According to The Wall Street Journals "Heard on the Street" column, after watching interest rates rise for 2 years, a growing number of Americans are transferring their money into high-yielding bank accounts, a trend that is taking its toll on the nation's regional banks. As financial institutions gear up for quarterly earnings reports this month, a number of them have warned investors and Wall St. analysts that results will be hurt by rising rates. And part of the blame is being placed on consumers and businesses who are moving funds from traditional low-interest-bearing accounts to online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and other bank products that are sporting annual rates of more than 5%. "We seem to have passed some threshold between 4.75% and 5% where the depositors' attention is focused on the costs associated with not moving their accounts," says Gary Townsend, of FBR. Stocks mentioned include: CYN, NCC, FITB, CBH, C, CBCF and RBNC.
According to the WSJ, Kraft Foods (KFT) is set to acquire a part of United Biscuits of the UK, in a deal that will give the co control of brands like Ritz crackers in Europe. The largely noncash transaction will be valued at $1.1bn, including Kraft's assumption of some debt and the return of its 25% stake in United Biscuits back to the co.
Barron's Online reports that National Amusements purchased 125K Midway Games (MWY) shares for $968K two weeks ago. Since then, National Amusements has made 3 additional purchases, paying $1.2m for 129K shares on Wednesday, $433K for 40K shares on Thursday, and $166K for 15K shares Friday.