"Health test" for US banks; North Korea speeds construction of missile test site; trilateral meeting "mostly symbolic; DRC cuts deal with rebels in Eastern Congo; and more

Top of the Agenda: Leaked Stress Test Results

Market watchers are eagerly awaiting today's release of the results of a series of stress tests the U.S. Treasury has performed to determine the health of the country's largest banks. The Financial Times reports financial stocks soared yesterday on leaked news that the capital needs of the largest U.S. banks, Bank of America and Citigroup, were not as big as some had previously feared.

The FT reports Citi, B of A, and Morgan Stanley will be among the banks forced to raise equity following the tests, while JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and American Express will not need additional capital. The Wall Streeet Journal reports at least seven U.S. banks will be required to raise additional equity and says the tests will effectively draw "a bold line between some of the nation's stronger and weaker banks."

The New York Times reports the release of the stress tests' findings could mark a "turning point" for markets. The Times adds that the fact that some banks need additional money does not necessarily mean that money will come from the government, implying that the period of big bailouts for banks may be over. This, the article says, is assuming the economy doesn't take another turn for the worse, which could potentially lead to further losses at the banks.

Background:

- This Backgrounder explains how stress tests fit into the Treasury's broader plan for creating financial stability.

PACIFIC RIM: North Korea Test Site

The Chosun Ilbo reports North Korea has been speeding up construction of a long-range missile test site, perhaps indicating the country will soon conduct another test launch.

CHINA: Beijing announced some 5,335 students were dead or still missing (Xinhua) following last year's massively destructive earthquake in Sichuan province.

ELSEWHERE:

-U.S., Pakistan, Afghanistan conclude trilateral summit; experts say meetings mostly "symbolic."
- DRC government cuts amnesty deal with rebels in Eastern Congo.

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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