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SunTrust Q4'18 profit slips YOY; Nasdaq eyes Oslo Børs; Dimon gets pay raise

SunTrust Banks Inc. posted earnings of $1.40 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from the year-ago figure of $1.48 per share.

Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the country may consider dropping criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. over its role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. fraud and embezzlement scandal if the investment banking giant pays $7.5 billion, Bloomberg News reports. He added that an apology from CEO David Solomon is "just not sufficient" and that there should be reparations and compensations.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon is getting $31.0 million in total compensation for 2018, up from $29.5 million in 2017. Dimon's total compensation includes an annual base salary of $1.5 million and performance-based variable incentive compensation of $29.5 million.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote to Wells Fargo & Co. President and CEO Timothy Sloan requesting more information about the "exorbitant" fees the bank charged students for financial products. A recently released report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, prepared in February 2018, showed that Wells Fargo charged an average of $46.99 in fees during the 2016-2017 academic year, the highest among other financial institutions in the report. "These high fees, which are an outlier within the industry, demonstrate conclusively that Wells Fargo does not belong on college campuses," Warren wrote.

Morgan Stanley is expanding its operations for family offices in Singapore, Vincent Chui, who heads the asset management company's Asia wealth operations, told Bloomberg News. The company has hired Wee Yee Yeong to head its Singapore wealth business and is planning to hire 50 relationship managers for Singapore and Hong Kong over the next three years, according to the report.

On the M&A front, Nasdaq Inc. is meeting with the board of Norwegian exchange Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA to discuss a potential merger, sources told the Financial Times. Oslo Børs earlier received an unsolicited acquisition offer of or €625 million in cash from Euronext NV.

Bridgeport, Conn.-based People's United Bank NA has acquired VAR Technology Finance, a leasing and finance company based in Mesquite, Texas.

In other banking news, CT Opportunity Partners I LP and its affiliates are pushing for the sale of Downingtown, Pa.-based DNB First NA. The activist investor group is unhappy with the bank's stock performance and were "dismayed" by the bank's severance package to outgoing chief banking officer Vince Luizzi, who was not contractually entitled to the payment.

In fintech news, Social Finance Inc., On Deck Capital Inc. and GreenSky Inc., among others, have partnered with Spring Labs. which is developing the Spring Protocol network that enables participants to exchange information without sharing underlying source data. The fintech lenders have joined the Spring Founding Industry Partners Program to help further combat fraud and enhance their ID verification capabilities, lowering the cost and increasing the security of issuing financial products.

In other parts of the world

Asia Pacific: SWIFT to set up Beijing unit; Indonesia keeps key rate

Europe: RBS to buy back government shares; CaixaBank to cut jobs; Nasdaq eyes Oslo Børs

Middle East & Africa: NBK posts FY'18 profit rise; Angola to close more banks; South Africa holds rate

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Big banks remind markets they are still printing money: Earnings reports this week from the largest banks showed little adverse impact from brewing trade wars and a government shutdown.

Some analysts worry First Data's $22B sale to Fiserv is too little, too soon: Some analysts see the $22 billion sale to Fiserv is evidence of First Data's successful turnaround story, but others say management had other plans that could have made the company far more valuable.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 1.25% to 27,090.81, and the Nikkei 225 rose 1.29% to 20,666.07.

In Europe around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 1.40% to 6,930.93, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.52% to 949.88.

On the macro front

The industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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 word ahead of the New York open.

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