|Bid||28.05 x 1000|
|Ask||28.05 x 4000|
|Day's range||28.00 - 28.61|
|52-week range||22.66 - 31.91|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.66|
|PE ratio (TTM)||10.44|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.60 (2.12%)|
|1y target est||N/A|
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said his firm has “more to gain than anybody” from the booming trend of non-cash transactions.
Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Conference on June 19, Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan spoke in support of a cashless society. He said that the second-largest bank in the US has “more to gain than anybody” from such a scenario.
In order to revive sales of franchises that have been negatively impacted by Papa John's (PZZA) dismal sales trend, it extends advisory support to domestic franchises.
The annual stress-test report cards for large U.S. financial companies are due out Friday. The consensus is that the banks are largely well-capitalized.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Faced with an extraordinarily difficult situation, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave bond traders exactly what they wanted in the central bank’s latest monetary policy decision.While the Fed left its benchmark lending rate unchanged in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, changes to language in the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement, like removing the word “patient” and pledging to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” pointed to reducing interest rates in the near future. One voting member, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, even dissented in favor of a cut. On top of that, the “dot plot” showed the median projection among policy makers was for lowering interest rates at some point before the end of 2020. The reaction in the world’s biggest bond market was swift, even though a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released Tuesday found that being long U.S. Treasuries has become the world’s most-crowded trade for the first time ever. Two-year U.S. yields dropped 10 basis points after the announcement to 1.76%. The day of the Fed’s last meeting, it was 2.3%. Benchmark 10-year yields also fell toward the 2% level, which hasn’t been breached since around the time Donald Trump was elected president. The yield curve steepened sharply.On top of validating dovish wagers among bond traders, who had priced in 2.5 cuts for 2019 ahead of the decision, the Fed’s latest shift is also a victory for Trump, who has been pounding the table for lower interest rates and whose White House, as Bloomberg News reported, in February explored the legality of demoting Powell. (He said “let’s see what he does” when asked later on Tuesday if he still wants to demote him.)This is probably not the outcome that Powell wanted but the one he felt he had little choice but to deliver. Just consider what has happened since the last Fed member spoke on June 7, before its blackout period began.June 7: The May jobs report showed nonfarm payrolls rose 75,000, missing all estimates in a Bloomberg survey, with the unemployment rate steady at 3.6%. June 7: Trump tweeted that tariffs on Mexican goods, which sparked a massive flight-to-quality trade in Treasuries, were “indefinitely suspended.” June 12: Consumer price index data missed estimates. June 14: Retail sales were stronger than expected, while the University of Michigan's gauge of expected inflation fell to an unprecedented low. June 17: The New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Index plunged in June by the most on record. June 18: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi promised that officials are ready with stimulus if needed. June 18: The S&P 500 came within 0.8% of a record high.This is a decidedly mixed bag. The labor market remains strong but is slowing from its breakneck pace. Inflation is at risk of persistently undershooting the Fed’s target. Business confidence is weakening, though consumers are resilient. And central banks around the globe are shifting to easier policy in anticipation of slower growth ahead. The Fed’s own updated projections reflect this murky outlook: Growth is now seen as higher in 2020, at 2%, while officials predict inflation will be lower than they thought in the coming year and a half. Powell took the path of least resistance. Just as the first rule of bond trading is “don’t fight the Fed,” one mantra of heading up the central bank could well be summarized as “don’t fight the markets.” He made abundantly clear that officials have had a “significant” change in their outlook relative to earlier this year, as evidenced by the adjusted FOMC statement. I wrote earlier this week that this Fed decision would show if the markets broke Powell. It’s possible that already happened in late December, when stocks were in freefall and Trump privately discussed firing his pick to lead the central bank. In what’s known as the “Powell pivot,” in early January he backed off from his previously firm stance that the balance-sheet runoff would continue on “automatic pilot” and went from shrugging off “a little bit of volatility” to assuring investors that he was attuned to the market’s concerns about downside risks.Bond traders, meanwhile, can quickly move on from debating whether the Fed will lower interest rates this year to when those cuts will begin. Policy makers left themselves some room to maneuver, but not much. In fact, the updated 2019 dot was close to forecasting an interest-rate reduction. After capitulating to markets this time, it would seem as if July is definitely in play. Fed funds futures indicate a cut next month is a near certainty.“They’re delivering on and above market expectations,” Jeffrey Rosenberg, systematic fixed-income senior portfolio manager at BlackRock Inc., said on Bloomberg TV. “The markets will now expect action in July,” added Michael Gapen at Barclays Plc.It’s regrettable that Powell didn’t show more backbone. Sure, his overarching goal is to sustain the economic expansion, and it’s clear that the data isn’t as strong as it was during the zenith of the tightening cycle. But that’s to be expected at this point, a decade after the recession ended and amid some self-inflicted pain on the trade front.This is a crucial time for the Fed and for monetary policy in general. Given that the ECB and Bank of Japan haven’t managed to wean their economies off extraordinary stimulus measures, it raises tough questions about whether central banks are doing more harm than good with what appears to be a tendency to prop up markets at every turn. Powell did a better job than his predecessor at staying the course, but he has proved willing to capitulate at most turns in 2019.Powell has advantages that his counterparts don’t, including a stronger domestic economy and a policy rate that has increased eight times since December 2016. He at least has a bit of room to try an “insurance cut” to keep the good times going.But fractionally lower interest rates aren’t going to magically fix the U.S.-China trade tensions nor provide the spark needed to lift inflation or encourage vast business investment. It serves mostly as a signal to Wall Street that the Fed knows its cues. Powell can only hope that the short-term high will be worth it in the long run.To contact the author of this story: Brian Chappatta at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Some analysts have started to price in "insurance cuts," which means they are expecting the Fed to cut rates right before a downturn in order to save the economy.
