My note –
The news anchors, financial “experts” and bankers are dancing around, slapping each other on the back and saying to one another, “Well, we’ve made it. It’s (the Recession) is all over. Everything will get better from here. I guess the bottom was back whenever it was and it will go back to normal now.”
Those aren’t the exact words but near enough to the common themes across most all of the news groups especially among the financial news shows and “experts.” Tonight, the steaks are sizzling, the cognac is flowing, they will screw their women (paid or otherwise) and happy back patting with big Cheshire grin smiles will flash between every knowing participant. It must be all over because they think so and surely they would know – whoever they are, whether bank CEOs, CFOs, politicians in the Financial Services committees, stock market traders and brokerage owners, Republicans, conservatives, well-heeled and coiffed political and business players beholden to the PACS and campaign bupps and bubbas.
– cricketdiane, 04-02-09
Swiss Insurer To Slash 1,000 Jobs Worldwide
12:10pm UK, Thursday April 02, 2009
Worlds largest reinsurer Swiss Re outgoing Chairman Peter Forstmoser (R) and designated Chairman Walter Kielholz shake hands at the end of the annual general meeting of the company in Zurich March 13, 2009. Troubled reinsurer Swiss Re should be able to generate enough funds to buy back convertible bonds issued to Warren Buffetts Berkshire. (Picture caption)
Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, is to cut almost 1,000 jobs worldwide.
“Swiss Re intends to reduce its current global headcount of 11,560 by approximately 10% over the next 12 months,” a company statement said.
“The job cuts are expected to focus mainly on back office and similar functions rather than on the company’s relationship managers.”
2:30pm UK, Thursday April 02, 2009
Nearly 1,000 jobs are being axed at aircraft maker Bombardier in Belfast, Sky sources have said.
The figure is on top of 300 jobs that were axed earlier this year, taking the job total toll to just under 1,300 for 2009.
Canadian-owned Bombardier produces planes for a worldwide market.
The firm, which is struggling with £27m of debts, specialises in small and medium-sized aircraft for regional markets, and is best known for its Learjet executive plane.
It has appointed Begbies Traynor as administrators of the business.
Three directors – Rupert Lowe, Andrew Cowen and Michael Wilde – have resigned with immediate effect.
10:18am UK, Monday March 30, 2009
Workers in the financial services industry are losing their jobs at the fastest rate since 1993.
A survey by business lobby group CBI and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the number of people employed in financial services fell dramatically in the three months to early March.
[ . . . ]
The survey revealed a sixth successive heavy quarterly decline in business volumes, with only 9% of financial services firms saying volumes had risen and 56% reporting a drop.
The CBI also reported steep falls in profitability, while investment plans have been scaled back.
Among major job reduction announcements in the period, RSA Insurance said it would axe 1,200 UK jobs by the middle of next year, while RBS also announced it planned to cull 2,300 jobs.
January saw Barclays slash 2,130 positions in investment banking and investment management, and announce it was in consultations over a further 2,100 cuts in retail, commercial banking and credit card divisions.
[ . . . ]
“Sharp drops in revenues and profitability are causing continued suffering, while business volumes remain very weak.
3:50pm UK, Thursday April 02, 2009
Derek Simpson, the union’s joint leader, said: “The announcement by Aviva to cut 1,100 staff will cause alarm across the insurance industry.
“Today we see a scenario where a company that is continuing to deliver positive results is slashing the staff that have enabled them to weather the current financial storm.”
“Unite is angry that Aviva is repeating what appears to be an annual exercise of cutting thousands of staff.”
He added: “It is unacceptable that once again shareholders received their full dividends, while the workers who brought the company this success are rewarded with job losses.”
Insurance giant Aviva has confirmed it is to axe 1,700 jobs.
Norwich Union Life, which is owned by Aviva, said 1,100 permanent jobs by the end of the year, while a further 590 contract positions would end in the next few months.
The company said 349 permanent and 222 contract jobs would be cut in York, 226 permanent and 254 contract jobs in Norwich, 54 permanent and 43 contract jobs in Sheffield and 35 permanent and 68 contract posts in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
By FLOYD NORRIS
The new guidelines could reduce the losses banks have been forced to report as the values of their securities have crumbled.
A once-obscure accounting rule that infuriated banks, who blamed it for worsening the financial crisis, was changed Thursday to give banks more discretion in reporting the value of mortgage securities.
The change seems likely to allow banks to report higher profits by assuming that the securities are worth more than anyone is now willing to pay for them. But critics objected that the change could further damage the credibility of financial institutions by enabling them to avoid recognizing losses from bad loans they have made.
