Posts from Friday Feb 26 2010

Vince Stanzione would like to recall “Pound Could Collapse Within Weeks”

Much hilarity on the Jim Rogers front.

The man organising the Trading Day Seminar in London next month at which Jim Rogers is was due to speak has issued a retraction of the press release issued on Thursday, where he put words into the mouth of the globe-trotting investment guru. Read more

Jamie Dimon? You’re free to go.

Jamie Dimon is no longer on Atlanta’s wanted list.

On Tuesday, CBS Atlanta reported the JP Morgan goldenboy had a warrant out for his arrest, related to an illegal dump at a property in the Georgia capital. Read more

Bolton’s comeback – the details

Click for the Fidelity China Special Situations prospectus…

 Read more

Greek austerity measures and will-they-won’t-they KfW

Greece continued to dominate the headlines on Friday.

Here’s the FT on Greek austerityRead more

Greece’s austerity plans: not enough?

Those Molotov cocktail-wielding protesters who took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday are not going to like this.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal — citing an unnamed “senior government official” — reported the European Union is “pushing Greece to urgently adopt new austerity measures amounting to an extra €4 billion”. Read more

Hamp-lified, moral hazard outrage du jour

Earlier this week, a US Treasury presentation containing suggested alterations to the department’s Home Affordable Modification Program (Hamp) leaked to the media.

One of the central suggestions of the presentation was that lenders would no longer be able to start foreclosing on a delinquent borrower until they’d been screened and judged ineligible for the Hamp. Read more

Chinese IPOs: still overpriced?

China’s biggest IPO this year, Huatai Securities, made a positive a debut on Friday, apparently defying speculation risk appetite had waned on the mainland.

But is this really a sign that risk appetite has returned, or more a reflection of Huatai’s “modest pricing”? Read more

Lest you forget the black hole that is AIG…

AIG, the insurer that has gobbled up around $180bn in taxpayer cash, on Friday reported its results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2009.

Depending on your perspective, the results were either a significant improvement compared with the same period a year ago or quite irksome indeed, given the $100m in bonuses paid to 200 AIG staff. Read more

Compare and contrast – GDP edition

Crack open the champagne! The UK emerged from recession with a magnificent 0.3 per cent rise in GDP.

Meanwhile, India was also digesting its latest GDP figures. Read more

Arti-fiscally enhanced GDP

UK public spending has become a hot topic in recent weeks.

With an election looming, sovereign jitters hovering over Europe, plus renewed speculation over the possibility of a downgrade to Britain’s credit ratings, everything’s gone all fiscal. Read more

Lunch Wrap

On FT Alphaville Friday morning,

– Shock! Jim Rogers didn’t say sterling will collapse! Read more

Markets Live transcript 26 Feb 2010

Live markets commentary from 

Renminbi ructions: to revalue or not to revalue?

Recent developments in both China and the US have boosted speculation that the People’s Republic is preparing to let its currency appreciate. And judging by the tone emanating from western politicians and pundits, if a revaluation is not forthcoming, you can expect a whole lot more anti-China rhetoric.

On Thursday in Washington, a bipartisan group of 15 US senators lashed out at China’s currency practices — including massive dollar buying to hold down the renminbi — describing them as effective subsidies and urging the Obama administration to consider taking action against Chinese imports. Read more

Shock! Jim Rogers didn’t say sterling shall collapse!


On Thursday the outspoken bow-tied investor was quoted in a press release for something called the Global Financial Trading Day Seminar. The release, for those who’ve forgotten already, went like this: Read more

Sterling’s dead cat GDP bounce

Sterling up to and after the release of Friday’s upward revision to fourth quarter GDP.

 Read more

Falling UK house prices – the next big thing?

A surprise drop in UK house prices in February – the first decline in 10 months – has left us asking a familiar question.

Was it just the bad weather or is this the start of a new trend? Read more

Bad debt surprise at Lloyds

From the Lloyds Banking Group 2009 annual results statement.

J Eric Daniels, chief executive: Read more

S&P avoids the dreaded ‘M’ word on Greece

Greece-watchers will know that Thursday was a tough one for Hellenic Republic debt.

That was despite a report from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, which some analysts have described as an attempt to reassure a jittery market. Indeed, in the report S&P notes that only 6.1 per cent of sovereigns with an S&P BBB-rating have defaulted on their debt in the past 15 years — the implication being that market worries over Greece may be exaggerated. Read more

QE experimentation, speech du jour

Bank of England, Bank of England
How does your QE grow?
By silver debasement and reserve placement,
And uncertainty set out below.

