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Morning Market Roundup: Detroit Makes its Deadline, Greek Bond Swaps, Retailers With Good News


Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

U.S.: Detroit had until today to come up with a rescue package before Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed an “emergency manager” to take over the city’s day-to-day operations, The Blaze reported yesterday.

Well, the city council finally agreed on something.

A contentious and much-debated agreement with the state on fixing the city's finances comes with stiff requirements that still could land Detroit under state receivership if certain reporting timelines are late or unmet.

But it also creates a partnership that promises better services for the city's suffering residents.

The document was approved Wednesday by a financial review team and a fractured City Council. Once signed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing, the deal goes into effect.

Although many of the details are unclear, the agreement lets Bing and the council keep authority over the city's finances and budget. However, they would be required to renegotiate recently ratified union concessions and share decision-making with a newly hired project manager and chief financial officer. A nine-member board would monitor the city's fiscal restructuring.

The nine-member financial advisory board will monitor how Detroit manages its limited resources and report back to the state. It also will make recommendations to the mayor and help the city in preparing its 3-year budget.

"This is not a panacea. This is not going to be a quick fix," Council President Charles Pugh said. "We're going to have to do more cutting."

EU: Greece on Thursday extended to April 20 the deadline for a last batch of private investors who own some €8 billion ($10.5 billion) worth of its bonds to voluntarily join a massive swap deal and accept a deep cut in the value of their holdings.

If exchanged, the swaps will complete the biggest debt writedown in history, forgiving crisis-hit Greece just over half its €205 billion ($271.5 billion) debt held by banks, pension funds and other private investors.

The final collection of bonds are regulated under foreign law and their owners had either earlier rejected the deal or postponed a decision in the hope of a better deal.

Greece has warned that holdouts cannot expect better terms than other investors who have agreed to take part in the swap.

A finance ministry statement Thursday said that on April 11 Greece will complete the exchange for another €20.3 billion ($26.7 billion) worth of foreign law bonds.

Retail: Retailers are reporting warm weather and demand for new spring fashions helped push March sales up, according to the Associated Press.

Target Corp, Macy's, Limited Brands Inc., which owns Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works, and outdoor sports retailer Zumiez reported better-than-expected sales for March.

Still, there were some patches of weakness as worry over high gas prices and unemployment kept some spending muted.

Teen retailers The Buckle and Wet Seal missed expectations. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s results also came in just shy of expectations as currency fluctuations hurt sales.

The figures are based on revenue at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health. Economists closely watch consumer spending since it accounts for more than 70 percent of all economic activity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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