Critics also said that since the rules were changed under heavy political pressure, the move compromised the independence of the organization that did it, the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
During the financial crisis, the market prices of many securities, particularly those backed by subprime home mortgages, have plunged to fractions of their original prices. That has forced banks to report hundreds of billions of dollars in losses over the last year, because some of those securities must be reported at market value each three months, with the bank showing a profit or loss based on the change.
Bankers bitterly complained that the current market prices were the result of distressed sales and that they should be allowed to ignore those prices and value the securities instead at their value in a normal market.
[ . . . ]
“There is a perception that we are yielding to political pressure,” one board member, Lawrence W. Smith, said as he voted for the changes.
It is not clear how much bank profits will improve as a result of the change; that will depend on how much the banks use their newly approved discretion to set values. Nor is it clear whether investors will put much faith in the new figures.
Early answers to those questions may become available within a few weeks. The board said banks could apply the new rules to their financial statements for the quarter that ended this week.
[ . . . ]
The five-member board approved three changes to the rules, two by unanimous votes and one with two dissents. That disputed change makes it possible for banks to keep some declines in asset values off their income statements.
Robert H. Herz, the board’s chairman and the man who faced the Congressional pressure, said he voted for the changes because he thought the improved disclosures would help investors.
Mr. Smith said he had considered changing his vote as recently as Thursday morning. That would have led to the defeat of one change sought by the banks and perhaps set off a confrontation with Congress. “But,” he said, “I ultimately decided this is an improvement, because we have significantly improved the amount of information” being disclosed.
The American Bankers Association, which pushed legislators to demand the board make changes, praised the board. “Today’s decision should improve information for investors by providing more accurate estimates of market values,” said Edward Yingling, the association’s president.
One change adopted by the board would require banks to disclose the effect of the changed interpretation, although the final wording has not been released and it is not clear how detailed that disclosure will be.
For some other assets, banks must write them down to market value only if they conclude that the decline is “other than temporary.” The measure that drew dissents will allow banks to keep part of such declines off their income statements, although the decline would still show on the institutions’ balance sheets.
One of the dissenters, Thomas J. Linsmeier, argued that accounting rules already allowed the “fiction all banks are well capitalized,” adding that the changes would “make them seem better capitalized.”
Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
Principles for Sound Liquidity Risk Management and Supervision
Fundamental principle for the management and supervision of liquidity risk
A bank is responsible for the sound management of liquidity risk. A bank should establish a robust liquidity risk management framework that ensures it maintains sufficient liquidity, including a cushion of unencumbered, high quality liquid assets, to withstand a range of stress events, including those involving the loss or impairment of both unsecured and secured funding sources.
Supervisors should assess the adequacy of both a bank’s liquidity risk management framework and its liquidity position and should take prompt action if a bank is deficient in either area in order to protect depositors and to limit potential damage to the financial system.
8. A bank should establish a robust liquidity risk management framework that is well integrated into the bank-wide risk management process. A primary objective of the liquidity risk management framework should be to ensure with a high degree of confidence that the firm is in a position to both address its daily liquidity obligations and withstand a period of liquidity stress affecting both secured and unsecured funding, the source of which could be bank-specific or market-wide.
In addition to maintaining sound liquidity risk governance and management practices, as discussed further below, a bank should hold an adequate liquidity cushion comprised of readily marketable assets to be in a position to survive such periods of liquidity stress.
A bank should demonstrate that its liquidity cushion is commensurate with the complexity of its on- and off-balance sheet activities, the liquidity of its assets and liabilities, the extent of its funding mismatches and the diversity of its business mix and funding strategies.
A bank should use appropriately conservative assumptions about the marketability of assets and its access to funding, both secured and unsecured, during periods of stress. Moreover, a bank should not allow competitive pressures to compromise the integrity of its liquidity risk management, control functions, limit systems and liquidity cushion.
Mansion Fire: Millionaire’s ‘Financial Woes’
2:58pm UK, Thursday April 02, 2009
A millionaire who is thought to have killed his wife and teenage daughter before setting fire to his mansion was in “severe financial difficulty”, an inquest has heard.
Police believe he killed his 49-year-old wife, Jill, and 15-year-old daughter, Kirstie, at their £1.2m home in Maesbrook, Shropshire, before torching the property and committing suicide.
Their burnt bodies were found in Osbaston House days after the blaze in August last year.
[ . . . ]
The pathologist was unable to say how long it would have taken Mr Foster to be overcome by the blaze but said he probably died in “tens of minutes”.
