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Chinese firm reportedly buying MoneyGram; Harvard to outsource money management


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Chinese firm reportedly buying MoneyGram; Harvard to outsource money management

Out today: Earnings report of Blackstone Group LP, Invesco Ltd. and Radian Group Inc.

At Blackstone, fourth-quarter EPS jumped to 55 cents from the year ago period's 23 cents. Invesco reported a 14.6% year-over-year rise in EPS to 55 cents. Radian's fourth-quarter EPS was 27 cents, down from 32 cents from the fourth quarter of 2015.

Alliance Data Systems Corp., and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. are also reporting their fourth-quarter figures early today.

Dallas-based MoneyGram International Inc. is reportedly about to get bought, and The Wall Street Journal's sources say it will be by Ant Financial Services Group. For those unfamiliar with the firm, it is affiliated with Amazon's Chinese counterpart, Alibaba, and operates the Chinese online payments platform, Alipay.

While some are moving their fund management in-house, Harvard University is deciding outsourced asset management is the way to go. Harvard Management Co. Inc. will cut its staff by half and retain internal management of only its passive ETFs and natural resources portfolio. The shakeup under CEO N.P. Narvekar will also tie staffers' pay to the endowment's overall performance and create the role of chief investment officer. Richard Slocum takes the position in March, according to the Harvard Gazette.

Meanwhile, even BlackRock Inc. will take its business where clients might complain less about the fees. A source for Bloomberg News says automated technology is the reason behind its transfer of more than $1 trillion into JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s custody services from State Street Corp.'s.

And an error on the website of the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets caused the leak of hedge fund short trades. The data was quickly removed, the Financial Times reports — but not before non-public short positions, including those taken by Soros Fund Management LLC and Renaissance Technologies LLC, were discovered.

In community banking news:

Orange County, Calif., is seeing its first de novo bank open since 2009. Blue Gate Bank is located in Costa Mesa and offers business loans and high net worth banking.

In Illinois, Geneseo-based Central Bank Illinois is buying a $278-million-asset bank, First National Bank and Trust Co. of Rochelle.

In Arkansas, Little Rock-based Southern Bancorp Inc. will acquire Farmers Bank of Hamburg for approximately $4.5 million in cash and stock.

There's merger news in the credit union scene as well. Ohio's First Choice Credit Union Inc. of Coldwater and Superior Credit Union Inc. of Lima are combining, according to The Lima (Ohio) News. First Choice has $16 million in assets and 2,000 members; Superior has $630 million in assets and 63,500 members.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: South Korea, Malaysia renew currency swap; Japanese, UK banks end partnership

Europe: RBS adds £3.1B in provisions; Nordea's Q4'16 profit rises; Generali CFO to leave

Middle East & Africa: Fitch cuts Nigeria outlook; Mashreqbank FY'16 profit dips YOY

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 1.41% to 23,374.17. The Nikkei 225 was up 1.81% to 19,402.39.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.16% to 7,175.64, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.01% to 939.62.

On the macro front

The international trade in goods report, the jobless claims report, the Chicago Fed national activity index, the PMI services flash, the new home sales report, the index of leading indicators, the EIA natural gas report, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

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