Wells Fargo & Co was dismissed as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, which accused large banks of conspiring to inflate interest rates for variable-rate demand obligations (VRDO), a type of tax-exempt bond. Other Wells Fargo entities remain defendants. Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co were previously dismissed from the case, though affiliates of those banks remain defendants, according to court records.
Wells Fargo & Co was dismissed as a defendant in a lawsuit by the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, which accused large banks of conspiring to inflate interest rates for variable-rate demand obligations, a type of tax-exempt bond. The dismissal came after Wells Fargo represented that it did not remarket, provide letters of credit for, or manage money market funds that invested in the bonds, according to a Tuesday filing in Manhattan federal court. JPMorgan Chase & Co and Fifth Third Bancorp were previously dismissed as defendants.
Shares of Bank of America Corp. gained 0.4% in premarket trading Tuesday, after a bullish call from BMO Capital analyst James Fotheringham, who said Street expectations and valuations "look too low." Fotheringham raised his rating to outperform, after being at market perform for at least the past three years, while keeping his price target at $37, which is 33% above Monday's stock closing price of $27.93. Fotheringham said about one-third of the potential upside to his price target is based on expected upward revisions of consensus earnings expectations, on the back of higher fees and share repurchases and lower tax rates. The remaining two-thirds of the potential gain is from an expected "rerating" of price-to-earnings valuations, given that the stock is currently trading at a 15% discount to average valuations that have historically been seen during benign economic conditions. He said even if the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, an increase in consensus earnings expectations should more than offset any dilution to net interest margin. The FactSet 2019 EPS consensus of $2.85 is down from $2.90 at the end of March, but is up from $2.61 a year ago. The stock has lost 6.3% over the past three months, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has edged up 0.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 2.0%.
In the latest trading session, Bank of America (BAC) closed at $27.93, marking a -0.39% move from the previous day.
(Bloomberg) -- Like masterpieces by Van Gogh, Picasso and Rothko, the storied auction house Sotheby’s is slipping into wealthy private hands, in a $2.7 billion deal that will reshape the global art market.Billionaire Patrick Drahi agreed to buy the 275-year-old firm, ending Sotheby’s three decades as a public company. Drahi, a disciple of media mogul John Malone, is seizing on the upheavals that have shaken the centuries-old auction model.The deal announced Monday pulls the inner workings of the art market even deeper into the shadows. As a private company, Sotheby’s will no longer be required to disclose quarterly results, which had put it at a competitive disadvantage compared with arch-rival Christie’s, owned by another French billionaire, Francois Pinault. Those periodic reports also provided a “public bellwether” for the art market with insight into margins, executive compensation, strategy, capital allocation and the stock’s reaction to major economic and political forces, said Evan Beard, an art-service executive at Bank of America Corp.“That all goes underground now,” Beard said. “It’s a transparency shift."Investors including Dan Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund, Sotheby’s second-biggest shareholder, will receive $57 in cash for each share of Sotheby’s common stock, the New York-based auction house said Monday in a statement. The offer represents a 61% premium to Friday’s closing price.Sotheby’s shares had dropped 40% in the past year as the company grappled with higher costs and shrinking margins even as masterpieces and contemporary works set auction records. Drahi, 55, is chairman of Altice Europe NV, a publicly traded telecommunications firm with more than 30 million customers. He’s worth $8.6 billion and the sixth-richest person in France, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index."It’s a trophy acquisition," said Franck Prazan, owner of Applicat-Prazan gallery, who was a managing director at Christie’s France when Pinault bought the company. “These auction houses aren’t really meant to be publicly traded, and they’re better off being owned by a personal fortune. The profitability of a publicly traded auction house is extremely volatile.”Bold dealmaking is well in character for Drahi, who single-handedly built a global telecom behemoth in the span of two decades through relentless acquisitions and an embrace of debt. The Moroccan-born Frenchman, who’s also an Israeli citizen, is said to have proposed to his wife within an hour of meeting her. He harbored ambitions of one day running a global company. Realizing that goal could take decades to materialize if he stayed on the corporate track, he quit his first job with a Dutch satellite firm and founded his own cable businesses