Monthly Archives: January 2012

Volcker downplays risks to bond markets

Paul Volcker has defended proposed trading rules for US banks that are being criticised by foreign governments as likely to disrupt the operation of their national bond markets. Japanese, UK and Canadian regulators, together with European bankers, have recently warned that the Volcker rule, which is designed to prohibit “proprietary trading” by US banks, could reduce flows in global markets…

Small-caps: 888 Holdings rises on Caesars deal

Online gaming group 888 Holdings rose 11.7 per cent to 52½p after announcing a deal with Caesars Interactive Entertainment to supply it with a poker platform and business-to-business services to support a US operation. The deal will involve the launch of a real money offering by Caesars once regulation is finalised. Peel Hunt, advising a “buy”, said: “Whilst in the…

Cocoa traders shun Ivory Coast auction

The world’s largest cocoa traders have boycotted the Ivory Coast government’s first cocoa auction, a move that raised concerns about reforms in the biggest producer of the commodity. Cocoa industry leaders were caught by surprise last Thursday when they were invited to take part in an auction to sell part of Ivory Coast’s next crop, to be harvested in 2012-13….

Exxon earnings hit by refining decline

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest listed oil and gas group by market capitalisation, has reported a rise in earnings of just 2 per cent and a drop in production for the fourth quarter of last year, in a sign of how difficult it is for international oil companies to deliver growth. Exxon’s profits were lifted by a 27 per cent rise…

Mexico reveals $85 a barrel oil hedge

Mexico has bought protection against the effects of an economic downturn, in effect insuring its oil exports at $85 a barrel for 2012, a senior finance ministry official said on Tuesday. Miguel Messmacher, the ministry’s chief economist, said the hedging programme would cover 211m barrels – about 580,000 barrels a day – at $85 a barrel, or 23.4 per cent…

EU to rule on D Börse and NYSE merger

The NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Börse tie-up on Wednesday faces its day of reckoning in Brussels, as European Union commissioners are expected to sign-off a recommendation to block a merger that allegedly stifles competition. Senior officials are confident that a clear majority of the 27 European commissioners will back Joaquín Almunia, the competition commissioner, and prohibit the bid. But it…

Junk bond rally stirs memory of credit boom

Junk bonds, until last year one of the favoured post-crisis asset classes for many investors, are enjoying a vigorous rally that has drawn comparisons with the credit boom. US corporate debt rated below investment grade, or junk, has notched up a 3 per cent return this year, according to Barclays Capital, a strong rebound from last year’s sell-off as the…

Bruising year for commodities hedge funds

The commodities hedge fund industry has suffered its worst year in more than a decade as the sector’s top managers recorded heavy losses amid volatile markets. The average commodity hedge fund fell 1.7 per cent in 2011, according to a closely watched index compiled by Newedge, the first loss since the index was created in 2000 and down from a…

South Sudan rejects AU oil plan

South Sudan’s chief negotiator has rejected African Union-backed proposals that could see it pay up to $6.5bn to Sudan in the latest attempt to break a vicious deadlock between the two over sharing oil revenues. The impasse, which reached a head at the weekend when AU-mediated talks collapsed at a summit in Addis Ababa, threatens to reignite conflict between the…

US Reits are drawn to subprime securities

Real estate investment groups in the US are set to raise more funds to buy subprime and other private mortgage-backed securities, aided by attractive returns and rising share prices. Real estate investment trusts, or Reits, have already been big buyers in the market for packages of mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government agencies, creating what some…