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BUSINESS NEWS JAN 17, 2008
Due to a technical problem on Wednesday Jan 16, we are upgrading the news management system which will be completed in coming days.

Business News Headlines to Jan 16 2008

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Jan 17 2008 News Links

Markets News Afternoon: US and European stocks slide; Dublin market rises

Annual Irish Consumer Inflation falls to 4.7% in December 2007

Euribor 3-Month Inter-Bank Rate fallest to the lowest level since the onset of the Credit Crunch in August 2007

European Central Bank warns again that it may raise interest rates

Slashing Energy Waste in China - Energy efficiency would do 'the most, the quickest,' to reduce CO2 emissions - World Bank

Study links corporate performance to employee enablement - Economist Intelligence Unit

Markets News Thursday: Asia-Pacific and European stocks rise

Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories

Big drugs companies raided by European competition regulators

Markets News Afternoon: US and European stocks slide; Dublin market rises

Wall Street was again dominated by uncertainty about the US economic outlook.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave testimony to the House Budget Committee regarding the state of the economy. .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 148 points or 1.19% to 12,318.

Bernanke supported the passing a 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,"  Bernanke said.

Also today, 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.  Credit markets 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 29.77% while competitor MBIA was down nearly 32.99%. Both are in risk of a downgrade.

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 7.93%.

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 were up 3.5% early Thursday.

Also today, 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.

The Labor Department also today reported that initial claims for jobless benefits fell 21,000 to 301,000 after seasonal adjustments in the week ended Jan. 12th.

European stocks fell for a third day spooked 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%

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Crude oil for February delivery is trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) at $89.92 a barrel down 92 cents overnight.

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4692 and at £0.7442.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page

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