- - Thursday, October 13, 2011

BANKS

JPMorgan’s income drop casts a pall over banks

NEW YORK | If JPMorgan Chase can’t do well, investors worry that other banks may do even worse.

The New York bank, widely considered the strongest in the industry, reported a 4 percent drop in income last quarter on Thursday on weakness in investment banking and more costs related to litigation over mortgage investments.

That bodes poorly for the other big banks - Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley - that are set to report results next week. JPMorgan warned that continued uncertainty in global markets could hurt fourth quarter results, too. Its stock slumped, dragging down other large banks with it.

The New York bank’s third quarter net income dropped 4 percent to $4.26 billion, or $1.02 per share, on revenue of $24.37 billion.

EUROPE

Slovakia OKs expanded eurozone bailout fund

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA | Slovakian lawmakers on Thursday approved expanding the size and powers of the EU bailout fund, overcoming an earlier rejection and removing the last hurdle to the fund’s use as the continent’s main weapon against the debt crisis.

Slovakia is the last of the 17 eurozone nations to approve boosting the bailout fund, called the European Financial Stability Facility. The fund will be able to lend quickly to governments before they are in a full-blown crisis and help them boost banks’ health.

The country’s parliament had rejected the changes to the bailout fund on Tuesday because a junior coalition partner, the Freedom and Solidarity party, was against it. In a desperate effort to force that party to vote in favor, Prime Minister Iveta Radicova tied the vote on the bailout fund to a confidence vote in the government. When the vote failed, her 1-year-old government collapsed.

The main opposition party, Smer-Social Democracy, then agreed to help the outgoing coalition approve the expanded fund in a second vote in exchange for early elections.

Parliament voted Thursday in favor of holding early elections in March, with 143 in favor and 3 against. Just a half hour later, they approved boosting the bailout fund - 114 were in favor. Only 76 votes were needed.

ENERGY

Puerto Rico wind farm to be Caribbean’s largest

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