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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

MOODYS DOWNGRADES ABU DHABI COMPANIES
Moody’s downgraded government groups in oil-rich Abu Dhabi on Thursday, after reviewing state-linked entities following neighbouring Dubai’s $22bn debt restructuring.

The troubles at Dubai World, the debt-laden conglomerate owned by Abu Dhabi’s northern neighbour, has rattled financial markets.

OPPOSITION GROWS TO ARGENTINE BANK GOVERNOR
The Argentine central bank chief’s job appeared to be at risk on Thursday as a crisis over the government’s use of reserves to pay off debt snowballed. Opposition parties in Congress, vowed to eject Mercedes Marcó del Pont as governor next week and to overturn a controversial new emergency decree transferring some of the bank’s near record reserves.

CHINA TO COOL RISING DEFENCE SPENDING
China has announced a sharp slowdown in the growth of its official defence budget, a move bolstering Beijing’s argument that fears about the country being a military threat are overstated. This year’s draft defence budget, is 7.5 per cent higher than last year’s budget report.

BRAZIL START-UP EYES $5.6BN PUBLIC OFFERING
OSX Estaleiros, a start-up company aiming to supply ships and other equipment to the oil and gas industry, is to raise up to R$9.9bn ($5.6bn) in the second big Brazilian initial public offering in five months. It is the world’s largest IPO since Santander of Spain listed its Brazilian subsidiary last October, according to Dealogic. OSX, part of the EBX group owned by Eike Batista, a Brazilian billionaire entrepreneur, said it would sell up to 7.44m shares at between R$1,000 and R$1,333.33 each.

THE TIMES

AIG SUBSIDIARIES SETTLE DISCRIMINATION CHARGES
Two subsidiaries of American International Group agreed to at least $6.1 million to settle allegations that they discriminated against African-American borrowers. According to the complaint filed against the companies, AIG Federal Savings Bank and Wilmington Finance Incorporated charged higher fees on wholesale and mortgage loans to African-Americans.

EX CAZENOVE BROKER “SKILLED AT SHARE PICKING”
A lawyer for Malcolm Calvert, who denies 12 counts of insider dealing, said the former Cazenove market maker’s experience combined with widespread press coverage and other public information explained how he had accurately picked six shares that were about to soar on takeover news.

The Daily Telegraph

BRITAIN’S HYDRO-ELECTRIC PROJECTS UNDER THREAT FROM LACK OF FUNDS
Europe's biggest renewable energy producer has withdrawn from the race to build Britain's first wave and tidal plants, as industry warned that marine power needs an extra £200m from taxpayers to be viable.

PSYCHIC SHARE TIPSTER SEAN DAVID MORTON CHARGED WITH FRAUD
Sean David Morton, who was on Thursday charged on a number of counts of securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), raised the funds by telling potential investors he could accurately predict stock market movements using psychic abilities. The SEC alleges he invested half of the money with currency trading firms, while diverting some of the funds, including donating at least $240,000 to a religious body which he ran.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

FIRMS TAP CASH PILES FOR DEALS
American corporations continue to hoard more cash than ever. There are now tentative signs that they are finally comfortable using the money to do some shopping. The 382 nonfinancial firms in the Standard & Poor's 500 that have reported results for the fourth quarter of 2009 are now holding $932 billion in cash and short-term investments.

TREASURY: NO “TOO BIG TO FAIL”
A top Treasury Department official said there is no US government guarantee to protect the largest financial firms as a congressional watchdog criticized the $45 billion in government aid provided to Citigroup. Herbert Allison, yesterday disagreed that some financial firms benefit from the assumption that the government would step in to prevent their failure.