Goldman, Lehman, Merrill, Nomura

Goldman Sachs has announced the sale of the fixed income division of its specialist trading arm, Spear, Leeds & Kellogg. The deal with First Horizon National Corp. is likely to close at the end of the year. Goldman is expected to receive around $150m. Fears that Goldman is looking to get rid of the whole of Spear, Leeds appear groundless, as Goldman acquired the unit four years ago mostly for its stock trading franchise.

Lehman Brothers has settled an Enron-related claim with the University of California. The university is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against several investment banks who sold investors securities in the failed energy giant. Lehman has agreed to pay $222.5m to consign the matter to history.

And talking of Enron, the jurors are now deliberating in the trial of six former Enron and Merrill Lynch officials who have been accused of fraud and conspiracy in connection with the sale of three Nigerian power barges in 1999. A US government win on this case is being seen as fairly key, as it would heap the pressure on other 'Enron affair' defendants.

Finally, Nomura. Net profit for the 6 months to 30th September fell 49% to $413.6m, mainly due to a slowdown in the bond markets and increased costs at the firm's investment banking division. The bank's Asian, European and US operations lost $163m in the period, as the firm hired 83 staff in the US and 51 equity derivatives traders and other staff in the UK. Nomura's shares are down 26% so far this year.

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