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Finance News - part 5

ASML Forecast: Semiconductor Chip Sector Slowdown Expected Despite Solid Q3

ASML Forecast: Semiconductor Chip Sector Slowdown Expected Despite Solid Q3

FINANCE

  • ASML Q3 revenue of €1.46 billion higher than forecasts
  • New orders in Q3 fall to €514 million; expected to rise in Q4
  • Record sales of over €5 billion expected for 2011

Computer chip equipment maker ASML published better than expected third quarter results Wednesday, but maintained predictions of a decline in the semiconductor industry. The Dutch company posted revenue of €1.46 billion ($2 billion), surpassing analysts’ forecasts of around €1.39 billion. Its net profits for the quarter were at €335 million, also higher than predicted.

New orders fell to around €514 million, representing a significant decrease for the world’s number one maker of photolithography equipment, which lays down electronic circuits on silicon wafers to create computer chips.

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Wall Street to Cut Bonuses, Jobs Upon Third-Quarter Data

Wall Street to Cut Bonuses, Jobs Upon Third-Quarter Data

FINANCE

  • Cash bonuses to drop as profit unlikely to reach $20 billion
  • New York City to endure 10,000 job loss in financial sector
  • Report suggests 4 to 6% lower ROE due to new regulations

Following weeks of protest, Wall Street cash bonuses and jobs are expected to be cut as revenue drops from a sluggish economy. 

Last year, cash bonuses were down 8% from 2009, with the average Wall Street cash award slidding 9% in 2010 to $128,500. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli explained to Bloomberg Television that bonuses will be lower yet again because banks will have less money for award payments. His report suggests a slowdown in compensation growth during the second half of 2011 and a shift to larger salaries to compensate for smaller cash bonuses.

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Belgium to Nationalize Local Dexia Arm

Belgium to Nationalize Local Dexia Arm

FINANCE

  • €4 billion part-nationalization part of wider bailout plan
  • Belgium, France, Luxembourg agree 10-year, €90-billion guarantee
  • Shares drop 4.7% after suspension of trading

The Belgian government has agreed to buy the local lending unit of Dexia for €4 billion ($5.4 billion) as part of a wider rescue package for the struggling Franco-Belgian bank. The bailout plan comes after an earlier rescue package for the bank during the financial crisis and includes plans for a €90 billion ($121 billion) guarantee for the next 10 years.

Belgium will put up 60.5% of the funds and France 36.5%, with Luxembourg providing the remaining 3%. Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said these steps were necessary to protect the local retail arm and to reassure Dexia’s shareholders that that their money was fully secured.

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Top Two French Banks Deny $15 Billion Capital Boost

Top Two French Banks Deny $15 Billion Capital Boost

FINANCE

  • BNP Paribas said newspaper claim it will seek to raise $9.4 billion is untrue
  • BNP hopes to reach capital ratio of 9%, 6 years ahead of Basel III schedule
  • Societe Generale denies seeking capital of $5.5 billion

Top French bank BNP Paribas SA said the newspaper claim that it may look to generate $9.4 billion in capital is untrue. The Journal du Dimanche report had also stated that Societe Generale SA might similarly attempt to increase its capital by $5.5 billion as part of a joint move with Germany, which would see the banks in both countries seek to grow capital.

In September, both banks announced plans to avoid depending on US dollar capital and to boost investor confidence. BNP is aiming for a Tier 1 capital ratio of 9%, in accordance with Basel III rules, by 2013. Reaching this rate of financial stability would entail different moves, including reducing its corporate and investment banking segment by $82 billion.

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Moody's Cuts RBS, Lloyds on Government Support Fears

FINANCE

  • Moody's downgrades 12 British lenders, including RBS and Lloyds
  • EU plans recapitalization of $115 billion, Britain unlikely to bailout banks
  • Lloyds refunds customers for misleading PPI information

Moody's Investors Service has reduced credit ratings for twelve British lenders due to fears that the British government may not provide support for the financial sector. Moody's cut five major banks including Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Santander UK, Co-Operative Bank, Nationwide Building Society and seven smaller British banks.