with the help of a student loan.Cutthroat CompetitionIn 2016, in a $17.8 billion deal, Altice acquired Cablevision Systems Corp., where Sotheby’s Chief Executive Officer Tad Smith honed his managerial skills before taking the reins at Madison Square Garden Co.Altice Europe’s main asset is SFR, a French telecommunications company. The business is finally returning to growth after years of customer losses amid cutthroat competition. Shares of Altice Europe have advanced about 70% this year, though they remain more than 50% below their 2015 peak.Drahi’s takeover would mean that French citizens will own the world’s two major auction houses. Pinault, the founder of Paris-based luxury goods giant Kering SA, initially acquired a stake in Christie’s two decades ago from British billionaire Joe Lewis.“It was ripe for Sotheby’s to go private,” said former Christie’s executive Philip Hoffman, now CEO of the Fine Art Group. “Christie’s has more advantages being run privately and not having public quarterly reporting that puts pressure on their ability to do deals.”The branding potential of Sotheby’s had attracted investors including Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund is the second-largest shareholder, with a 14.3% stake.Loeb joined the board in 2014 after a bitter proxy fight, and senior managers were replaced soon after. Investments in technology and advisory services followed -- as well as significant milestones, such as the sale of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting for $110 million in 2017. Still, Sotheby’s has consistently trailed Christie’s in annual sales.“Today’s sale price affirms the value we saw when we first invested in Sotheby’s, and rewards long-term investors like Third Point who believed in its potential,” Loeb said Monday in a email.To contact the reporters on this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at email@example.com;Angelina Rascouet in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org;Devon Pendleton in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Alan Goldstein at email@example.com, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Two weeks after scrapping their overweight recommendation for equities, Credit Suisse Group AG strategists are saying that the risks are now tilted to the upside.“On balance, we think there is more risk of a ‘melt-up’ than a meltdown, and find that we are more positive than most of the clients we meet,” analysts led by Andrew Garthwaite said in a note to clients on Monday.To be fair, the strategists expect the MSCI All Country World Index to rise just 6% by year-end and hesitate to make a stronger call until there’s more clarity surrounding trade talks, economic data and earnings revisions. But softer monetary policy in addition to a bet that earnings growth will recover is making Credit Suisse optimistic that equities can go higher.The analysts said that many investors may be undervaluing stocks as more than 40% of clients it surveyed in May didn’t pay attention to the appeal of valuations based on so-called equity risk premium. That’s the potential excess return for investing in shares over risk-free assets. According to the broker, equity valuations are “much more attractive” from a risk premium perspective rather than from a price-to-earnings standpoint.Credit Suisse joins the likes of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which on Friday said that investors’ short positioning and exodus from stocks, which has reached about $152 billion this year, is a contrarian bullish indicator. Since the Swiss broker removed its tactical overweight on stocks in early June, global equities have gained 3.7% as traders embraced the U.S. Federal Reserve’s openness to rate cuts.Haven SearchAt the same time, the rally in defensive shares has continued this month along with bond fund inflows, signaling that investors are searching for havens. This week should provide more clarity on the market’s direction as the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England all set monetary policy.Meanwhile, friction between the U.S. and Iran, clashes in Hong Kong and uncertainty over a G-20 meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping mean that the gains in stocks stand on thin ice.But for now, the Swiss broker recommends playing the upside risk by being overweight European non-financial cyclicals, which suffer from bearish economic growth predictions, as well as U.S. growth stocks. Both asset classes tend to outperform most of the time when the Federal Reserve cuts rates, Credit Suisse said.\--With assistance from James Cone.To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Blaise Robinson at email@example.com, Jon Menon, Paul JarvisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Some researchers boosted forecasts for second-quarter economic growth following the reports. Less upbeat numbers for payrolls and inflation in the past week led many investors to increase bets that the Fed will lower borrowing costs in the next couple of months. “Today’s report was a bit of relief for the Fed. It takes out a sense of urgency for them to act,” Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America Corp., said after the retail figures.
