Every morning the Street of Walls team puts out an update on market levels, today’s top stories, and active M&A deals. Today’s Top Stories:

  • GS Morning Update: Markets in Asia were mostly lower Monday, with stocks in Hong Kong and China dropping in the first day of trading following the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. Investors are likely disappointed that no further stimulative measures were announced out of China. Stocks in Europe are also opening lower this morning ahead of a summit of European leaders scheduled for this week and amidst a lackluster earnings period (GS)
  • Romney Frontrunner for FL: Romney has been climbing meaningfully in the FL polls and now is the favorite to win Tues by double digits (NYT)
  • Kingdon Adds KV: Mark Kingdon’s Kingdon Capital Management disclosed a 7.05% state in the total outstanding common stock of K-V Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE: KV.A/KV.B) http://bit.ly/wwMbUm
  • MF Global: Nearly three months after MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed, officials hunting for an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customer money increasingly believe that much of it might never be recovered, according to people familiar with the investigation http://on.wsj.com/x5jG9s
  • Housing Rent vs. Own: This is a really interesting chart put out by Barclays REIT team.  Basically it shows the tug of war between renting vs. buying in the U.S. http://bit.ly/AuGgiJ
  • US Equity Valuations: valuations for US stocks have been stuck below the 5-decade average for the longest period since Nixon’s presidency, a sign investors don’t trust the corporate earnings outlook (BBG)
  • RBS CEO Bonus: Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC said its chief executive will waive his bonus for 2011, after a particularly fierce public and political outcry over the size and timing of the awardhttp://on.wsj.com/x9OuFP
  • Wall Street Layoffs: bankers are worried about a wave of fresh layoffs on Wall St and are contacting headhunters to explore new opportunities (FT)
  • JOE Takes Impairment: St. Joe Co., one of largest landowners in Florida, signaled that it is scaling back development plans again, an indication that its efforts to turn the state’s Northern Gulf Coast into a cluster of luxury second-home communities have been a flop (WSJ)
  • KKR Allocate in 2012: Henry H. McVey, Head of Global Macro & Asset Allocation team, published the following thoughts on the global macro trends, “2011 offered numerous headwinds—from the rating downgrade of U.S. Treasuries to the continuing sovereign-debt crisis in Europe—so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2012 kicks off with its own share of riskshttp://bit.ly/y40HKk

M&A Watch:

  • Weekly M&A Trends: Completed M&A volumes rose by 10% in the week to $25.0 billion http://bit.ly/yLnba7
Disclosure: I do not have a position in any stocks mentioned in this article, do not have a plan to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.
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