Good morning

The headlines:

  1. The Chinese suing of Apple over trademarking continues. Now I’ll admit that I’ve developed a certain fascination with this case. Mostly because I admire the Chinese tactics on this: which seem to involve suing Apple for anything and everything. First, Proview was being sued by Apple for trademark infringement over the iPad name. Then Proview sued Apple for trademark infringement over the iPad name. Apple bought the trademark rights from Proview’s Taiwan subsidiary. Proview insists that the Taiwan subsidiary had no right to do so. Proview won a case in the Guangdong (Shenzhen) court. Apple won a case yesterday in the Shanghai court. Proview then sued Apple in California for perniciously hiding its role in the trademark purchase by acquiring the trademark through a special-purpose vehicle. This after it emerged yesterday that Proview is under the control of the Bank of China. It’s like the Bold and the Beautiful for finance kids. And I’ll be honest – I think Proview might win in China. Link: Chinese Firm sues AppleChina’s Trademark System Baffles Foreign Firms.
  2. AIG has posted a 77% increase in profits for the 4th Quarter of 2011. That makes their profit around $19.8 billion. I guess this means that the insurance companies have recovered just in time for the next round of Credit-Default Swaps. But this is quite good news for America in general, because (ironically), AIG is 77% owned by the US Treasury. So hopefully a little profit there will go to fixing some of that giant deficit. Link: AIG posts huge profit.
  3. Bank of America has stopped selling mortgages to Fannie Mae. In the US, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the two mortgage-market makers – these government agencies were initially set up in the 1970s to create liquidity in the mortgage market by buying mortgages from the banks and selling them on as Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) to investors. This allowed the banks to issue more mortgages. Furthermore, as these are federally-sponsored agencies, these particular MBS (also referred to as agency-passthrough securities) have the additional security of some form of government-backing. But mainly, the credit-quality of these MBS is better because the agencies have reasonably strict requirements in relation to the mortgages they will buy. Apparently – Fannie Mae’s requirements have become a little too strict for Bank of America… Link: BofA Halts Routing Mortgages to Fannie Mae.
  4. The wrangling (love that word) over the Australian Prime Minister-ship continues. Gillard and Rudd go head-to-head on Monday. Link: Gillard-Rudd Rift.
  5. The Africa Business News in Brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The key points:
    • Nambia has kept its Repo rate unchanged in response to “frail” economic growth. Let the inflation roll!
    • Kenya’s British American Tobacco has posted a 65% increase in pre-tax profits.
    • South African paper maker Mondi reports a 49% increase in full year profit.
    • Standard Bank announced that it expects its headline earnings per share to be between 18% and 22% higher than this time last year.
    • Nigeria’s gross crude revenues are down by 25% on December – on the back of production outages.
That’s all for now, folks.
Have a great weekend.