(Bloomberg) -- Wall Street was feeling pretty good about Broadcom Inc. in mid-March as its semiconductor business appeared to be turning the corner and Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan saw “meaningful growth” in the second half of the year.A lot has changed since then.Trade relations between the U.S. and China have soured. One of Broadcom’s biggest customers was banned from buying American components. Spending on data centers has remained sluggish. So the big question on analysts’ minds heading into Thursday’s post-market earnings report is whether Tan’s prediction for the latter part of 2019 remains intact.In the past four weeks, the average analyst estimate for third-quarter revenue fell by about $50 million to $6.1 billion, while expectations for adjusted profit fell by 5 cents to $5.71 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. With the stock down 13% from an April 17 record, some on Wall Street see potential for the stock to rally as expectations have fallen.“We view AVGO shares as attractive ahead of earnings given what appears to be lower expectations and our belief that the company’s longer-term growth and profitability prospects remain solid,” MKM Partners analyst Ruben Roy wrote in a research note on Monday, referring to Broadcom by its ticker symbol.The San Jose, California-based company’s products and global customer base make its results a key indicator for how trade tensions are affecting the semiconductor industry. Almost half of Broadcom’s revenue last year was linked to China. Huawei Technologies Co., which the U.S. government is blacklisting, purchases Broadcom switch chips that are a key component of the Chinese company’s networking gear.Broadcom is also a major supplier of chips to Apple Inc. and recently signed an agreement with the iPhone maker to extend that relationship. Analysts and investors use the chipmaker’s commentary on the wireless market to get a window into demand in the smartphone market.Bank of America analysts led by Vivek Arya reiterated their buy rating on Broadcom on Monday, saying the effects of the Huawei ban and macroeconomic risks are “well expected.”“Key focus will be commentary on second half recovery, cloud capex spending and smartphone unit trends,” they wrote in a research note.Broadcom shares fell as much as 0.8% Thursday. Options prices imply a 6.9% move in the shares after the post-market earnings release, compared with an average 4.5% following the past eight reports, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Just the Numbers2Q adjusted EPS from continuing operations estimate $5.15 (range $4.73 to $5.46)2Q adjusted net revenue estimate $5.67 billion (range $5.45 billion to $5.91 billion) 2Q adjusted gross margin estimate 70.6% 2Q semiconductor solutions revenue estimate $4.28 billion 2Q infrastructure software revenue estimate $1.36 billion 3Q adjusted net revenue estimate $6.11 billion (range $5.80 billion to $6.30 billion) 3Q adjusted gross margin estimate 69.6% FY adjusted net revenue estimate $24.31 billion (range $23.68 billion to $24.70 billion); forecast $24.5 billionData26 buys, 12 holds, 0 sells Avg PT $320.20 (14.2% upside from current price) Implied 1-day share move following earnings: 7.0% Shares rose after 8 of prior 12 earnings announcements Adjusted EPS beat estimates in 12 of past 12 quarters Quarter dividend BDVD est. $2.65 per share, year ago reported $1.75; next declaration date June 13, 2019 TimingEarnings release expected June 13 after market close Call 5pm (New York time), 866-310-8712 password: 3044229 Conference call website(Updates with today’s trading in ninth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Jeran Wittenstein in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ian King in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Richard Richtmyer, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Facebook, Bank of America, American Express and Deere
Given the chances of a Fed rate cut early next month, State Street (STT) reduces revenue expectation for the second quarter of 2019.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The best way to hedge a portfolio of collateralized loan obligations might just be with a new type of CLO structure. No, seriously.Credit Suisse is taking a cue from the U.S. Treasury and mortgage-bond markets and splitting the safest portions of CLOs into two parts: one that pays only interest and another that’s mainly principal. Bloomberg News’s Adam Tempkin saw a presentation from the bank on the structure, known as Mascot, for modifiable and splittable/combinable tranches. In it, the bank argues that the interest-only portion in particular has “the potential to be the cheap hedge a bondholder can construct for a CLO portfolio.”On its face, this looks like peak Wall Street. Spitting up CLOs, which themselves are bundles of leveraged loans, and offering them as a way for investors to protect against large declines in credit markets? Perhaps this is little more than bankers getting creative to get deals done when the alarm over growth in risky corporate borrowing is becoming harder to ignore.Obviously, if you believe that the $1.3 trillion leveraged lending market will eventually face a day of reckoning, and CLOs will go the way of the pre-crisis CDOs, then this sort of structure is probably of little interest. However, as I’ve written before, that seems unlikely to happen for a number of reasons, even if Moody’s Investors Service considers loan covenants to be about the weakest on