White powder in about a dozen envelopes sent to Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones executives turned out to be harmless, the New York Police Department said on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.
The letters contained flour or another food-based substance, police spokesman Paul Browne told Reuters. He said that such letters often are hoaxes.
The envelopes went to Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson, Dow Jones & Co Chief Executive Les Hinton and Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
About 10 more envelopes turned up in the Journal's mailroom, spokesman Robert Christie said earlier in the day. The envelopes were sent from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Dow Jones evacuated two floors of its lower Manhattan headquarters. Five employees were quarantined and later released, according to an employee memo from human resources chief Gregory Giangrande.
A RIFT HAS OPENED UP BETWEEN the government and the financial authorities after a furious Alistair Darling was kept in the dark over the lifting of the ban on short-selling, which may have contributed to this week's tumultuous crash in the value of banking shares reports The Guardian.
The chancellor is thought to have been given just one hour's notice by the Financial Services Authority that hedge funds would once again be able to place bets that bank shares would fall. Darling believes the ban will have to be reintroduced, given the fragility of the financial system.
Shares in high street banks have crashed since the ban was removed at the end of last week. Barclays lost a quarter of its stockmarket value on Friday and fell a further 10% yesterday to close at 66.1p. This values Barclays at just £5.3bn, the same as the profits it intends to report for 2008. There are rumours that it hopes to bring forward its results to end concerns about its financial health.
THE ASSET MANAGER BLACKROCK continued the sector's recent torrid time when it yesterday posted a bigger-than-expected 84 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profits as sliding markets hurt fees and it marked down the value of investments in hedge funds. The biggest publicly traded US asset manager was cautious about market conditions in 2009, according to The Independent.
The New York-based company posted a net income of $53m for the quarter compared with $322.4m, last year. Adjusted for certain items, earnings for the quarter were 68 cents a share. That was below analyst estimates.
BlackRock's income was reduced by non-operating expenses of $293m, including investment losses of $124m from investing its own capital in hedge funds and $91m from investing in real estate products.
NORTHERN ROCK TRIGGERED A row last night when it revealed that it was preparing to pay about £9m in staff bonuses reports The Times.
The nationalised bank confirmed that almost all its 4,500 employees would receive bonuses worth 10 per cent of annual pay tomorrow. For an average employee, that will amount to about £2,000.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, slammed the payments and called on the Government to block them. "This is bringing the worst of the City bonus culture into a public body," he said. "When millions of people are facing pay cuts or even unemployment, this is indefensible."
Senior Rock executives, including Gary Hoffman, the chief executive, are expected to be awarded much bigger bonuses, but these have yet to be approved by the board remuneration committee.
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