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News Headlines to Jan 16 2008
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Jan 18 2008 News Links
Average weekly earnings in Irish distribution and business services were up by 4.2 % in September 2007
European Central Bank reports tightening in Eurozone bank lending in the fourth quarter of 2007
Markets News Friday: Shares of leading US bond insurer plunges 51% triggering fears of deepening in credit crisis
Trichet says underlying Eurozone productivity trends are a “disgrace”
Japanese consumer confidence plunges to more than four year low
Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
becomes world's top Gold producer ending South African dominance
dating from 1905
Markets News Friday: Shares of leading US bond insurer plunges 51%
triggering fears of deepening in credit crisis
Thursday was another
grim day in the markets in New York as fears mounted about bond
insurers - - key players in a $2.4 trillion market. Stocks had their
worst three-day decline since 2002.
The Dow Jones
Industrial Average plunged 306.95 points, down 2.5%, at 12159.21.
All 30 of its components closed lower. The Standard & Poor's 500
lost 2.9%, or 39.95 points, at 1333.25, including slides in all its
sectors while the technology-dominant Nasdaq Composite Index was
down 2%, or 47.69 points, at 2346.90.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
gave testimony to the House Budget Committee
regarding the state of the economy.
Bernanke supported the
passing a $150 billion fiscal stimulus package, without backing specific proposals by
Republicans or Democrats. The Fed Chief also referred to the risks to economic growth
in recent times.
"A number of factors, including continuing increases in
energy prices, lower equity prices, and softening home values, seem
likely to weigh on consumer spending as we move into 2008,"
Also on Thursday, both Moody's Investor Services and Standard & Poor's
credit rating unit signaled a likelihood of downgrades of big bond
insurers' AAA credit ratings. This would be a serious development.
would simply become "illiquid" if firms can no longer be certain that
their counterparties can reliably deliver cash and securities, the
meaning of good credit.
Shares in bond insurer
Ambac Financial Group plunged 52% while competitor MBIA was
down nearly 31%. Both are in risk of a downgrade.
The pressure on the traditional bond
insurers rose on Wednesday when Ambac said
it planned to raise $1bn in equity. Just
hours later, Moody’s said it was putting
Ambac’s triple-A rating on review for a
On Thursday, Moody’s said MBIA’s triple-A
rating could also be cut, including ratings
of $1bn worth of capital that it raised just
Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday that
losses for bond insurers could be 20% higher than previous estimates, raising
expectations that it, too, might consider
lowering its triple-A credit ratings for Ambac and MBIA.
Jamie Dimon, Chief
JPMorgan, said this week when asked
about bond insurers: “What [worries me]
is if one of these entities doesn’t make
it . . . the secondary effect . . . I think
could be pretty terrible.”
Merrill Lynch reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $9.8 billion, as
the company took charges of $16.7 billion in losses related to subprime
mortgages and other debt instruments.
Merrill shares fell 10.24%.
Bank of New York Mellon reported a 68% profit
plunge after taking a
$118 million write-down related to collateralized debt obligations and a
$180 million charge for bringing a conduit onto its balance sheet. The
company's shares rose 0.71% Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said December
housing starts fell 14.2% to a seasonally adjusted 1.006
million annual rate -- the lowest pace since May 1991 -- after falling a
revised 7.9% in November. Year over year, housing starts during
December were 38.2% below the level of construction in December 2006.
were mixed on Friday with little movement in the regional index, the MSCI
In Tokyo, the
Nikkei 225 rose 0.6% while in Australia, India and Hong Kong,
European stocks fell for a third day
Thursday by US recession worries.
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.5 percent to
331.07 and national benchmarks fell in 12 of the 18
markets in western Europe. Germany's DAX fell 0.78% and France's CAC 40 dropped 1.31%.
The UK's FTSE 100 dropped 0.68%.
In Dublin, the ISEQ Index rose 0.61%
markets have fallen in early trading Tuesday.
National benchmarks - Europe
Irish Share Prices
AIB Daily Report
Bank of Ireland Daily Report
The euro is trading at $1.4617 and at £0.7427.
For live currency updates, check the right-hand
column of the
Finfacts home page.
Crude oil for March delivery is trading on the
Mercantile Exchange (Nymex)
at $90.32 up 19 cents overnight. In London, Brent is trading on the
International Commodities Exchange at $89.11 up 36 cents.
The spot price of gold is at $877.80 per ounce, down
$2.10 cents overnight.
China becomes world's top Gold producer ending
South African dominance dating from 1905