Monetary Policy Committee member David Miles gave a speech on Thursday about the Bank of England’s asset-purchasing programme; quantitative easing (QE). Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

– How to kill innovation: keep asking questions. Read more

Pink picks

Comment, analysis and other offerings from Friday’s FT,

Martin Wolf: How unruly economists can agree
If all the economists in the world were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion, says the FT’s Wolf. The “battle of the letters” – two letters in the FT, from Lord Skidelsky and other and Lord Layard and others, replying to a letter in the Sunday Times from Professor Tim Besley and others – brings this hoary joke to mind. Read more

Snap news

Breaking pre-market news on Friday,

– Lloyds reports annual loss of £6.3bn – statementRead more

Goldman probed on Greek crisis

The US Federal Reserve is examining the role of Goldman Sachs and other banks in arranging contentious derivatives trades for Greece, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke revealed on Thursday. Testifying before Congress, Bernanke also acknowledged concerns that instability in markets for Greek debt has been heightened by trading in credit default swaps, which insure investors against default. Separately, an SEC spokesman said the regulator is examining “potential abuses and destabilising effects” related to CDS and other “opaque” products and practices.

US panel to grill bank chiefs

The commission set up by the US Congress to examine causes of the 2008 financial crisis will interview foreign regulators and question top bank executives. Phil Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, said he planned to question overseas regulators to understand the differences with US oversight. Before the FCIC’s second public hearing on Friday, Angelides, a former California state treasurer, said he had been struck by how Goldman Sachs had been “creating and selling securities and then fully betting against them”.

Sterling slides on concerns

Sterling dropped to a nine-month low against the US dollar on Thursday and even lost ground against the battered euro amid growing concerns about UK economi prospects. After figures showed that business investment had fallen far more than expected in the final quarter of 2009, the pound fell to $1.5213 against the dollar, its weakest since May. Not only did business investment fall for a sixth successive quarter but the decline worsened in the fourth quarter, falling 5.8% compared with a fall of 1.8% in Q3.

Lehman, JPMorgan to settle

Lehman Brothers Holdings has agreed to pay JPMorgan Chase $557m in cash and let it keep $7.1bn in collateral to settle claims related to Lehman’s 2008 bankruptcy filing, according to court documents. As part of the settlement, JPMorgan Chase will also transfer back to Lehman illiquid securities with a “face value in the billions of dollars”. JPMorgan served as the primary clearing bank for Lehman’s brokerage division.

RBS pays out

Royal Bank of Scotland admitted on Thursday that more than 100 of its investment bankers will receive bonuses of at least £1m for 2009, a year in which the largely state-owned bank posted a net loss of £3.6bn. The disclosure followed the offer by CEO Stephen Hester to waive his own bonus and cut the amount of revenue paid out in compensation to staff. RBS made an operating loss of £6.2bn last year, compared with £6.9bn in 2008; its £1.3bn bonus pool meanwhile averages at about £76,500 for each of its 17,000 investment-banking staff.

JPMorgan plans to double income

JPMorgan Chase executives outlined plans on Thursday to double net income from last year’s $11.7bn once credit markets improve and the bank reaps returns from recent acquisitions and investments. The executives, including CEO Jamie Dimon, speaking at the bank’s annual investor conference at its Manhattan headquarters, did not specify when they would reach the target for annual profits of $22-$24bn.

Icesave talks collapse

Talks have collapsed between the UK, the Netherlands and Iceland about repayment of £3.4bn lost by depositors in the failed online bank Icesave, raising fears that the country will fail to meet its obligations. Iceland on Monday rejected an offer to soften repayment terms, British officials said, dashing hopes of avoiding a March 6 referendum in which Icelanders are expected to reject the original repayment plan. A ‘no’ vote would plunge Iceland into fresh turmoil.

Liberty in talks to sell US malls

Liberty International, the UK’s largest shopping mall owner, is in talks to sell its $560m US shopping centre business to a Miami-based real estate investment trust as the next step in its planned demerger. Liberty is in advanced talks with Equity One, a large US retail owner, to sell its California-based property business. Liberty is believed to be structuring the deal in a more tax-efficient way to trade the properties in return for equity in the US group, rather than cash,