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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Was the price of oil rigged too?

Oil pricesConcerns are growing about the reliability of oil prices, after a report for the G20 found the market is wide open to “manipulation or distortion”. Traders from banks, oil companies or hedge funds have an “incentive” to distort the market and are likely to try to report false prices, it said.

Politicians and fuel campaigners last night urged the Government to expand its inquiry into the Libor scandal to see whether oil prices have also been falsely pushed up.

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24% of senior financial execs consider unethical or illegal conduct needed for success

Sr. execs OK greedJust in case recent headlines didn’t offer a clue, a new study revealed what most people already think: Unethical behavior and illegal business practices seems to be part of a Wall Street job description.

A survey of senior executives at financial firms in the U.S. and the U.K., released Monday, found that nearly a quarter of respondents, or 24%, said they consider engaging in unethical or illegal conduct as a necessary ingredient for success in the financial world.

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Imagining a Universe Without Central Banks

Yesterday, the saints at central banks in China, Europe and the UK said they would perform what could only be a miracle. The world economy wheezes, rattles and shakes because it has been poisoned by too much debt. The central bankers offer a cure — more debt!

The US had no central bank before 1913. It had higher rates of GDP growth back then. It had a stronger currency too — the dollar of 1913 was worth about the same as a dollar of one hundred years earlier. Now, it’s worth about 3 cents…and disappearing fast. On the surface of the argument, it would appear that America’s central bank has actually made things worse. Maybe that is a coincidence; post hoc ergo propter hoc…and all that. But maybe there is a cause and effect relationship. Maybe a central bank CAUSES the economy to produce less wealth…and CAUSES the currency to lose value.

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Barclays will pay $450M for manipulating interest rates

Barclays BankBarclays and its subsidiaries will pay more than $450 million to settle charges that they tried to manipulate interest rates that can affect how much people pay for loans to attend college or buy a house.

Barclays is one of several major banks reportedly under investigation for such violations.

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Wells Fargo May Send Some Jobs to India, Philippines

Wells FargoWells Fargo & Co.the lender looking to trim more than $1.7 billion in quarterly expenses by the end of this year, may move some jobs overseas.

Roles in technology, the retirement division and other business lines could shift to India and the Philippines as part of a companywide review, Bridget Braxton, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based bank, said yesterday. News 14 Carolina reported a review for the retirement business earlier, citing an internal memo from a Wells Fargo executive it didn’t name.

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JPMorgan Chase Gets $14 Billion Per Year In Government Subsidy

JPMorgan CEO Jamie DimonAt least some of the billions of dollars that JPMorgan Chase lost gambling on credit derivatives once belonged to you.

Outraged by Merkley’s impunity, Dimon roared that his bank only took the government’s lousy bailout money and only borrowed at rock-bottom interest rates from the Federal Reserve because the government insisted that it do so, for the sake of appearances and the good of the country. And JPMorgan is the country’s greatest hero, so it had no choice but to accept all of this free money the government was handing out. It certainly did not need it.

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Nokia Slashes 10,000 Jobs

Nokia cuts jobsNokia plans to cut one in five jobs at its global cellphone business as it loses market share to rivals Apple and Samsung and burns through cash, raising new fears over its future.

In a second profit warning in nine weeks, Nokia said on Thursday that its phone business would post a deeper-than-expected loss in the second quarter due to tougher competition.

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