STOCKMARKETS AROUND the world will be looking out for the opening of trading in New York later today after the key Dow Jones Industrial Average index yesterday threatened to drop below the key 10,000 points level.
Widely seen as a marker of market confidence, the 10k level was heralded as proof of the strength of the bull market of the 1990s when it was first crossed.
Since the Madrid bombings, markets around the world have dropped below their levels seen at the start of the year. Yesterday’s news Israel is stepping up its campaign of assasinations also unsettled the markets The Times says.
FEARS OF A terrorist attack of the kind that brought down the New York World Trade Center towers in September 2001 could prove twice as costly for insurers today, according to new calculations published by US investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The FT reports the cost issue is more accute because most insurers have not reinsured their risks, as reinsurance premiums became too expensive following the September 2001 attacks.
In the wake of the Madrid bombings, many insurers are likely to be seriously concerned about their exposures to terrorism-related risk given they are operating “naked”, i.e., without reinsurance cover.
US government backing of insurance costs beyond the first $12.5bn claimed for any terrorist-related incident in that country will run out at the end of next year unless Congress extends coverage further into the future, the FT adds.
THE FSA IS putting investment banks on notice they must improve their internal practices to stamp out potential conflicts of interest affecting equities analysts, The Daily Telegarph reports.
The regualtor may levy fines on those banks it deems to have refused to alter their practices sufficiently.
The new rules come after investigations into the way analysts pumped up shares in firms that also happened to be investment banking clients cost the industry more than $1.4bn in fines in the US.
The FSA has ruled out similar tough measures here in the UK, at least for now, saying it prefers to let the banks to carry the burden of policing the new regulations.
AVIVA BOSS Richard Harvey will be £38,000 per year better off in retirement after the announcement his pension fund was topped up by £1.1m last year, reports The Times today.
The additional funds will offset some of the hurt felt by the sharp fall in Harvey’s pay to £1.1m from £1.42m in 2002 - when bonuses were paid for the successful merger of CGU and NU.
MIXED FEELINGS greeted the EU’s decision to fine Microsoft a record 497m euros.
The sum, equal to about $600m dollars has upset the company, but industry watchers note that represents only about three to four weeks of cashflow into the company’s coffers. Microsoft has more than $50bn in cash and short term deposits on hand, and has been under pressure from shareholders to return some of the money.IFAonline
Vitality at Work scheme
Reporting to Steve Hill
Appointed on 19 September
Plans to double size in five years
Unnamed company valuation reduced