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Posts Tagged ‘Wall’’

After Fed boost, global woes hit Wall Street

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

Obama praises Wall Street reform, rejects Republican plan

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

US President Barack Obama Saturday praised a Wall Street reform law enacted this week and rejected a Republican plan to jump-start the economy, saying it will take the country backward.

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about the economy in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington July 23, 2010. (AFP Photo)

“Wall Street reform is a key pillar of an overall economic plan we have put in place to dig ourselves out of this recession and build an economy for the long run — an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle-class more secure,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

On Wednesday, the president signed into law the most sweeping reform of the US finance industry since the 1930s, promising US taxpayers would no longer get the bill for Wall Street excess.

The legislation, which some Republicans have pledged to repeal, introduces new consumer protections, checks the power of big banks and cracks down on deceptive practices by credit card firms.

Seeking to restore public confidence in his economic leadership as unemployment flirts with double digits, Obama said the bill would repair the fractures and abuses that produced the financial meltdown.

“It’s a plan based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility — and one that demands new accountability from Wall Street to Washington,” the president said in his address.

Obama also rejected an economic plan offered by House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, saying it would repeal health insurance reform and take away tax credits from millions of small business owners.

According to the president, the Republican plan would also permanently keep in place the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.

“These are not new ideas,” Obama said. “They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs, they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit, they will add one trillion dollars to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.”


Source: SGGP

Asian stocks follow Wall Street down on poor US homes data

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 4:32 am

Investors sold Asian stocks on Wednesday as the optimism over China’s move to make its currency more flexible was replaced by concerns over the global economy caused by weak US housing data.

A foreign exchange dealer passes by an electronic board at the head office of Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul on June 21, 2010. (AFP Photo)

Hong Kong was 0.13 percent lower, Tokyo shed 1.69 percent by the break and Sydney fell 1.15 percent while Singapore dropped 0.64 percent. Shanghai slipped 0.73 percent.

Wall Street was off 1.43 percent after figures showed the property market in the world’s biggest economy was struggling.

Existing-home sales fell 2.2 percent in May after two consecutive rises, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, despite support from a government tax-incentive programme.

The report “suggests that there may be greater fundamental weakness in housing demand than anticipated”, said Celia Chen at Moody’s

“The optimism we saw a few days ago has been snuffed by that weak US home sales data,” BBY senior institutional trader Peter Copeland told Dow Jones Newswires in Sydney.

The euro fell back as traders became more risk averse because of the falling stock markets.

The single currency bought 1.2245 dollars and 110.87 yen in Tokyo morning trade, down from 1.2270 and 111.12 in New York late Tuesday. The dollar slipped to 90.44 yen from 90.54 yen.

Regional markets soared on Monday after Beijing’s weekend announcement that it would allow the yuan to strengthen against the dollar.

However, that optimism faded the next day on the realisation that there would not be any major near-term changes to the foreign exchange controls by the Chinese government.

On Tuesday US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed China’s announcement but called for “vigorous implementation” of the move.

“The yuan-dollar rates have not moved much since the announcement. This confirmed anew that the Chinese authorities are aiming for an extremely gradual liberalisation of the currency system,” Credit Suisse said in a report.

China’s central bank let the yuan weaken Wednesday, setting the central parity rate — the centre point of its allowed trading band — at 6.8102 to the dollar, 0.18 percent weaker than Tuesday’s 6.7980.

Eyes will now be on the end of a two-day policy meeting at the US Federal Reserve, where analysts will be looking for clues to the state of the economy.

Chinese shares were also hit after the government said it would scrap an export tax rebate on some commodities including metal products and chemicals, dealers said.

The removal of the rebate, from July 15, aims to reduce excess capacity in certain sectors by discouraging exports and comes after Beijing said it would ban capacity expansion plans in the steel industry as of the end of 2011.

Oil was lower. New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August dropped 68 cents to 77.17 dollars a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for August was off 70 cents to 77.34 dollars.

Gold opened at 1,240.00-1,241.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Tuesday’s close of 1,236.50-1,237.50 dollars.


Source: SGGP

Wall Street plunge triggers Asian turmoil

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

HONG KONG, May 21, 2010 (AFP) – The biggest drop in more than a year on Wall Street triggered fresh turmoil in Asian markets Friday, amid heightened anxiety over the eurozone debt crisis and doubts over the strength of the US economy.

