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The Worst Week For Bad News This Year

Crumpled 2007 Calendar

This week is turning out to be the worst week for bad news this year. Kicking us off Monday was the news that UBS was to write-down a further $10bn in subprime lending-related assets. The bank will probably now post a full-year loss, Chairman Marcel Ospel has confirmed that he doesn't want and won't get a bonus, and the investment bank will continue to operate without a full time head (at least until the Swiss figure out what to do with it). And, all over the financial markets, everyone is wondering where the next shoe will drop. Although Citi is the obvious candidate, many feel that there's still some more pain to come over at Merrill Lynch too.

Top Firm Takes Another $10bn Hit

UBS HQ Archway

UBS was the first firm to come out and fire its CEO a few months back (it started a trend), the first to announce significant losses as a result of US subprime lending-related problems, and the first to confirm that it was to embark on a major job cull (1,500 are losing their jobs over at the investment bank). The shock announcement today that the bank is to write off a further $10bn in subprime assets will serve notice to all those who thought we were over the worst.

Bear, Citi, Credit Suisse, JPM, Merrill, Morgan Stanley, WestLB

Bloomberg reports that currency trader Joseph Lewis, already Bear Stearn's second-largest investor, has increased his stake in the firm to 8%, taking his total investment to around $1bn. With Bear shares down 40% this year, Lewis clearly feels that the stock is trading near the bottom.

$4m 'Ocean's 11' Heist Said To Have Affected Top Firm (Updated)

Oceans 11

Unconfirmed reports are coming in about a daring 'Ocean's Eleven'-type robbery said to have taken place at a data centre in the Kings Cross area of London late last night. Thieves, said to have been dressed as police officers, are thought to have handcuffed security guards and walked off with around $4m of computer hardware, including motherboards and processors.

A Goldman Moment

FT Alphaville reports on the uproar in the US this week when Goldman's lead economist, Jan Hatzius, put out what has been described as a 'fear' note, sugessting that the end of the world was nigh (among other things he is said to have predicted a 15% slump in US house prices).

Citi, Credit Suisse, UBS, Man Group, Morgan Stanley

Citi executive Vikram Pandit may well be the most likely insider to ascend to the vacant company CEO position, but, according to The Wall Street Journal, the hedge fund he founded (Old Lane Partners, the one acquired by Citi for $800m earlier this year) isn't doing as well. The newspaper quotes Hedge Fund Research, which says that Old Lane is now showing gains of around 3% this year, which compares badly to the 10% average gain seen by hedgies so far in 2007.

More Doom & Gloom

Reuters reports that US bank stocks fell Tuesday after continuing concerns about how subprime lending-related losses would impact fourth-quarter earnings. Shares in Goldman, Lehman, Merrill and Morgan Stanley all fell after JPMorgan Chase cut its earnings estimate for each firm. Citi has also cut its fourth-quarter estimates for Goldman, Lehman and Merrill (pointing to challeges in fixed income), although the company has keep its forecast for Morgan Stanley unchanged.



Ex-UBS bid-riggers may get less jail time

Ex-UBS Managing Director Peter Ghavami and two former colleagues convicted of rigging municipal bond investment deals may be sentenced to less prison time than the government is seeking, a federal judge said.