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Standard & Poor's Lowers Illinois Credit Rating Lowered Over Pensions

August 30, 2012

Standard and Poor's ratings service lowered the state of Illinois' rating a notch on Wednesday, citing continuing pension problems. "The aggravating thing is we saw it coming. Don't have the political will. Cost taxpayers," Brian Battle, Performance Trust, said. The move was expected after lawmakers failed to come up with a pension reform plan at a special session in Springfield earlier this month.

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S&P Lowers Illinois Credit Ratings Over Pensions

August 29, 2012
The Associated Press

Stubborn pension problems and government gridlock earned Illinois another reduction in its credit rating Wednesday, potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Illinois may have to pay an additional $1.5 million annually for each $100 million it borrows for public works projects, said Brian Battle, director of trading at Chicago's Performance Trust Capital Partners. With Illinois selling hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of bonds each year, the extra interest cost could hit $15 million, he said.

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U.S. Small/Midcaps – Shares dip as Japanese data spurs economy fears

August 22, 2012

Japan reported its exports slumped the most in six months in July as shipments to Europe and China tumbled, adding to concerns over global demand. "The export numbers were terrible, reinforcing the idea that all isn't well in the economy," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. "We've had a slow, grinding rally and this takes the wind out of our sales and gives investors a reason to step back."

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Dodd-Frank Credit Rating Regs Complicate Investment Analysis, Cut into Yield

August 20, 2012
Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Prior to the recession, too many banks were far too reliant on credit rating agency ratings when making decisions about investments. That, at least, is the idea behind the provision in Dodd-Frank that now prohibits banks from making investment decisions armed with little more than an S&P rating and a hunch. Dodd-Frank requirements for independent analysis will be hard for community bankers to manage on their own, says Richard Berg, CEO of Performance Trust, Chicago. “The standard is very high and fairly arbitrary [to vet investments],” he says.

Stocks Jump; Cisco Soars 10%; Facebook Down 6%

August 16, 2012

Weekly jobless claims rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 366,000, according to the Labor Department, in line with expectations. And housing starts unexpectedly fell in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 746,000 units, while gains from June were revised lower, according to the Commerce Department. (Read More: Homebuilders Begin to See Credit Thaw). “It’s been a mixed bag of economic news, but not bad enough for the Fed to move so we’re bumping along,” said Brian Battle, vice president of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. “Good news is that we’re not getting worse.”

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