Trading Now

Trading Now

Friday, September 25, 2009


*so much for disclosure
Record loan losses hit U.S. financial sector
Losses on loans at U.S. banks and other lenders rose to $53 billion in the first quarter, almost triple the previous high, reached in 2002, said a group of regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Nonbank lenders, particularly hedge funds, hold $1 of every $3 in troubled loans and 47% of all distressed loans. Loans made to media and telecommunications companies were in the worst state. Lending to the financial-services sector was the next worst, followed by loans to property companies. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (25 Sep.)

*but on the bright side (yeah right)
Home-loan applications soar as interest rates fall in U.S.
The average interest rate for U.S. home mortgages fell to less than 5%, and loan applications surged 13%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. The nationwide average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.97%. The application surge amounted to a 50% increase compared with the end of June. "This is a pretty rare planetary alignment," said Stew Larsen, Bank of the West's head of mortgage banking. "I don't know if I'd call it a boom just yet, but it's definitely a boomlet." Los Angeles Times (25 Sep.)

*and the not so bright side
Existing-home sales in U.S. see first decline since March
The sales volume for existing homes in the U.S. took a surprising turn downward in August, dropping 2.7%, the National Association of Realtors said. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected sales to reach an annual rate of 5.35 million, but the actual number came up short, with an annual rate of 5.1 million. "The improvement in the housing market is not going to be a smooth rise but a choppy, upward trend," said Zach Pandl, an economist at Nomura Securities International. Bloomberg (24 Sep.)

*good luck
IRS auditors told to target loans by offshore funds, firms
Offshore companies and hedge funds suspected of improperly using tax breaks in their lending to U.S. clients are coming under intensified scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. In a directive, the IRS' international department told a field director in New York City to pay close attention to foreign corporations and nonresident immigrants originating loans in the U.S. The directive noted that such loans from offshore entities are subject to U.S. taxes when origination takes place in the U.S. Bloomberg (24 Sep.)

*and there off
Asian stocks fall on bank's fundraising, U.S. housing data
Asian-Pacific stocks were pulled lower Friday after Japan's Nomura announced that it will raise funds. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.6%, China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5% and New Zealand's NZX 50 dropped 0.6%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 and Taiwan's Taiex gained 0.3%, while South Korea's Kospi Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched down 0.1%. The Wall Street Journal (25 Sep.)

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