After government data showed the largest number of Americans lining up for unemployment insurance claims in five weeks, US shares plunged 3.60 percent with investors also gripped by deepening fears over Europe’s debt.

Asian markets tumbled in response, with several markets hitting lows not seen for several months.

Tokyo dived 2.45 percent, or 245.77 points, to close at 9,784.54, its lowest level since December 2.

Sydney ended 0.26 percent, or 11.1 points, lower at 4,305.4 after slumping 2.9 percent to a 10-month low earlier. Singapore was 2.17 percent off.

Shanghai was 0.31 percent lower and Hong Kong was closed for a public holiday.

“This eurozone saga is turning into a bad horror movie,” Phillip Securities economist Joshua Tan told Dow Jones Newswires. “You think the monster is dead but it keeps coming back.”

The bearish US data and euro fears prompted fresh concern in Tokyo, with government officials fretting as investors piled into the safe-haven yen.

A strong Japanese currency is a worry for Japan due to its negative impact on the repatriated profits of exporters who are currently driving the country’s recovery from its deepest post-war recession.

Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan said Friday that the “excessive rise of the yen was not desirable”, as the safe-haven currency rapidly strengthened.

“We want to monitor the situation so that the appreciation of the yen will not become excessive,” he told a news conference.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was scheduled to meet Kan later Friday to discuss the current situation, according to local media.

Against the dollar, the Japanese unit hovered around 90.22 yen, sharply up from 91.39 yen seen in Tokyo Thursday afternoon.

The yen’s sharp rise prompted the Bank of Japan to inject one trillion yen (11.11 billion dollars) into the short-term money market to increase liquidity.

A rollercoaster week for the beleaguered euro continued with the currency recovering from four-year lows to fetch 1.2591 dollars in Tokyo trade, while it edged up slightly against the yen to 113.61 from 111.97 in New York.

A European economic task force was due to hold its first meeting Friday to beef up economic and budgetary surveillance in member states as global markets continue to doubt Europe’s unity in the face of the crisis.

Germany unilaterally banned certain speculative trades in an effort to calm markets only to see volatility spike due to the surprise the move created.

International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has said there was no risk of the 16-nation eurozone splintering but warned the crisis could cost Europe its credibility.

“The whole world is watching this… and is losing confidence in Europe,” he told television station France 2.

The crisis in Europe is being driven by debt and public deficit levels which have soared way above EU rules as governments increased spending to get their economies through the worst recession in generations.

Markets remain concerned despite a near trillion-dollar package to prevent the troubles of debt-ridden Greece spreading to the rest of Europe.

Bearish US data exacerbated doubts over the strength of its recovery, after the Labor Department said initial jobless claims totalled 471,000 in the week ending May 15, up 5.6 percent from the previous week’s revised 446,000.

A bill to enact the most sweeping overhaul of financial industry rules since the Great Depression of the 1930s and curb Wall Street excesses also passed a key hurdle Thursday in the US senate in a victory for President Barack Obama.

Oil was lower. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, was down 28 cents to 70.52 dollars a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July sank 62 cents to 71.22 dollars.

Gold opened at 1,180.00-1,181.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, sharply down from Thursday’s close of 1,191.00-1,192.00 dollars.

In other markets:

— Taipei fell 2.51 percent, or 186.72 points, to 7,237.71.

The loss came despite fresh economic data showing the island’s biggest quarterly growth in 30 years.

Hon Hai fell 2.24 percent to 131.0 Taiwan dollars while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.17 percent lower to 58.8.

— Manila closed 1.07 percent, or 34.44 points, lower at 3,179.36.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. fell 2.65 percent to 55 pesos while Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. slipped 1.42 percent to 17.25 pesos.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. bucked the trend to rise by 0.41 percent to 2,460 pesos.

— Wellington dived 1.97 percent, or 61.34 points, to close at 3,050.08.

The market is at its lowest level since August 21 last year.

— Bangkok was closed for a second straight day Friday as the Thai capital clears up after deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces earlier in the week.

Source: SGGP

Wall Street reform reaches home stretch in US Senate

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Ambitious Wall Street reform, which has become a top priority for President Barack Obama, enters the home stretch in the US Senate this coming week, with a final vote on the proposal possible as early as Wednesday.

Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to renew his push for the reform proposal, saying it would help secure the country’s economic future.

“The reform bill being debated in the Senate will not solve every problem in our financial system – no bill could,” Obama said.

“But what this strong bill will do is important, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible, so we can secure America’s economic future in the 21st century.”

Obama is promising the most sweeping regulatory reform drive since the 1930s Great Depression, and is seeking to build momentum for efforts by Democrats in Congress to overcome Republican opposition and pass a new Wall Street reform law.

Republican leaders have so far been united in opposition to the bill to impose tougher regulations on banks and finance firms and to frame a new consumer financial protection agency.

They say Obama’s reforms would introduce the heavy hand of government deeper into the US free enterprise system and would lead to a culture of financial bailouts, an accusation Democrats say is false.

But Obama countered by saying the proposed reform will help level the playing field in the financial industry by making sure all lenders – not just community banks – are subject to tough oversight.

He said the bill under consideration will prevent banks from taking too much risk and will give shareholders more say on executive pay.

“The Wall Street reform bill in Congress represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” the president pointed out. “You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you. We’ll help stop predatory practices, and curb unscrupulous lenders, helping secure your family’s financial future.”

Once the senators finish offering amendments, they will have to come to an agreement on ending the debate. And if that is achieved, the reform proposal could be brought to a final vote as early as Wednesday.

If approved, the reform bill will have to be reconciled with a proposal that passed the House of Representatives in December and was then sent to the president for his signature.

“There’s a lot of work going on, a lot of conversations,” Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, a sponsor of the bill, told reporters. “Things are going well. I hope by the end of next week it’s done.”

But on Monday, senators will still have to discuss some amendments inspired by the Greek financial crisis.

For example, an amendment offered by Republican John Cornyn of Texas would give the US representative at the International Monetary Fund the right to oppose rescue packages designed to help foreign states if there was concern that the money would never be repaid.

Another amendment would enhance the powers of the Federal Trade Commission, a body that ensures the fairness of market competition in order to enhance consumer protection.

Obama closely follows the debate. On Wednesday, he blasted an amendment offered by Republican Senator Sam Brownback that would shield automakers from scrutiny by the proposed consumer protection agency.

“We simply cannot let lobbyist-inspired loopholes and special carve-outs weaken real reform that will empower American families,” the president said, urging the Senate to continue to defeat the efforts of special interests to weaken protections for all consumers.

On Tuesday, lawmakers adopted an amendment designed to make the US Federal Reserve more transparent.


Source: SGGP

Obama moves to rein in banks in Wall Street assault

In World on January 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

President Barack Obama unveiled plans Thursday to limit the size and scope of US banks and finance firms in a new assault on the Wall Street excesses laid bare by the financial crisis.

“Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail,” Obama vowed, flanked by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker, who advised the president on the rules.

The plans to limit “excessive” risk taking and “protect” taxpayers are aimed at preventing banks or finance institutions from owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge fund or private equity funds.

They will effectively force finance firms to choose between proprietary activities, trading in stocks and sometimes risky financial instruments and commercial activities, like making loans and collecting deposits.

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on finacial reform at the White House in Washington, DC.

The initiative, which must be approved by Congress, includes a new proposal to limit the consolidation of the finance sector, placing broader limits on “excessive growth of the market share of liabilities” at the largest financial firms.

Obama blamed banks for sparking the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with “huge reckless risks in pursuit of quick profits and massive bonuses” in a “binge of irresponsibility.”

He vowed to enact the reforms in Congress, even if Wall Street deployed an army of lobbyists to kill them.

“If these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m ready to have,” he vowed defiantly.

The announcement was the latest attempt by the White House to harness popular fury at massive Wall Street bonuses and the financial crisis, which is adding up to an angry political mood in a crucial election year.

Separately, the Federal Reserve and other US regulators ordered banks Thursday to follow tougher rules on capital requirements and accounting standards starting in November.

“Banking organizations affected by the new accounting standards generally will be subject to higher risk-based regulatory capital requirements,” said a joint statement by regulators.

The new accounting standards require banks to include a number of off-balance sheet items in their liabilities, which could raise capital requirements.

Wall Street gave an immediate thumbs down to Obama’s plans as US stocks plunged, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 200 points or two percent.

