bancshares Inc. The terms of the three deals were not disclosed in the Federal Register.

In regulatory news, the Federal Reserve is not yet satisfied with Wells Fargo & Co.'s progress in fixing its risk management operations and will not lift its asset restriction on the bank until that happens, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters. In February 2018, the Fed capped Wells Fargo's asset size to its end-of-2017 level of $1.952 trillion. Wells Fargo has "a lot of work" to do in addressing the "deep problems" that led to the Fed's unprecedented penalty on the bank, Powell added.

The U.S. central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged and signaled that its next rate hike may not come until 2020. The Fed also said it will conclude the asset reductions on its $4 trillion balance sheet at the end of September, leaving it with slightly more than $3.5 trillion in assets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to adopt amendments to modernize and simplify disclosure requirements for public companies, investment advisers and investment companies. The agency also voted to propose rule reforms that would modify the registration, communications, and offering processes available to business development companies and registered closed-end funds to improve access to capital and facilitate investor communications.

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: Thailand keeps rate steady; Vietinbank to divest Saigon Bank shares

Europe: 'Brextension' sought; UBS warns on profit; BayernLB gets new CEO

Middle East & Africa: Standard Bank names chief risk officer; Barclays Bank of Kenya raided

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Michigan thrift retains top spot in large US community bank ranking: Sterling Bancorp again took the crown in S&P Global Market Intelligence's 2018 ranking of the top-performing community banks and thrifts between $3 billion and $10 billion in assets.

Century-old Minn. lender tops performance ranking for small community banks: Park State Bank topped S&P Global Market Intelligence's ranking of the top 100 U.S. community banks under $3 billion in assets.

United States Senate FCU jumps 43 spots to lead 2018 credit union rankings: Fox Communities CU, the top performing credit union in the 2017 ranking, fell to the No. 34 spot.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng declined 0.85% to 29,071.56.

In Europe around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.62% to 7,335.92, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.03% to 1,044.26.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's business outlook survey, the leading indicators report, the quarterly services survey, the Energy Information Administration natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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