Church May Bless Cyprus Bailout

Mar 20, 2013 9:40am

Morning Business Memo…

The worst-case outlook for Cyprus is very messy indeed with a potential collapse of the nation’s banks and financial fallout for Europe. But after three days of losses, European stock markets are up today as most analysts agree that it’s likely some sort of fix will be cobbled together. A proposed tax on depositors as part of a bailout deal for Cyprus banks provoked outrage from the public. Members of the Cypriot Parliament rejected the government’s bank rescue agreement without a single vote in favor. Unless an alternative is found Cyprus could be forced out of the Eurozone. The Cyprus government and central bank are working on an alternative proposal to come up with billions of euros to stave off bankruptcy.

Russia could be asked to contribute more money to the bailout of Cypriot banks. Many Russian investors put their money there. And help might come from a higher power. The Orthodox church says it will put its assets at the country’s disposal. The church has considerable wealth, including property and stakes in a bank and a brewery. The archbishop says he’s willing to mortgage those assets to invest in government bonds.

By almost any measure Ben Bernanke has been a friend for the stock market. The recent rise in stock averages has been partially fueled by the Fed’s policy of forcing down bond rates and making conservative “safe” investments less attractive to investors. Later today the Fed will end a meeting with a policy statement and updated economic forecasts. Bernanke and other officials are expected to maintain their resolve to keep borrowing costs at record lows despite signs that the economy is improving.

When you’re looking for a job – especially if it’s with a small business – a quick response to a new vacancy can make a real difference. As soon as a job is posted the clock is ticking. “Really one of the interesting things that we found is that timing really matters,” says Pablo Fuentes CEO and founder of the jobs search app Proven. “If you respond within two hours you have about a 75 percent chance of a response.” But that percentage falls off over time. “If you respond more than two days after the job posting goes live that response goes down to the high 50′s.” Proven has a smartphone app that aims to make job searching faster. “Five years from now it’s impossible for us to imagine that most job applications are not happening through some sort of mobile device,” says Fuentes.

Carnival Cruise Lines says the Carnival Triumph, crippled by an engine fire in the Gulf of Mexico last month leaving 4,200 people stranded for five days, will be out of service longer than initially expected. The ship is now expected to return to service June 13, meaning an additional 10 cruises will be canceled. Guests on the affected voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable transportation costs and a 25 percent discount on a future four- to five-day cruise. The cruise ship Carnival Sunshine, which is undergoing a scheduled full-ship makeover, will return to service May 5, following the cancellation of two European cruises.

A broad-based cyber attack in South Korea. Police are investigating the simultaneous shutdown Wednesday of computer networks at several major broadcasters and banks. While the cause wasn’t immediately clear, speculation centered on a possible North Korean cyber attack. Recently the North blamed South Korea and the United States for cyber attacks that temporarily shut down websites in Pyongyang.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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