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Friday Afternoon Business Brief

January 13, 2012, 1:28 PM

Friday Afternoon Business Brief
Stock prices have been stuck in negative territory today. Investors are concerned about the latest turns in Europe's financial crisis. The key averages were down less than 1 percent.
  • France's Finance Ministry says Standard and Poor's has cut the country's debt rating by one point to AA. Concerns that the move was coming along with downgrades for other European countries has pushed the euro to its lowest level in 17 months. The currency dropped 1.3 percent against the dollar to $1.26. Meanwhile, borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, two countries at the center of the region's debt crisis, increased.
  • Crucial negotiations between the Greek government and its private creditors on a bond swap deal needed to avoid default appear close to collapse. The deal, known as the Private Sector Involvement, aims to reduce Greece's debt by $128 billion by swapping private creditors' bonds with new ones with a lower value.
  • JPMorgan Chase says it set aside $528 million in the last three months of 2011 to fight lawsuits. It also spent $925 million in the fourth quarter to carry out foreclosures and handle mortgage defaults.
  • Shares of Eastman Kodak are falling sharply amid renewed fears that the embattled photography pioneer is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. There's been no comment on a Bloomberg report that the New York bank is in talks to provide Kodak bankruptcy financing.

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