The New York Post reports that the $854m fourth-quarter loss reported last week by Bear Stearns has given risen again to speculation that the firm might be a takeover target. Bear managed a mere 1.8% return on equity for its 2007 fiscal year, after fixed income losses and revenue falls (prime brokerage revenues fell some 17%).
Reuters reports that BlackRock has suspended cash withdrawals from its $1bn Cash Strategies LLC fund after Moody's cut its ratings to 'junk' status.
The Financial Times reports that Morgan Stanley is reviewing the position of Chief Risk Officer Tom Daula, who, according to the newspaper, some claim 'was too late in sounding the alarm' about the firm's subprime lending-related problems. Others say that Daula's repeated warnings fell on deaf ears.
The Times reports that Swiss regulator the Federal Banking Commission looks set to launch an investigation into what went wrong over at UBS this year - the firm has been forced to write-down around $14bn in subprime lending-related assets.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Bank of America, Citi and JPMorgan Chase are walking away after failing to attract the funds required for their much-touted $80bn 'SuperSIV'. The idea never really caught on as it was seen as an expensive option, and firms have been lauching their own initiatives or taking SIV liabilities onto their own balance sheets.
Finally, The Financial Times reports that investment banks are still falling over themselves to recruit top commodity trading talent, even pulling traders out of retirement and paying huge sign-ons and bonus guarantees. The newspaper also reports, however, that traders generally are facing a 'triple whammy' which will make their jobs harder - rising stock market volatility, smaller trading volumes and weakened bank balance sheets.
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