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Lehman Expected To Post Another Big Loss

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst David Trone is now predicting that Lehman Brothers is likely to now post a fairly significant loss in the third-quarter (the firm lost $2.8bn in the second-quarter).

UBS Investment Bank - A True Dilemma

To say that UBS remains a bank in crisis is, of course, an understatement. Sure, rivals like Citi and Merrill Lynch have had a calamitous time because of the credit market turmoil too, but for a Swiss bank with a reputation for caution and financial acumen to writedown $43.2bn in assets in the last 12 months, and sustain cumulative losses of some $24bn over the period, is a disaster of epic proportions.

Pressure Grows On Goldman

The smart money is thinking that Goldman Sachs will be impacted by the credit crisis in the third-quarter (UBS analysts has said that the firm may prove 'mortal' this quarter, and that it is 'not immune' to declining profits), and analysts at Deutsche Bank and Oppenheimer have cut the firm's third-quarter earnings estimates. Goldman's share price fell 7.6% last week.

The League Table Of Shame

With most firms now having reported their second-quarter earnings, and therefore writedowns and credit losses, we thought we'd update our credit crunch writedown league table.

Top Firm Imposes Hiring Freeze

In sharp contrast to rival Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch has imposed a global hiring freeze for the rest of 2008. The freeze will be imposed across the board, excepting the firm's retail broking unit, and will even apply to positions where budget has already been allocated. The freeze covers both permanent and temporary positions, and includes replacement hires. Exceptions will be considered, but all applications will need to be submitted to Merrill's Management Committee.

UBS & 'The Smoking Gun'

An interesting item in The Financial Times this week. The newspaper reports that UBS's current top two executives were aware of 'rule breaches' over at the offshore banking unit in the firm's US wealth management business as early as 2006. With the company mired in a US Department of Justice probe into allegations that bank staff helped clients hide assets to evade taxes, was this to be the 'smoking gun' that could undermine the firm's leadership, and heap even more ridiclue on the troubled Swiss bank ? Well, actually, no.