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News : International Last Updated: Nov 19, 2010 - 5:23:24 AM


Markets News Afternoon: Cowen says no Irish person should feel ashamed or humiliated about EU/IMF “contingency fund”
By Finfacts Team
Nov 18, 2010 - 4:58:20 PM

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Irish Debt Crisis: The Taoiseach said today that there is no reason for any Irish person to feel ashamed or humiliated about the Irish debt crisis.

Brian Cowen insisted in an interview with Newstalk106 that the Government is still looking at the best options for Ireland and Europe.

He says a “contingency fund” is under examination but insisted the Government will make a sovereign decision when the time comes on any bailout and its size.

The Taoiseach said this is an issue bigger than just Ireland.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, also said he expects that talks with representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, which began in Dublin today, will result in a loan being offered to Ireland.

Professor Honohan said the negotiations were not about a bailout, but would lead to a loan of tens of billions to Ireland, and that the Government would have to accept it.

Whatever about the semantics, it's going to be called a bailout with Budget details and reform dictated by the European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

"The intention is and the expectation is, on their part and personally on my part, that negotiations or discussions will be effective and a loan will be made available and drawn down as necessary," Pror Honohan said.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel today restated her determination that private investors should contribute to the costs of a future Eurozone bailout but stressed that this applied to future rescues only from 2013.

"We in the federal government are absolutely convinced it is necessary that creditors contribute to the cost in any future, and I underline 'future' three times so that the markets understand - mechanism," said Merkel.

On Ireland, Merkel said: "We have a European support mechanism and if a country believes it needs to use it, that's what it is there for."

An international task force is in Dublin Thursday to begin negotiations over Ireland's debt problems. David Kuo, director of The Motley Fool, and Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, consider the outlook:

IFSC: A study on Dublin's offshore financial centre says it accounts for about 7.4% of GDP (gross domestic product) and represents almost 5% of EU cross-border financial services.

The study for Financial Services Ireland , an IBEC group which represents financial services firms, was carried out by consultants Accenture.

It found that the international financial services sector employs 32,700 people in over 500 firms with a payroll of €1.97bn. The sector contributes €2.1bn in tax every year, including 36% of the total corporation tax rate.

An IFSC company is any company which is based in Ireland, whether foreign owned or indigenous, which is mainly involved in financial services exports. Although most are based in Dublin, since the introduction of the 12.5% tax rate, companies now have a presence in 20 counties.

The report says high-end, knowledge economy jobs have an average salary estimated at over €60,000 a year.

The situation in Ireland isn't the same as the situation in Greece because the cause is different, Charles Campbell, senior sales trader at Miller Tabak, told CNBC Thursday:

US Initial Weekly Jobless Claims: In the week ending Nov. 13th, seasonally adjusted initial benefit claims were 439,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 437,000. The 4-week moving average was 443,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 447,000 to its lowest level since Sept. 6, 2008.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov. 6 was 4,295,000, a dip of 48,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,343,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,353,250, a decrease of 45,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,398,750.

Jobless benefits for roughly 2 million Americans are set to expire in about two weeks.

GM: General Motors was restructured after a bankruptcy in 2009 and almost a century on the New York Stock Exchange, rose over 9% Thursday on its first public trading following a $20bn initial public offering.

GM rose 7.5% to $35.46 at 10:08 a.m., after rising as high as $35.99. The carmaker’s owners, including the US Treasury, sold $15.8bn of common shares at $33 each yesterday in the second-largest US IPO on record.

US Markets

In New York Thursday, the Dow rose 177 points or 1.61% to 11,185.

The S&P 500 rose 1.76% and the Nasdaq  added 1.88%.

The Conference Board US Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the US increased 0.5% in October to 111.3 (2004=100), following a 0.5% increase in September, and a 0.1% increase in August.

US Leading Economic Index increased in October; Indicators are suggesting a mild pickup this Spring

Live US indices

European Markets

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up 1.40% Thursday.

In Dublin the ISEQ has risen 2.67%.

CRH has gained 5.87%; IL&P is up 9.3% and Bank of Ireland 7.5%.

European benchmarks

Irish share prices

Euribor Interest Rates

Commodities

Crude oil for December 2010 delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $81.561 per barrel up $1.12 from Wednesday's close. In London, Brent for December delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $84.61.

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.3594 and at £0.8495.

The US Mortgage Bankers Association's quarterly delinquency survey finds delinquencies are dropping but foreclosure starts are at a record high. CNBC's Diana Olick has the details:

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