Jan. 07 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks slide as big bank foreclosure settlements fail to undue pre-earnings angst; Bank of America pays billions to put mortgage crisis behind it; Walt Disney looking to trim Mickey Mouse's waistline -sources; HBO flexes muscle to block Netflix. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street takes a step back after closing at a five-year high last week. But the losses were kept to a minimum by the end of the session. Financials were one group to watch. 10 mortgage servicers agreed to pay $8.5 billion. The settlement ends a case-by-case government review into possible foreclosure wrongdoings during the housing crisis. Some of that money goes directly to impacted borrowers. Separately, Bank of America, parent of Countrywide Financial, will pay some $11.6 billion to Fannie Mae for troubled loans during the crisis. Most of that cash will come from reserves. By the end of the session BofA and Wells Fargo were down, while Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, were up. Sources say Walt Disney is looking at ways to contain costs. The entertainment giant is coming off a string of acquisitions for fits movie studio business and that unit may bear the brunt of the cost cutting, according to our sources. But Mickey Mouse may be a reminder of the difficult sales environment companies are in right now. Greg Harrison, research analyst at Thomson Reuters. SOUNDBITE: GREG HARRISON, RESEARCH ANALYST, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This quarter revenue expectations are also pretty low. 1.9 percent growth is expected right now and 1.1 percent for the first quarter of 2013. So analysts are expecting continued weak revenue growth and as well as earnings growth." Meanwhile, two deals to highlight in the media landscape. Universal Pictures, with hits like Les Miserables, extending a contract with cable channel HBO until 2022. The deal blocks Les Miz and any other Universal movies from landing on Netflix. For its part, Netflix has signed on to carry some popular TV and cable shows produced by Warner Bros. Television. Looking at the battle for viewers - Netflix shares finished higher; Down day for Universal, owned by Comcast and Time Warner parent of HBO and Warner Bros. Television. Wrapping up with Europe - concerns about the utility sector led to declines across the board.