By Jessica Toonkel and Ashley Lau NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may strip Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc and State Street Corp, the oldest and biggest providers of exchange-traded funds, of an advantage they hold over newer rivals in how they assemble the shares of their funds, said sources familiar with the SEC. ETFs are typically funds whose holdings are meant to mimic the performance of an index. To do that, the SEC has said the securities used to create shares in most funds must be the same ones as in the fund’s portfolio unless there was a change in the index the fund tracks. This greater flexibility makes it easier and cheaper to run the older funds, and harder for newer entrants into the market such as Northern Trust, Van Eck Global and Charles Schwab Corp to compete.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva for talks on the Ukraine crisis Monday, less than a week after accusing Moscow of lying to his face over the conflict. High-stakes talks between Kiev and Moscow are also set to get under way Monday aimed at resolving a bitter gas dispute which threatens deliveries to Europe, after Russia began direct supplies to parts of separatist-held eastern Ukraine. As relative quiet held on Ukraine's frontlines, Russia's foreign minister looked set for tense discussions with Kerry, who last week said Moscow officials had engaged in a "propaganda" campaign and lied "to my face" over supplying troops or weapons to rebels.
Ireland go into Tuesday's World Cup clash against South Africa in Canberra faced with a question that even fanciful Test nations have struggled to find an answer for. How does one tame the rampaging AB de Villiers before he destroys the rivals' bowling attack, dents their morale and leaves them dumbstruck by what just hit them? The West Indies once more suffered at the hands of the South African captain who, despite a stomach illness, smashed an audacious 162 off 66 balls with 17 boundaries and eight sixes in Sydney on Friday to fashion a 257-run win. It was against the same team that de Villers smashed the fastest one-day century off 31 balls at home in January, prompting former Australian dasher Adam Gilchrist to call him the "most valuable cricketer on the planet." The Proteas, one of the pre-tournament favourites, needed the brutal attack by their 31-year-old captain to steady the ship after they were stunned by India by 130 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground a week ago.
Britain's Prince William met China's Communist President Xi Jinping on Monday before strolling through the Forbidden City, the former home of the country's deposed imperial dynasties. Xi warmly welcomed the second-in-line to the British throne, making the highest-profile visit to China by a member of the royal family since Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip in 1986. William was met by the Chinese leader on the first full day of a trip which comes as London and Beijing have traded diplomatic barbs over pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, a former British colony. "It's been a long interest of mine for many years to come and visit China," he told Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
China's manufacturing activity in February improved more than initially thought, HSBC said on Monday, but weakening foreign demand and declining prices signalled the world's second-largest economy still faces multiple woes. The index, compiled by information services provider Markit, tracks activity in China's factories and workshops and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the Asian economic giant. The National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday said China's official PMI showed contraction for the second straight month in February, coming in at 49.9, a marginal improvement from January's 49.8. Analysts have said HSBC's survey is more weighted towards small exporters while the official one looks to larger companies.
Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers handed themselves in to police Monday over their involvement in mass protests for free elections, the latest step in a widespread investigation which has been accused of intimidation. Albert Ho and Helena Wong, both of the Democratic Party, turned themselves in at Wan Chai police headquarters on Monday morning after being requested to attend. "We Hongkongers who have tried to fight for true democracy are not the ones who have done something wrong... it is the ridiculous Hong Kong and Chinese governments taking away our democratic nominations," Wong said before she went inside. The street protests which began in September and lasted for more than two months were sparked after Beijing said that candidates for the 2017 vote for Hong Kong's next leader would be vetted by a loyalist committee.
Not all of the seven who point to June vote this year on the Fed's ten-member policy setting committee, but all participate in policy discussions. The Fed is likely at its March 17th and 18th policy meeting to remove language saying the central bank will take a "patient" approach to raising rates, taking away the final verbal constraint to a June rate hike, current and former Fed officials say. "It's likely they remove 'patient' in March," said David Stockton, a former Fed research director now at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "Even if Yellen might not, left to her own devices, be ready to move on rates, there is probably a growing sentiment that the time is getting closer." The use of the word "patient" signals that the Fed would wait at least two more meetings before considering a rate hike. If the Fed later this month says it remains patient, then a June increase is off the table, likely pushing the decision to September when the Fed is scheduled to hold a press conference after its meeting. Stockton said he personally expects a September liftoff.
By Jason Szep JUPITER, Florida (Reuters) - In October 2003, Jeb Bush unveiled one of the largest economic projects in Florida history: a $500 million plan to bring Scripps Research Institute to the state and build a biomedical hub he said would generate nearly 50,000 jobs in 15 years. As governor, he described it as a "seminal moment,” comparable to Walt Disney World's arrival in Florida in 1971, which brought billions of dollars in tourism, spawned tens of thousands of jobs, transformed the economy and created the world’s most-visited vacation resort. Today, as Bush leads possible Republican candidates in the 2016 race for the U.S. presidency, the missed projections and mixed results of his signature economic policy as governor — a biotechnology gamble that has yet to pay off — illustrate problems he could face in explaining his own record while promoting a vision of “real conservative success." By nearly all measures, the plan to transform bedroom communities into biotech corridors by attracting Scripps and other research institutes has fallen short of expectations, despite $1.3 billion in state, city and county funding.