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90 seconds at 9 am: Bipartisan US call for tax increases on wealthy; Dow up 1%; good EU PMIs; Greece corruption; Citigroup to cut 11,000 jobs

90 seconds at 9 am: Bipartisan US call for tax increases on wealthy; Dow up 1%; good EU PMIs; Greece corruption; Citigroup to cut 11,000 jobs

Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news US fiscal cliff negotiations are taking an unexpected turn.

A few dozen Republicans have joined a bipartisan call to break the impasse between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner over taxes for the highest- earning Americans. Kay Granger of Texas said that agreeing to Obama’s demand to extend tax cuts for top earners, is “just the right thing to do.” The Republicans signed a letter calling for exploration of “all options” on taxes and entitlement programs, a signal that some rank-and-file members are ready to bargain.

Wall Street is rallying. The Dow is up 1% in mid-day trade. Gold however has taken another hit overnight and has fallen below US$1,700/oz.

In Europe overnight, stronger than expected PMI surveys helped their markets withstand the effects of a relatively weak Spanish auction bond auction.

Greece has scored the worst ranking of all 27 European Union nations in Transparency International's index of state sector corruption, falling below ex-communist Bulgaria as public anger about graft soars during the country's crisis. No wonder the Germans have driven a hard bargain. But people in Finland, Denmark and New Zealand think their public service is the least corrupt in the world, according to these rankings. Australia ranks 7th, the UK and US 17th. China ranks 80th and this is undoubtedly one reason the authorities there have moved to combat land seizures from the nation's 650 million farmers, a move that could ease a major source of social unrest.

Back in the US, Citigroup said it will eliminate 11,000 jobs, about 4% of its work force, and take a $1 billion fourth-quarter charge. Private-sector hiring took a hit in November due to the impact of storm Sandy in the northeastern US but the country's huge services sector continued to expand.

In New Zealand, all eyes will be on Governor Wheeler who reviews the OCR today and fronts up to MPs in a Select Committee hearing early afternoon. Bernard Hickey and Alex Tarrant will be covering this in full from 9am today.

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Somewhere (MaxedOutMama, prolly) I do recall the sobering stat that even if'n ya Confiscated the entire wealth of the 1% - a once-off 100% tax rate, it wouldn't make a dent in the US state of red ink.
So they'll simply print their way out, keep our $ at perma-30% high mark, and pull back from military adventures, policing of world-wide shipping lanes, and the like.
You'll miss 'em when they're gone.....

Talking of MoM, she's a Mom Bear after watching US rail and truck could it be the 'markets' just got a temporary EOM goosing from the algo's, and someone's taken the bait?  (which of course will be Switched soon enough).

Hmmm , it looks like Mayor Bob's deconstruction crew have finished with Christchurch , and are now spreading their talents to the historic buildings of France ....
... at the very least , they left the owner with something to go on ....

Gummy; You're back! We'd thought maybe you were dead or retired from 
You were missed by all. 

Cheers Amanda : I thought I was dead too , but it turned out that  it was only rumours spread about by my enemies .. .
.... ..I  seriously must stop listening to those guys ..... Gotta fill in the hole I dug  , bugger ...

Interesting story that says a lot about the current state of the French economy.  A chateau owned by a Russian and demolished by Polish builders.  You couldn't make this stuff up!

I'm not usually a sucker for conspiracy theories , but there is this niggly-naggly thought bobbing about in the Gummy brain-cell that the Poles were exacting some revenge upon their former overlords , the Russians ....
...... or meebee Archie Bunker was right after all , about the " meat-heads ! "

Days to the General Election: 20
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.