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Global M&A numbers defy sluggish feel

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Global M&A numbers defy sluggish feel

Amid market uncertainty and energy concerns, theM&A scene emerged intact, with companies globally conducting $682.3billion worth of deals in the first quarter, The New York Times reports, citing data compiled by ThomsonReuters.

In Virginia, Middleburg Financial Corp.'s largest shareholder isurging the board to look intostrategic alternatives and "take advantage of current M&Amarket conditions." David Sokol is Middleburg Financial'slargest shareholder.

And regulators' largely dovish remarksnotwithstanding, Goldman SachsGroup Inc. still believes the Federal Reserve will hike rates threetimes this year — in June, September and December, the firm's senioreconomist told The Wall Street Journal.

In bankingnews, the investigation into alleged money laundering through a Malaysian stateinvestment fund has the U.S. Justice Department JPMorgan Chase & Co., and to hold onto —and possibly turn over — related documents from as far back as 2009.

A subsidiary of Swiss Re Life & Health America Inc. unit asPrimerica Life InsuranceCo.'s reinsurer on a coinsurance agreement covering a block of termlife insurance policies that were in force on Dec. 18, 2009. The transactionresulted in a reduction of about $2.5 billion of assets from Citi Holdings'balance sheet.

Spiritof Texas Bank SSB, a unit of ST Financial Group Inc. ($847.8 million), plans to a bank branch in TheWoodlands from Dallas-based PlainsCapital Bank, a unit of ($11.87billion), the Houston Chroniclereports.

AmeriServFinancial Inc. expects to record an increased provision of $3.0million to $3.5 million for loan losses and higher net loan charge-offs in thefirst quarter, due to one borrower who had filed for bankruptcy protection. TheJohnstown, Pa.-based company is also predicting , but said its overall loanportfolio and asset quality continue to be strong.

Thedora Nickel has been promoted to ofBanc of California Inc.

Brian North is succeeding Michael Nolan as of New Orleans-basedFifth District SavingsBank.

In the creditunion sphere, the NCUA issued a notice of prohibition against Duane Jones, former CEO ofTexas-based Heritage USA FederalCredit Union.

Doug Hallstrom was named of Cambridge, Minn.-based .

In Canada,Toronto-Dominion Bankstockholders rejecteda proposal to further simplify the financial information given to investors.

The Canadian Securities Administrators providedadvanced notice of a consultationpaper expected to come out toward the end of April, which will "seekcomment on proposed regulatory action aimed at strengthening the obligationsthat advisers, dealers and representatives (registrants) owe to their clients."

Inother parts of the world

Eiji Nakai, Barclays Plc CEO for Japan, is due to leave the firm June 30, Bloomberg Newsreports, citing internal memos. Nakai will also relinquish the role of co-CEOfor Asia Pacific, leaving Andrew Jones as the sole CEO.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Chinaand Hong Kong to negative from stable. The rating agency said it lowered theoutlook on China's long-term rating to negative, as the country's economicrebalancing is likely to proceed more slowly than previously expected and failto curb the risks of credit-fueled growth.

Munich, Germany-based is looking to sella €4.5 billionportfolio of life insurance policies in Italy and has pickedGoldman Sachs to run the sale of the closed life policies, Reuters writes.

Theday ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to alower opening for the U.S. market. In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 1.34% to20,498.92, and the Nikkei 225 fell 3.55% to 16,164.16.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.23%to 6,098.76, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 1.91% to 847.86. 

On the macro front  

The construction spending report, the PMI andISM manufacturing indices and the consumer sentiment report are due out today.

TheDaily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require asubscription.