“Rather than arbitrarily banning certain activities, or setting arbitrary size limits, our policy response should focus on improving risk management, internal controls, corporate governance, and supervisory oversight,” said the Financial Services Forum.

It is a nonpartisan group of the chief executives of 18 of the largest and most diversified financial services institutions in the United States.

The Obama administration?s proposal “is inconsistent with achieving” goals, such as promoting responsible lending, increasing jobs and promoting a stronger economy, said Steve Bartlett, president for the Financial Services Roundtable.

The group represents 100 top financial services firms providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services.

Obama’s first year in office was dominated by efforts to rescue a handful of banks that threatened to topple the US economy after being exposed to massive losses on the subprime mortgage market.

According to Treasury officials, about 205 billion dollars was pumped into 707 banks under the government rescue plans.

Obama has sounded a tougher tone towards banks in recent weeks as he faced widespread voter anger at the massive government bailout, which came as Americans faced surging unemployment, home foreclosures and national debt.

Top Obama economic aide Austan Goolsbee sought to counter criticism that the plan is returning to the Depression-era law creating a wall between investment and commercial banks.

“It’s not returning to Glass-Steagall,” Goolsbee said.

While the act repealed in 1999 forbid underwriting securities or investing in securities by any commercial bank, Goolsbee said, “This is not that. This says a bank cannot own a hedge fund, cannot own a private equity fund or do trading for its own account that is not related to its client business.”

He added that the goal is “to get back to the fundamental nature of the bank, which is serving its clients, rather than investing for its own profit.”

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Wall Street sell-off hits Asian shares

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Wall Street’s worst performance so far in 2010 hit Asian stocks Monday amid fresh concerns over the pace of recovery, while Japan Airlines (JAL) sank to a new low ahead of its expected bankruptcy.

Traders are seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AFP Photo)

A dive in oil prices also hit sentiment, as crude tumbled after the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week predicted “sluggish” demand this year in the developed world, with emerging markets accounting for increases.

Doubts about the strength of recovery in the United States, the world’s biggest energy user, were raised earlier last week when it reported that crude reserves had increased despite a severe cold snap across much of the country.

In Singapore, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery fell 34 cents to 77.66 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was down 34 cents at 76.77 dollars.

New York crude has slid from a 15-month high of 83.95 dollars earlier last week.

“Oil is under pressure primarily from economic considerations,” said Victor Shum, a Singapore-based analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz.

“Some of the economic data out of the US were not really robust and so these data raised doubts about the health of the US consumer and the strength of the US economy.”

Tokyo was off 1.16 percent, or 127.02 points, at 10,855.08.

JAL plunged 28.6 percent to an all-time low of five yen (five cents) a day before it is expected to file for bankruptcy as it struggles under enormous debts. It is also widely thought JAL will delist its stock.

The carrier’s market value is now just 150 million dollars, less than the cost of one new jumbo jet.

While Tokyo has said it will try to ensure its survival during restructuring, investors are expected to lose most or all of their money if it files for bankruptcy.

In the meantime, many short-term speculators are trading the shares to try to make a quick profit, dealers said.

“This has become a pure money game,” said Masatoshi Sato, strategist at Mizuho Investors Securities. “There is really no meaning to the level of the shares.”

The firm’s stock has plunged 95 percent over the past three months. Its highest share price since it began merging operations with small domestic carrier Japan Air Systems was 366 yen, seen in 2003.

Hong Kong was 0.33 percent lower at the break.

Shanghai was 0.32 percent off in early afternoon trade as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of key economic indicators for 2009 later in the week.

However, many markets moved off their morning lows as bargain hunters moved in.

Sydney closed 0.23 percent or 11.5 points higher at 4,911.1 on gains in the financial sector which offset falls among the big miners.

BHP Billiton dropped 0.48 percent to 43.44 Australian dollars (40 US dollars) and Rio Tinto shed 0.38 percent to 78.32.

Seoul added 0.59 percent, or 9.98 points, to 1,711.78.

Singapore was also up, rising 0.31 percent in the afternoon.

Dealers in the region were also absorbing a 0.94 percent fall in New York, the biggest drop this year, where strong earnings data from chipmaker Intel and bank giant JP Morgan failed to lift spirits.

Chinese and Hong Kong stocks were also dented by growing concerns Beijing will further tighten monetary policy to keep a lid on the nation’s soaring economic growth.

