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Goldman buys Westpeak in drive for 'smart beta' assets

By Lauren Tara LaCapra NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc's <GS.N> asset-management business has agreed to buy Westpeak Global Advisors, a firm that aims to beat market indexes by using factors other than company size to pick stock investments.

Valeant, Ackman looking to buy Botox maker Allergan in deal worth about $49B

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is teaming up with U.S. activist investor Bill Ackman to buy Botox maker Allergan in a cash-and-stock deal worth about US$51 billion that could be the next step in the Canadian company's goal to become one of the world's largest drug companies. Quebec-based Valeant (TSX:VRX) (NYSE:VRX), already one of Canada's largest specialty pharmaceutical companies, says a combination with California-based Allergan would be good for shareholders of both companies.

Ex-Bank of America employee avoids punishment in bid rigging case

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former senior vice president at Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> who became a cooperating witness in the U.S. government's probe of bid-rigging in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market avoided prison time or other punishment at his sentencing on Tuesday. Douglas Campbell, who marketed investment agreements and other municipal finance contracts while working in the bank's New York office, in 2010 pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to restrain trade, conspiracy and wire fraud.

ValueAct's Ubben says firm will not seek new term on Valeant board

By Nadia Damouni NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge fund manager Jeffrey Ubben, whose firm ValueAct sits on the board of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, said on Tuesday that the hedge fund will not seek reelection on the board in order to devote its time on Microsoft Corp's board. Ubben, ValueAct's chief investment officer and chief executive officer, said that he thinks the proposed tie up between Valeant and Allergan, which is being pushed by fellow activist hedge fund manager William Ackman, is the right thing for both companies.

Japan overhauls its public pension fund

By Chikafumi Hodo and Takaya Yamaguchi TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan overhauled the world's biggest public pension fund on Tuesday, appointing new committee members, in a push toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal of a more aggressive investment strategy. The government announced a reshuffle of the Investment Committee of the $1.26 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), in line with Abe's drive to have the fund make riskier investments and rely less on low-yielding government bonds.

Hong Kong shares end 0.13% lower

Hong Kong shares slipped 0.13 percent on Tuesday despite a fifth-straight rally on Wall Street, as traders returned from a long weekend, while attention turned to the release of Chinese manufacturing data. The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended down 29.56 points at 22,730.68 on turnover of HK$48.25 billion (US$6.22 billion). US shares enjoyed a pick-up Monday thanks to solid earnings reports from firms including Halliburton and Hasbro. The Dow gained 0.25 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.38 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.64 percent.

Ackman, Valeant team up to bid for Allergan

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Rod Nickel and Olivia Oran BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Activist investor William Ackman teamed up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc to make a joint run at buying wrinkle-treatment maker Allergan Inc, according to security filings on Monday. The move to acquire Allergan, which is worth around $42 billion, is highly unusual as activist investors typically buy stakes and then agitate for strategic change, such as a sale of the company.

USDA establishes $150 million rural business investment fund to promote jobs, growth

DES MOINES, Iowa - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related business in rural areas with cash needed to expand. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in Cedar Rapids the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to increase business opportunities.

Pimco Global Multi-Asset, Foreign Bond funds hit with sharp outflows

(Reuters) - The Pimco Global Multi-Asset (PGAIX), Pimco Foreign Bond (PFUIX) and Pimco Investment Grade Corporate Bond (PIGIX) funds are suffering the heaviest net outflows over the trailing one-year period through March 31 among U.S.-domiciled Pimco funds rated by Morningstar Inc., data showed on Monday.

Pro-risk assets experts tapped as key gov't pension fund officials

The government on Tuesday appointed seven people, including three experts who are in favor of high-risk asset investment, for two-year terms as members of the policy-setting committee of Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which oversees pension programs, has decided to tap the experts as members of the GPIF Investment Committee to promote a policy change at the fund, the investment portfolio of which has been dominated by domestic bonds, ministry sources said
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