Dr Kolar said he could not rule out the millionaire had been shot but found no gunshot wounds to his brain or any vital organs.
Kirstie, Christopher and Jill Foster
He said Mrs Foster died as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, which appeared to have been carried out by another person.
There was no indication the housewife was alive during the fire, he said.
Kirstie had a wound to the left side of her head, caused by a high velocity impact.
It was likely the teenager died as a result of a gunshot wound, Dr Kolar said, but he could not rule out the possibility that her injury was caused by falling debris.
The court was also told alcohol was found in Mr Foster’s urine, indicating he may have been drinking on the night of the fire.
Thursday, April 2, 2009, 12:47pm CDT
New unemployment claims continues rise
Nashville Business Journal
The number of people filling new unemployment claims rose to the highest level in more than 25 years in the week ending March 28.
Seasonally adjusted initial claims was 669,000 nationally for the week, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 657,000, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department.
The four-week moving average was 656,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 650,250.
State data released for the week ending March 21 showed Tennessee had 11,307 new jobless claims, down 2,707 from the week earlier, but 6,548 higher than a year earlier.
The four-week moving average of those collecting unemployment benefits in Tennessee has risen to 116,868. In February, the state had a total unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, with a seasonally adjusted 12.5 million unemployed people in the state. The national unemployment rate for February was 8.4 percent.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate — the percentage of the workforce collecting unemployment benefits — was 4.3 percent for the week ending March 21, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.
The number of seasonally adjusted insured unemployed during the week was 5,728,000, an increase of 161,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 5,567,000. The 4-week moving average was 5,496,500, an increase of 163,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 5,333,000.
The fiscal year-to-date average for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for all programs is 4.7 million.
Foreclosure Surge in Feb. is “Surprising,” RealtyTrac Says
By PAUL JACKSON
March 13, 2009 8:13 AM CST
Foreclosures nationwide surged 6 percent from January levels, and were up 30 percent from year-ago, according to data released Thursday morning by RealtyTrac, which provides nationwide listings of properties in foreclosure and owned by banks.
The company’s data showed that foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 290,631 U.S. properties during the month, compared to 274,399 one month earlier.
The increase in foreclosure activity from January to February is somewhat surprising, given that many of the foreclosure prevention efforts and moratoria in place in January were extended through most of February as well,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
Saccacio highlighted the effects of recent legislation in the foreclosure data, as well, including a 45-day voluntary moratorium in Florida expired at the end of January; foreclosure activity there was up 14 percent from the previous month, as a result. And New York saw foreclosures surge 23 percent, after a new state law had delayed the foreclosure process by an extra 90 days.
Nationally, the increase in what’s called “foreclosure activity” was actually driven by two components — new borrower defaults and an increase in reported REO inventory. Actual foreclosure sales appear to have decreased, owing to the effect of new and pending legislation that is increasingly seeking to keep borrowers in their homes at almost any cost. Notice of Defaults and Lis Pendens — the first step in the foreclosure process — increased 10.6 percent between January and February, while reported REO volume increased 5.9 percent. In contrast, Notices of Trustee Sale and Notices of Foreclosure Sale — the final step in foreclosure that signals a courthouse auction is imminent — actually fell 1.4 percent.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 80,775 California properties in February, RealtyTrac said, the most of any state and a 5 percent increase from the previous month. The state’s foreclosure activity increased 51 percent from February 2008, with auction sale notices increasing nearly 179 percent — the most of any category on a year-over-year basis.
Florida and Arizona continued to rank second and third in overall foreclosure volume, according to the report.
Write to Paul Jackson at email@example.com.
Impac’s future could resemble Thornburg’s fall
The two mortgage lenders are ailing and their prospects for continued survival amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are dimming.
Published April 1, 2009 at 2:49 PM
Another mortgage company bites the dust. Thornburg Mortgage Inc. said Wednesday that it expects to file for Chapter 11, close shop and sell off its remaining assets. While the news is not surprising, the market has forced many to refocus their businesses or face extinction.
There’s not many public mortgage lenders left as the sector has contracted in step with the downfall of residential real estate. Meanwhile, the few who’ve survived and restructured still have an uphill road ahead of them. One such company and former Thornburg competitor is Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. (OTC:IMPM).
Although Impac Mortgage CEO Joseph Tomkinson pledged in 2007 his company would not go bankrupt, it’s hard to see why not. The mortgage lender has fallen to a penny stock and was forced in August 2007 to get out of its primary bread-and butter of investing primarily in non-conforming Alt-A residential loans, and to a lesser extent, small balance commercial and multifamily loans. Alt-A and its riskier cousin sub-prime are the type of mortgages that helped sink the mortgage industry and sicken the rest of the financial services industry.
