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Switch on the sterling pound printers, Schroders advises Number 10

LONDON | Although under threats of a possible sovereign debt rating downgrade, the UK’s government showed how to take advantage of the little margin for manoeuvre available when presenting the 2012 budget. Some pro-business measures would boost growth, said investing management firm Schroders, but they will not be enough to avoid a return to the Bank of England’s monetary expansion programme. Schroders released its viewpoint over the coming months and pointed…


The City is having a good time as some of the worst risks over the euro area ease

LONDON | The volume of business in the financial services sector grew for the eighth quarter running and at well above the average pace in the three months to March. A CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey reported this week green shoots in the City, with the first rise in optimism among financial services firms (+32%) in a year and an unexpected increase in employment in the sector (a balance of +19%). Ian McCafferty, CBI…

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Friday’s graph: 2-year Italian bond yields

AFI analysts duly noted on Friday that markets have again focused their irritation on Italy and Spain. Corrections have shown a measure of the punishment investors are willing to inflict on those euro zone member countries seen as the weakest link unless Brussels gets its act together, since domestic solutions will necessarily be patchy. “Spanish and Italian sovereign debts have this week become protagonists, particularly over the short section of…


What Wall Street read: Spanish strike doesn’t help to get down bond yields

NEW YORK | US media coverage of Spanish general strike was scarce in the morning, and increased during the day, never making the biggest headline. The online edition of major generalist or business newspaper didn’t include it among their main subjects, or did only briefly. NYT kept it in a low position.  WSJ reported on it only on its World section, and the strike wasn’t even the leading headline there….


How much cheaper would they want Europe to be to make a good deal?

NEW YORK | Yields on Greek bonds are the highest ever. Spanish and Italians are pretty good also. If they pay back, it could be a very sweet deal for every savvy investor. And private assets are on sale too. In 2010, Apollo Global Management bought a portfolio of distressed property loans owned by Credit Suisse for about $1.2 billion, a roughly 50 percent discount to the face value, according…

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Wednesday’s quick graph: market volatility feels tired

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. Since its introduction in 1993, VIX has been considered by many to be the world’s premier barometer of investor sentiment and market volatility. And analysts at Morgan Stanley pointed out on Wednesday that it is at is lowest level in the last five years.


“Most bankers cannot see beyond the daily negative headlines about Greece”

By Begoña Castiella, in Athens |Yorgos Peristeris is CEO at the Greek construction company Gek Terna and chairman of Terna Energy, specialised in renewable energy. Peristeris smiles from his desk at the top floor of the company’s headquarters, an interesting building designed by Michael Hopkins in Athens. Gek Terna is a renowned construction company, while Terna Energy is the first Greek renewable energy company working outside Greece, although both are listed on…


Spanish banks’ return on average total assets unchanged from 2010

MADRID | In the sector’s consolidated income statement, the Spanish Banking association AEB reported on Wednesday a net interest income of €50.725 billion, which is an increase by almost 2% of the amount reached in 2010 and maintains profitability levels over average total assets (ATA) at 2.23%, with just a one hundredth less difference. All with an evolution of ATA by 2.7% higher than those managed in 2010. EAB admitted, though, that the…

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Morningstar Europe reports investors’ comeback to corporate debt

LONDON | Morningstar Europe reported Tuesday that February update showed net positive inflows, with investors adding more than €15 billion in new assets to long-term European-domiciled funds. Fixed-income funds attracted the vast majority of investor cash, with some €12.5 billion in inflows, the asset class’ highest inflow figure since August 2010. Equity funds saw a modest outflow of investor capital, while money market funds lost €13 billion. Morningstar research said that funds focused…

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The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index’ excessive optimism

MADRID | At Barclays Spain, analysts have spotted an oddity. They say that in the United States market participants seem to discount two elements that appear to be contradictory: on one hand, that the Federal Reserve will keep its expanding monetary policy going on for the time being, something that Ben Bernanke would have made clear last Monday; and on the other hand, that the US economy will grow above expectations. “but the…