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Malaysian court denies bail for ex-Goldman banker; 2 Wisconsin banks merging


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Malaysian court denies bail for ex-Goldman banker; 2 Wisconsin banks merging

The U.S. may finally see some traction in the adoption of contactless cards, which are already ubiquitous in countries like U.K, Canada and Australia, according to the Financial Times.

U.S. banks are rolling out contactless cards at a large scale in 2019, the publication said. In November 2018, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that it plans to migrate all of its debit and credit cardholders to contactless cards by the end of 2019. Visa Inc. expects 100 million contactless Visa cards to be issued by the end of the year, while Mastercard Inc. has agreed with bank partners to bring contactless cards to customers accounting for two-thirds of its total payments within two years.

The Sessions Court of Malaysia denied former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Roger Ng's request for bail in connection with his alleged participation in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. scandal, multiple news outlets report. Ng, who has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since Nov. 1, 2018, cited medical reasons for his release, according to Reuters. However, Judge Edwin Paramjothy Michael Muniandy said there was insufficient evidence that Ng was unfit to remain in custody.

JPMorgan rejected a Libyan oil wealth fund's claims that Bear Stearns paid bribes to win a $200 million bond deal in 2007, Bloomberg News reports, citing the bank's defence documents in the lawsuit. JPMorgan said that the payments Bear Stearns made to a person who had connections with the family of former dictator Moammar Qaddafi were for broker services meant to secure introductions with the Libyan Investment Authority. The bank added that Bear Stearns did not take part in any illegal scheme.

In Wisconsin, S.B.C.P. Bancorp Inc. is acquiring Union Bancorp of Evansville Inc. and unit Union Bank & Trust Co. in a cash-and-stock deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Massachusetts-based Brookline Bank, which already holds 84.07% interest in Eastern Funding LLC, purchased the remaining 15.93% interest in the New York-based leasing and financing company.

In Cincinnati, Madison Financial Advisors Ltd, an investment adviser that does business as Madison Wealth Management, has acquired Greystone Investment Management LLC, Citywire USA reports. Greystone has about $300 million in assets under management.

And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is nominating his chief of staff, Linda Lacewell, as superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services. The current superintendent, Maria Vullo, is stepping down from her role on Feb. 1.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China to cut banks' reserve requirement ratio; India merges 3 banks

Europe: Rothesay mulls £3.5B buy of Swiss Re unit; UBS eyes former BofA exec as next CEO

Middle East & Africa: Iran moves to save battered currency; Ghana concludes banking sector cleanup

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December drop pushes S&P 500 negative for 2018: In December 2018, the S&P 500 dropped 9.0%, pushing the index to a negative 4.4% return for that year.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.82% to 25,835.70. The Nikkei 225 rose 2.44% to 20,038.97.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.63% to 6,794.27, and the Euronext 100 retreated 0.48% to 916.89.

On the macro front

The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, the TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index and the factory orders 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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