Although Impac has moved on to offer new services that include asset management, escrow services and financial consulting, the restructuring, however, might be too little too late. Despite registering a stronger third-quarter in November compared to the same year-ago period, it still reported a net loss of $16.2 million, or $0.26 per diluted shared. In the third quarter 2007, Impac recorded a staggering net loss of $1.2 billion or $15.70 per share.
What the company does have in cash is $24.5 million as of September from a buyout of an advisory services agreement. The amount, however, seems paltry compared to its precarious situation. Impac’s recent entrance into new sectors within the mortgage industry seem plausible but it will take a long time to make inroads in these areas as Americans are buying less homes and becoming more conservative with their finances. – Gerald Magpily
See Thornburg press release
Chicago newspaper files for bankruptcy
The company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and 58 other newspapers and online sites said Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 12:44
The Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. said it would continue to operate its newspapers and Web sites as usual while it improves its cost structure and stabilizes operations.
The company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and 58 other newspapers and online sites said Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Tuesday’s announcement comes amid a raft of newspaper closings and cuts that has seen the end of print editions of The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado; The Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and The Christian Science Monitor.
The Rocky Mountain News shut down completely; both the Seattle paper and the Christian Science Monitor remain in online editions.
The chain that owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune is in bankruptcy and other papers are on the brink. And two industry giants, The Washington Post and The New York Times, announced last week they are cutting costs and staff amid tumbling revenue and continued economic decline.
The Sun-Times said similar cost-cutting measures failed to turn around the company’s fortunes.
“The significant downturn in the print advertising environment that has affected newspapers across the country has continued to severely impact us,” said Jeremy Halbreich, chairman and interim chief executive of the Sun-Times Media Group. “Unfortunately, this deteriorating economic climate, coupled with a significant, pending IRS tax liability dating back to previous management, has led us to today’s difficult action.”
Halbreich said the company would explore the potential sale of assets or new investment in the company to help it remain viable.
At least 120 newspapers in the United States have shut down since January 2008, according to Paper Cuts, a Web site tracking the newspaper industry. More than 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers have vaporized in that time, according to the site.
Newspapers have struggled to meet challenges posed by changing reader habits, a shifting advertising market, an anemic economy, and the newspaper industry’s own early strategic errors.
“We provide the area’s best source of local news and information and remain committed to continuing to serve our readers, advertisers, and communities,” Halbreich said. “We have enjoyed a long, rich history in the Chicago area and our goal is to preserve and sustain these strong print and online news and information assets that are such an integral part of the fabric of Chicago and its neighboring communities.”
The company said it expects the Chapter 11 process to be completed this year.
U.S. President Obama to address Turkish Parliament
Truck slams into California bookstore; 2 dead, 12 hurt
Man’s legs believed severed to fit in coffin
Mexico’s legalisation solution
US marshals seize Madoff property
Indictment: Group shackled, tortured teen
Venezuelan offer for Guantanamo
US ‘lie detector’ marine on trial
Police die in Mexico attack
New Yorkers boycott Motorola for Palestinians
Clinton backs talks with Taliban
US senators urge end to Cuba ban
Canadian hitman admits killing 28
Argentine post-junta leader dies
US court dismisses smoking appeal
Mexico sentences 5 to almost 1,000 years in jail
Octuplets hospital workers fired
Arab-Latam bid for a diverse world
Mexico vows to win drug war
Auto firms face Obama ultimatum
White House ‘forces out GM boss’
US soldier guilty of murdering bound Iraqi
Obama expected to visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque while in İstanbul
Bishop dogged by abuse allegations dies
US soldier’s trial for killing of 4 Iraqis to open
Man kills eight at US care home
Cambodia ready for Khmer Rouge genocide trial
Obama plans climate summit
‘Dumb’ thief picks police summit
Alaska’s Mount Redoubt erupts again
“Obama aims at revitalising relations with Turkey during upcoming visit”
Americans spend 8 hours a day on screens
America’s costly halal food
Muslim Brotherhood leader to step down
Colombia shocked by incest case
Alaska volcano in a series of eruptions
WTC skyscraper won’t be ‘Freedom Tower’
5 Colombian soldiers killed in minefield
Flood fear forces US evacuations
US man sorry over Gandhi auction
New video released about 9 11
Years after the attacks on WTC, a new video was released about the terrific event.
My note –
Taking a quick look across the news items above, I just had to list them here because they really give a unique and interesting look at the overall picture in the eyes of the group who selected them.
– cricket diane