The Financial Stability Board prepared a report outlining progress toward implementing tougher rules for derivatives markets. The Group of 20 nations task force said regulators in the U.S., Europe and Japan are making good progress, but there is a long way to go. "Broadly speaking, the jurisdictions currently with the largest markets in [over-the-counter] derivatives -- the EU, Japan and the U.S. -- are the most advanced in structuring their legislative and regulatory frameworks," according to the report. "They expect to have regulatory frameworks in place by end-2012 and practical implementation within their markets is well underway."
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke met earlier this week with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., one of his most vocal and persistent critics. The Senate has not set a date for debate on Bernanke's confirmation, but the Fed chairman's term expires at the end of January.
Mark Kiesel, head of corporate-bond investment at Pacific Investment Management Co., said corporate bonds, particularly specific financial-sector bonds, likely will top Treasuries in 2010. After falling in late 2008, corporate bonds have rallied this year. However, Kiesel cautioned that risks remain.
Trading volume in the stock market dropped steeply last week, while demand for short-term government debt surged. The trend indicates that financial institutions and investors are becoming increasingly cautious as the year draws to a close. The behavior is typical at year-end, but it is occurring earlier than usual because of an unusual confluence of events.
Kenneth Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, said if the bank's directors need additional time to find a replacement, he will consider delaying his Dec. 31 retirement, a source said. The situation highlights the difficulty of finding an executive to run a major financial institution. Lewis said he could help to streamline the transition, but he does not plan to retract his retirement announcement, the source said.