Customers sue Singapore's DBS over Lehman Notes

Monday, July 13, 2009

More than 200 customershave sued Singapore's DBS Bank in a bid to recover investment losses arising from the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers as reported by Reuters.

The investors had purchased a callable basket of credit-linked notes, called High Notes 5, from DBS Bank. A DBS spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the claim. She said the suit was without merit and that DBS planned to contest the suit, which is the first involving the bank's High Notes 5 product.

News of the suit against DBS comes three days after Singapore's central bank banned DBS and nine other firms from selling structured notes, citing various issues, such as their failure to adequately train the staff who sold such products.

Ten or more face possible Madoff charges

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bernard Madoff has been given the maximum sentence of 150 years for masterminding the biggest self-confessed fraud in US history. U.S. investigators believe 10 or more people associated with imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff could be criminally charged in the coming months or beyond, a law enforcement source said on Tuesday. Madoff has not named accomplices in the classic "cash in, cash out" fraud and the only other person charged so far is his outside accountant.

Lets us see some of the interesting quotes:

I will live with this pain, with this torment, for the rest of my life.
I cannot offer you an excuse for my behavior.

I am embarrassed and ashamed.

Here the message must be sent that Mr Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil.

Obviously, I'm delighted that the judge showed no mercy.

I can remember the exact second my wife told me the news.

My life will never be the same. I am financially ruined and will worry every day about how I will take care of my wife.

I was introduced to Bernard Madoff 21 years ago at a business meeting. I now view that day as perhaps the unluckiest day of my life.

S&P end in red for the year

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stocks suffered their worst one-day loss in two months, dropping the S&P 500 back into negative territory for the year in a broad-based sell-off, as investors reconsidered the health of the economy.

Shares of economically sensitive sectors such as financials, energy and materials led the S&P 500's decline. There was also a sharp drop in U.S. crude oil futures and other commodities. Crude oil prices fell about 4% to settle at $66.93/bbl.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange's Volatility Index (Chicago: VIX) jumped past the key 30 level for the market's favorite fear gauge, indicative of an expected period of high volatility on Wall Street.

This week's US$104b in auctions will mark the largest single-week of debt sales, as the U.S. government sells a record US$2t of bonds to finance bail-outs and stimulus programs.

10 US banks repaid bail-out cash, but Citi and BOA not in the list

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ten banks have collectively repaid $68bn out of the $700bn provided through taxpayer money:

JP Morgan repaid $25bn
Goldman Sachs repaid $10bn
Morgan Stanley repaid $10bn
US Bancorp repaid $6.6bn
American Express repaid $3.4bn
Capital One Financial repaid $3.6bn
BB&T Corp repaid $3.1bn
Bank of Mellon New York repaid $3bn
State Street repaid $2bn
Northern Trust repaid $1.57bn

Before being allowed to pay back money, the banks had to be able to show that they were able to raise cash privately. The 10 banks were given the permission last week to return the funds after undergoing government financial stress tests but Wednesday was the first day they could return the money.

World stock tumble

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

U.S. stocks extended a global slide, sending the MSCI World Index down the most in two months, as falling oil and metal prices weighed on commodity producers. Treasuries rose and the dollar strengthened.

US stocks got off to a poor start Monday, with the major indices ending more than 2% in the red, as doubt grows over the sustainability of the recent rally.

This came after a weaker-than-expected regional manufacturing report dented hopes about the economy's health ? the New York Fed's Empire State index showed that the factory sector shrank at a much more severe pace in June vs. the street's expectation of a slight improvement.

The CBOE Volatility Index VIX, the benchmark gauge for U.S. stock volatility, jumped the most since April 20 as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index fell to minus 9.4 from in June from minus 4.6. Readings below zero signal manufacturing is shrinking. Economists in a survey predicted minus 4.6. U.S. stocks fell even as the International Monetary Fund raised its outlook for the U.S. economy. The VIX, which ended at 30.81, also posted its biggest gain of 9.5% since late Apr.

The major stock indexes "are back above their 200-day averages, and it's increasingly tempting to conclude that a new bull market is under way," Toronto-based Ray Hanson wrote in a report dated June 12. However, the S&P 500 "has not yet achieved a golden cross" and "the steadily declining volume since early May suggests caution," he said.

Economists and analysts now predict a sharper dip in Singapore's GDP

Thursday, June 11, 2009

US stocks ended lower on Wednesday, as spiking Treasury yields and rising commodity prices added to worries that inflation could limit any recovery effort. U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday on worries that rising interest rates could put a damper on consumer and business spending, but stocks pared losses late in the session to finish off the day's lows. The market had extended losses after a 10-year Treasury note auction sparked a sell-off in bonds, pushing yields briefly above 4 percent for the first time since October. Stocks recovered from the sell-off after the bond market rebounded, with the yield at 3.9455 percent. Investors are worried that higher yields, which act as a benchmark for many lending rates, could handcuff an economic recovery. Interest rate-sensitive stocks, such as homebuilders and financials, were among the primary laggards, with the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction index off 1.5 percent and the S&P Financial index down 1.6 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24.04 points, or 0.27 percent, to 8,739.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 3.28 points, or 0.35 percent, to 939.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 7.05 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,853.08.

Property auctions are in vogue again, with deals touching $18.5 million in May alone. This is higher than the $17.9 million for the whole of Q1 this year, show Colliers International figures. Banks are playing their part by occasionally stepping aside and letting owners hock their own properties. This is because prices tend to slide when financial institutions repossess a property and offer it as mortgagee sale. After a slow start to the year, a total of $47.7 million worth of properties have been sold at auction in the first five months. Colliers deputy managing director and auctioneer Grace Ng is now predicting that the year would see about $150 million of auction deals - compared to $83.7 million for 2008, which was an 11-year low. The May figure is the highest since August last year, when auction sales touched about $22.7 million. But last August's number was bumped up by state auctions that raised $13.81 million, while no such special factor was at play in May.

Economists and analysts now predict a sharper dip in Singapore's GDP for the full-year than they forecast in March, but continue to expect the rate of contraction to slow in the coming quarters, according to a quarterly survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, released yesterday. The survey showed that 19 professional forecasters polled in late May now expect Singapore's economy to shrink 6.5 per cent this year, worse than the 4.9 per cent contraction forecast in March. This comes in at the higher end of the official forecast of a 6 to 9 per cent contraction. For the second quarter, the median forecast from respondents was a 7.7 contraction in GDP from a year earlier, a larger decline than the 6.9 per cent fall predicted in March.

Investors worry about the rally but also worry about missing it

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

US stocks started the first day of the week sharply lower, but subsequently recovered towards the end of the session to end mixed.

The market spent much of the day chasing the fall in commodity prices but also recovered ground as commodities came off their lows. Market watchers noted that commodities tend to rise along with investors' belief in an economic recovery, and fall when pessimism sets in.

While investors are starting to worry about the soundness of the market's rally, market watchers noted that investors are also worried about missing it and hence the strong buying in at lower levels.

Besides the drop in hard commodity prices, oil also fell 35 US cents to US$68.09/barrel on NYME. Meanwhile, over in Europe, investors are also starting to worry about the longevity of the rally ? the FTSE fell 0.8%, DAX fell 1.4% and CAC dropped 1.5%.
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