The two other major lenders, Barclays and HSBC, were unharmed. RBS was cut two levels from Aa3 to A2, while Lloyds was cut by one notch from Aa3 to A1.

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Wall Street Protests Gain Momentum Across US

Wall Street Protests Gain Momentum Across US

FINANCE

  • Protests spread to over a dozen US cities
  • Labor unions join in movement
  • Dallas Fed president voices support; NY Mayor slams protesters

The Occupy Wall Street protests against corporate power and social inequality in the United States have spread to over a dozen cities across the country. The movement began as a loosely organized handful of people who began camping out in Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial district on September 17. Now it has spread through ten states, with new groups adding their voices to the movement.

Protesters are angry about corporate greed, corruption in the government and the growing gap between the rich and poor in America.

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Bank of England Gives British Economy $116 Billion Top-Up

Bank of England Gives British Economy $116 Billion Top-Up

FINANCE

  • UK economy previously received $310 billion in quantitative easing
  • EU Central Bank maintains 1.5% interest rate despite signs of recession
  • Bank of England keeps base lending at 0.5%, inflation to reach 5%

The Bank of England has announced it will plough $116 billion into Britain’s economy to protect the country from the ripple effect of the EU debt crisis and to ease the State’s austerity measures, buying government bonds over a four-month period.

The move leads on from an earlier asset purchases initiative that boosted the British economy $310 billion over the 11-month period ending January 2010. It is hoped that a cash injection from selling government bonds will allow the banks to redirect money to cash-strapped individuals and businesses.

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Acquisition: Microsoft Mulling Renewed Yahoo Bid

Acquisition: Microsoft Mulling Renewed Yahoo Bid

FINANCE

  • Microsoft considers partnership to buy out Yahoo says Reuters
  • Bloomberg says Microsoft “nowhere close” to making offer
  • Yahoo shares jump almost 10%

Microsoft is contemplating an offer to buy out Yahoo following its failed attempt in 2008, according to sources with inside knowledge of the dealings.

In an exclusive report by Reuters, sources say the software company is gearing up to compete with other would-be Yahoo owners.

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US Car Sales Climb 10% in September, Nissan Sales Up 25%

US Car Sales Climb 10% in September, Nissan Sales Up 25%

FINANCE

  • September sales for Toyota fell 18%, Honda sales were down 8%
  • Ford sales rose close to 10%, General Motors 20%, and Chrysler more than 25% in September
  • Italy and Spain hit 15-year low

Nissan Motor Co is topping the list of Asia-brand car sellers in the US, with its best sales figures since April surpassing forecasts at 25%. Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp have seen their US market shares fall as they fell short of deliveries, falling almost 2% and 4% over the past year, with September sales down 8% and 18% respectively.

Toyota’s inventory took a 40% dip compared with early October 2010. Toyota, the number one car manufacturer in Asia, was held back by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, but is back to full output levels since September. Nissan suffered less serious supply shortages, having regained full operation since June. The company’s US sales rose 25% in September 2011 compared with the same month in 2010. Volkswagen reported a boost in sales of more than 35%.

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Shaky Kodak Moment as Bankruptcy Fears Stir

Shaky Kodak Moment as Bankruptcy Fears Stir

FINANCE

  • Shares drop by 54% as Kodak hires bankruptcy expert
  • Shareholders reassured bankruptcy not imminent
  • Last profit posted in 2007

Eastman Kodak saw its shares drop by over half following news it had taken on the legal services of a renowned bankruptcy expert. In a statement, the former photography pioneer said it had “no intention of filing for bankruptcy”, saying it had hired the Jones Day law firm in relation to restructuring prospects.

The company reassured shareholders it would meet its financial responsibilities, but it was unable to quell speculation, with stock plummeting as much as 68% before settling at 54% down on 78 cents per share in New York on Friday.

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