Global Glance: Italian bank Monte Paschi edges closer to bailout; Exisiting US home sales reach highest since 2007

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Trump picks China hawk to lead new White House trade council

WASHINGTON (AP) — In another sign that he intends to shake up relations with China, President-elect Donald Trump named economist Peter Navarro to lead a newly created White House council on trade. The University of California-Irvine professor, who advised Trump during the campaign, has sharply criticized China’s economic and military policies in books and videos. In addition to leading the new White House National Trade Council, Navarro will be director of trade and industrial policy. Read more

Italian bank Monte Paschi edges closer to state bailout

MILAN (AP) — Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena edged closer to a state bailout Thursday as its capital raising efforts are falling short of the 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) needed to stay afloat. The bank announced overnight that its attempt to swap debt for equity had netted just 2.45 billion euros, and that it had failed to secure an anchor investor. The bank is expected to announce by Friday if it is able to plug the gap. Read more

Existing US home sales reach highest since February 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought homes in November in the fastest pace in nearly a decade. But rising mortgage rates, a deepening shortage of houses and higher prices are likely to weigh on the market next year. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million. That was up from a downwardly revised 5.57 million in October and the highest since sales hit a 5.79 million pace in February 2007. Sales were up 15 percent from a year earlier. Read more

Honda, Google in talks on self-driving vehicle partnership

DETROIT (AP) — Honda is in talks with Google to install the tech company’s self-driving technology in Honda vehicles. Honda says collaboration with the Google unit called Waymo would let researchers learn about integration of sensors, software and computers. The automaker says that if a deal is reached, it will provide vehicles to Waymo that are modified to handle the technology. The Hondas would join Waymo’s fleet that includes Lexus SUVs and Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Read more

Brazilian companies ordered to pay combined $3.5B in bribery case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht and major petrochemical company Braskem have agreed to pay a combined penalty of at least $3.5 billion to settle allegations that they bribed government officials in a dozen countries around the world, U.S. authorities said Wednesday. The Brazilian corporations admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, money that law enforcement officials say was authorized at the highest corporate levels and was concealed through shell companies and offshore entities. Both companies have pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges in federal court in New York and have resolved charges from the authorities in Brazil, Switzerland and the U.S. Read more

Goldman ordered to pay $120M to settle manipulation charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Goldman Sachs has been ordered to pay $120 million to settle federal regulators’ charges that it deliberately manipulated a global benchmark for interest-rate swaps to its advantage. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that several Goldman traders, including the head of the bank’s Interest Rate Products Trading Group in the U.S., used trades and false reports to manipulate the benchmark between 2007 and 2012. Read more

Obama helped bring back economy; restless voters chose Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will leave behind an economy far stronger than the one he inherited. Unemployment is 4.6 percent, a nine-year low. Stocks keep ascending to new highs. An additional 20.2 million Americans have health insurance coverage. The nation has shifted toward cleaner energy sources: natural gas, wind and solar. But those achievements have yet to erase the scars of the 2008 financial crisis. Polling after the November election showed that nearly two-thirds of voters described the economy as “not so good” or “poor.” Those voters chose to pass the presidency to Donald Trump, a Republican who railed against a weak economy and promised to unwind many of Obama’s policies. Read more

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