Global financial crisis
Asian advanced for a third day while commodities and higher-yielding currencies rallied, reports Bloomberg, as Australian unemployment fell, European leaders prepared to meet on an aid package for Greece and Chinese inflation unexpectedly slowed. Japan markets were closed for a national holiday. Asian markets (Thurs – Japan closed)Nikkei 225 (Wed) up +31.09 (+0.31%) at 9,964Topix (Wed) up +1.93 (+0.22%) at 883.50Hang Seng (Thurs) up +295.48 (+1.48%) at 20,218
Asian stocks mostly rose on Friday as a better-than-expected revenue prediction from Intel boosted technology companies, countering declines by steelmakers and energy producers, reports Bloomberg. Asian markets (Fri)Nikkei 225 up +63.05 (+0.58%) at 10,971Topix up +4.60 (0.48%) at 963.061Hang Seng down -52.57 (-0.24%) at 21,664
Asian stocks rose and commodities gained after China’s exports surged in December and imports rose to a record, amid signs of accelerating global economic recovery, reports Bloomberg. Japan’s markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday. Asian markets (Mon – Japan closed)Nikkei 225 (Fri) up +116.66 (+1.09%) at 10,798Topix (Fri) up +11.00 (+1.65%) at 676.00Hang Seng (Mon) up +304.64 (+1.37%) at 22,601
UK banks that pay out excessive bonuses will be hit with heavy capital penalties rather than a windfall tax, officials said on Monday, in an attempt to allay City fears that Labour is planning a big pre-election cash grab. City banks have been rife with speculation that Alistair Darling, chancellor, could impose a windfall tax in this autumn’s pre-Budget report as a way of punishing banks for what is expected to be a bumper New Year bonus season.
Andrew Cuomo, New York attorney-general, has issued subpoenas to one current and four former board members of Bank of America to testify about BofA’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch. In a widening of his probe, Cuomo will eventually call all 15 outside members of last year’s BofA board, nine of whom have since left, to determine whether they were aware of mounting losses at Merrill and its plans to accelerate its $3.6bn bonus payout.
Credit default swaps are being blamed for playing a role in two bankruptcy filings this week. Bankers and lawyers are concerned that some lenders to troubled companies such as newsprint producer AbitibiBowater – which filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday – and mall owner General Growth Properties, which also filed for protection this week, stand to benefit from a default as they also hold default swaps, entitling them to payments in such events.