Worries about Cyprus' plans to raid depositors' accounts to pay for a bank bailout are outweighing fresh signs of a housing rebound. Stocks got off to a positive start this morning on news that U.S. builders broke ground and sought permits for new homes at the fastest pace in 4 ½ years. But with the uproar in Cyprus still unresolved, investors' outlook has darkened. The Dow was off about 40 points in afternoon trading.
- The Cypriot speaker of the house says a parliamentary vote on a plan to seize part of bank deposits will go ahead as scheduled today, despite a request by the governing party for a delay. The government's plan to dip directly into Cypriot bank accounts in order to contribute $7.5 billion to an international bank bailout has caused an uproar. The government has amended the plan to shield small savers with less than $26,000 in the bank.
- European Union officials say they have reached an agreement on the laws establishing a centralized banking supervisor. It will lay the groundwork for a common deposit insurance scheme and an EU banking authority with powers to dissolve or rescue financial institutions. The effort is aimed at stabilizing the EU's financial system, which has been shaken again this week by the crisis over Cyprus' bank bailout.
- The Supreme Court has sided with a Thai graduate student in the U.S. who sold cheap foreign versions of textbooks on eBay without the publisher's permission. The justices, in a 6-3 vote, threw out a copyright infringement award to publisher John Wiley & Sons. The student used eBay to resell books that his relatives first bought abroad at cut-rate prices. Justice Stephen Breyer said in his opinion for the court that the publisher lost any ability to control what happens to its books after their first sale abroad.
- If there was any doubt, it appears Twinkies will live on. A bankruptcy judge has approved Hostess Brands' sale of the spongy yellow cakes, along with other snacks including Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, to a pair of investment firms for $410 million. One of those firms says it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by this summer. The judge also approved the sale of Wonder bread to Flowers Foods, which makes Tastykakes.