record. Most likely, as Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said, the economy will slow down “and then the usual carnage goes on.” A typical level of losses wouldn’t hit the top-rated segments of CLOs, which famously never defaulted, even at the heights of the financial crisis.So credit-market bloodbath aside, this new CLO innovation might make sense after all.The appeal of Mascot hinges on the fact that asset managers who issue CLOs can typically refinance starting two years after they sold them. This option is extremely valuable to borrowers. If credit spreads tighten during that period, they can come to market again and get cheaper funding. If spreads widen, well, they’ve already locked in cheaper funding.On the flip side, this refinancing option is something of a lose-lose for investors because the CLO issuer will effectively do the exact opposite of what they’d prefer. Conditions that encourage refinancing, by definition, mean buyers will have to reinvest at tighter spreads and accept reduced returns. As spreads widen, investors are stuck holding on to lower-yielding securities. Neither of these outcomes is detrimental, to be sure, but it can be frustrating.The Mascot structure, when used as a hedge, would smooth out those binary outcomes. In particular, with investors increasingly fretting about a turn for the worse in the credit cycle, the interest-only portions could serve as a useful counterbalance to CLOs, in what Tempkin called “disaster protection”:An interest-only portion of a CLO grows more valuable to investors the longer it pays interest, which is linked to how long the CLO remains outstanding. That’s what makes it a good hedge when times are getting worse for corporate borrowers: When credit spreads widen, CLOs are less likely to be refinanced, lifting the value of the interest-only portion.Credit Suisse’s pitch of the interest-only portions as a hedge naturally raises the question: What about the mainly principal part? After all, it would stand to lose at a more precipitous pace than typical CLOs when credit spreads widen (just as it would appreciate faster if they tighten). Investors apparently are allowed to exchange the original bond for any combination of the stripped portions they want, and in any combination. Given that regulators are pretty much in the dark about the leveraged-loan market as it is, the prospect of adding another layer on top of CLOs might not be the most welcome news. About 85% of the loans are held by non-banks, but, as the Mascot structure makes clear, banks like Credit Suisse still play a large role. As Bloomberg News’s Sally Bakewell and Thomas Beardsworth pointed out in an article this week, “not only do they underwrite the loans, they also sell the loans to the CLOs that the debt is bundled into, invest in the securities and then hedge those risks in the market.”For now, the insatiable demand for leveraged loans and CLOs appears to be cooling, given that the Federal Reserve is no longer raising interest rates and in fact appears closer than ever to cutting them for the first time in more than a decade. That’s actually realigning incentives in the market: Bloomberg News’s Cecile Gutscher and Charles Williams reported last month that CLO managers are taking on more risk themselves — through larger first-loss equity pieces — to do their deals, which in effect is bringing back the skin-in-the-game rules that were abolished last year. As for the CLO splitting, whether it catches on more broadly is anyone’s guess. Tempkin reported that the structure was recently used on deals from Rothschild & Co.’s Five Arrows unit and LibreMax Capital’s Trimaran Advisors. If it’s anything like the $15.9 trillion Treasury market, it’ll remain relatively niche. There were about $303 billion U.S. Treasury Strips outstanding as of May 31. Just as the Strips market isn’t all that liquid, some investors wonder whether the same will be true of the divided CLOs.At the very least, it’s an interesting quirk in the leveraged lending market. Hedge CLOs with parts of other CLOs — it sounds bizarre, but it just might work.To contact the author of this story: Brian Chappatta at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The company is starting renovations on the HBO building and three floors of the Grace Building across from its 55-story tower at One Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, it said in a statement Wednesday. When the project is completed by 2022, a large portion of the bank’s 13,000 New York employees will be at six properties clustered around Avenue of the Americas. The new offices will include flexible workspaces, a wellness center and dining and training facilities, and will incorporate solar technology and recycled materials, Bank of America said.
Charlotte, North Carolina is the focal point of a brewing war between the big banks, as BB&T and SunTrust merge and giants Chase and U.S. Bank move in.
South Africa's antitrust tribunal concluded on Wednesday that it has no powers to charge foreign banks being investigated in an exchange-rate rigging case unless they have a presence in the country. Partly on that basis, the tribunal sent the case back to the country's competition watchdog, giving it 40 days to clarify the charges it plans to bring. In a probe that has rumbled on since 2015, the Competition Commission has been seeking fines against 23 local and foreign banks that it alleges colluded to coordinate activities when giving quotes to customers buying or selling the rand and the dollar.