Analysts said the focus this week will likely turn to upcoming Chinese economic data Thursday “in order to judge whether more tightening measures are required to keep the China economy from overheating.”

However, China launched the CSI Cross-Straits 500 Index Monday in a bid to boost financial cooperation in the Greater China region.

The China Securities Index Company said on its website that the market, which covers 500 firms listed in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, was down 0.98 percent.

Taipei lost 0.23 percent, or 19.07 points, to 8,337.82.

The drop came despite three memoranda of understanding with China going into effect Saturday.

A lead cause of the fall was because financial authorities said they would allow a total of 500 million US dollars worth Chinese institutional investments in the local market, lower than the previously expected one billion dollars.

The euro slid to 1.4378 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade from 1.4385 in New York late Friday. It rose to 130.77 yen from 130.55. The dollar gained to 90.94 yen from 90.82.

And in Hong Kong gold opened slightly lower at 1,130.30-1,131.30 US dollars an ounce, from Friday’s close of 1,135.00-1,136.00 dollars.

In other markets:

— Manila dropped 0.39 percent, or 12.17 points, to 3,106.30.

“There’s nothing in the local front to move the market,” Joseph Roxas of , Eagle Equities said, adding the market was likely to look for overseas cues.

— Wellington fell 0.33 percent, or 10.85 points, to close at 3,247.10.

Leading stocks were the main losers, with Fletcher Building falling 20 cents to 8.11 dollars and Contact Energy down eight cents at 6.10.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Senegal’s dream of a ‘Green Wall’ against the desert

In World on November 14, 2009 at 10:31 am

There is little to show for it apart from small acacia shrubs, but Senegal’s leader believes in a Great Green Wall that will stem desertification across Africa from coast to coast.

A graphic showing the eleven countries associated with the ‘Great Green Wall’ scheme. (AFP Photo)

The project, launched in 2005, was meant to concern nations from Senegal on the Atlantic Ocean to Djibouti on the Red Sea.

But four years later, the Green Wall has barely emerged from the dust, and its supporters are hoping it will get a boost at the Copenhagen conference on climate change next month.

“Africa won’t go empty-handed to the Copenhagen summit,” vowed Senegal’s environment minister Djibo Ka at a ceremony in the northern village of Labgar recently.

He said the Great Green Wall would be presented by President Abdoulaye Wade and feature “at the heart of debate.”

“It’s a dream that is becoming reality,” he stated, leaning over an acacia shoot about 20 centimetres (eight inches) tall, but cautioned that if the wall was to grow, “we’re waiting for firm, major and targetted commitments” by the donor community.

The project’s aim is to build a tree barrier across the Sahel region where desertification is rampant. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that about two million hectares of forest (7,700 square miles) are now being destroyed each year in the Sahel.

The FAO has also warned that global warming will merely worsen the problem, leading to major migrations of people in countries that are already very poor and often unstable.

Eleven countries are associated with the Great Green Wall scheme, which was initially dreamed up by Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005, then adopted by Wade.

If all those nations took part, the wall would be 7,000 kilometres (4,340 miles) long and 15 kilometres wide.

The forest would also include catchment sinks to collect rainwater, which would be stored in reservoirs.

Not everyone is in favour.

“I don’t believe in this project. There’s no political will and woods are being cut down everywhere. And there’s no concern for replanting,” complained Haider El Ali, an ecologist who works for the Oceanium, Senegal’s biggest environmental protection agency.

Such scepticism is understandable, as the plan is scarcely off the drawing board. Only 10 kilometres of the Green Wall have been planted in the past two years.

“We’re planting local species, like acacias, which adapt well and which produce gum arabic, which provides resources to villagers,” said Colonel Matar Cisse, the director of the national agency for the Great Green Wall.

“But the big challenge is to protect the planted areas from livestock, and so there have to be enclosures, as well as firebreaks to protect against bush fires.”

Amid little fuss, the Oceanium has in the past three months planted 5,000 hectares of mangroves, an operation sponsored by the French food group Danone which wanted to compensate for the carbon emissions of one of its plants in France.

“The Great Green Wall is a stunt, a show to appeal to those ready to give money,” El Ali insisted. His deputy Jean Goepp argued that “the idea is good, but first we need to make people aware of the issues.”


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share