US house prices are falling at a record rate, intensifying fears that the sub-prime mortgage crisis has led to a more widespread housing slump that could further weaken America's economy, The Telegraph reports.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 10 metropolitan areas fell 6.7% compared to October 2006, a record decline. The previous biggest fall was a 6.3% drop recorded in April 1991 just after the recession of the early 1990s.
"No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim," said Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets.
US INVESTOR WARREN Buffett has rebuffed approaches from at least one bank looking for financial assistance to help it through the credit crunch,” according to The Guardian.
Buffett, dubbed the "Sage of Omaha" after decades of successful stock picking, revealed yesterday that he had turned down an approach from a major financial institution that had hoped to persuade him to invest in them.
"So far we have not seen a deal that causes me to start salivating," said Buffett in an interview with CNBC.
He was speaking after his investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway spent $4.5bn (£2.26bn) on a majority stake in Marmon, a US industrial conglomerate, in one of its biggest ever acquisitions.
MEREDITH WHITNEY, THE star banking analyst whose bearish comments this year triggered a $369bn (£186bn) drop on Wall Street, said yesterday that she expects losses at Merrill Lynch to increase fourfold in the fourth quarter of the year, The Times reports.
Ms Whitney, an analyst with CIBC World Markets, predicted yesterday that the US investment bank would incur losses per share of about $2.70, compared with a loss of 50 cents a share previously forecast. Merrill Lynch is expected to have incurred losses of approximately $16bn over the year.
She also said that she expected Merrill to write off another $7bn of bad investments during the fourth quarter and predicts that the bank will continue to make further writedowns throughout next year.
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