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Blucora to acquire HK Financial Services; Citigroup amps up hiring of coders

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Banking Essentials Newsletter - February Edition, Part 2

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StreetTalk – Episode 74: Investor sees legs in strong credit performance, US bank stock rally

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Street Talk – Episode 74: Investor sees legs in strong credit performance, US bank stock rally

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The Evolution of ESG Factors in Credit Risk Assessment: Environmental Issues


Blucora to acquire HK Financial Services; Citigroup amps up hiring of coders

Financial solutions provider Blucora Inc. agreed to acquire privately held, CPA-focused, captive registered investment adviser HK Financial Services. The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the first quarter, is being structured as a stock purchase with a price of $160 million.

Citigroup Inc. is looking to grow its investment banking arm by hiring about 2,500 programmers this year, Bloomberg News reports. The move comes at a time when approximately three-quarters of the bank's trade orders in the prior year were electronic. The new hires will focus on projects such as equities and fixed income solutions, Citi's Global Head of Operations and Technology for the Institutional Clients Group, Stuart Riley, told the news outlet.

Wall Street giants JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup have amped up their efforts to explore quantum computing after recent breakthroughs have led to boost in confidence related to its practical use, the Financial Times reports. Citi Managing Director William Hartnett says the potential to revolutionize activities like risk management and trading has become apparent, and that it is time banks start to learn how to take advantage of the technology.

Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia disclosed certain items that are expected to benefit its first-quarter results by around C$175 million after tax. The bank realized a net gain of about C$410 million after tax on the sale of its 49% interest in Thailand-based Thanachart Bank PCL, which will be recorded in the first-quarter income statement. The bank also expects an after-tax charge of about C$90 million, or about C$120 million pretax, to be recorded in the first-quarter income statement from the enhancement of its fair value methodology primarily relating to uncollateralized over-the-counter derivatives.

According to the Sustainable Investments Institute's data, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's proposal, which would create new disclosure requirements for proxy advisers and make it harder for shareholders to submit resolutions for consideration at annual meetings, would have blocked 30% of environmental, social and governance-related resolutions voted on from the beginning of 2010 through Nov. 18, 2019. Shareholder advocates, however, say the proposed rule will limit investors' ability to raise ESG issues with companies.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: AMTD eyes Singapore digital bank license; India revises urban coop bank rules

Europe: UBS revamps EMEA wealth unit, to cut 500 jobs; 2 German co-op banks in M&A talks

Middle East & Africa: Absa Group names CEO; Plus500 expects lower FY'19 revenue

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Citigroup, Jefferies dominated billion-dollar midstream M&A in 2019: Citigroup advised on six out of 16 announced transactions that are in S&P Global Market Intelligence's North American coverage universe and included adviser information.

US bank bond portfolios should close 2019 firmly in the black: Bank bond portfolios should close 2019 firmly in the black but will not offer the same boost to tangible book values during fourth-quarter earnings season as seen in recent periods.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 0.34% to 28,322.06. Nikkei 225 was up 1.60% to 23,575.72.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.11% to 7,583.60, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.12% to 1,157.28.

On the macro front

The International Trade report, Redbook, Factory Orders report and ISM Non-Mfg Index 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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