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Maybank’s home loan promotion creates a buzz

Other banks won’t get into price war, says OCBC’s chief executive (SINGAPORE) Maybank’s promotional home loan package has apparently drawn massive interest from new home buyers and home owners looking to refinance. But at least one bank here has come out to say that this is unlikely to spark a mortgage price war in Singapore. […]

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$200m note issue from HDB

THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched a $200 million, two year fixed-rate note issue yesterday under its $7 billion medium-term note programme. The issue will have a coupon of 1.64 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears, HDB said. The notes will be issued in denominations of $250,000 and will be offered to […]

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Falling stock volumes reflect bearish market

Many investors stay on sidelines despite STI’s rebound from last month’s drop THE stock market’s recovery after the nasty pre-Chinese New Year selldown was nothing short of spectacular, but the headline numbers tell only half the story. While the Straits Times Index (STI) has shot up 5.7 per cent, or 166 points, in the last […]

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Maybank’s home loan rate cut sets cat among pigeons

Analysts divided on whether this will signal undercutting among the banks (SINGAPORE) Maybank has fired a salvo that could shake up the home loan market here by slashing its rates. This has led to speculation that banks might start to undercut each other to drum up business. Meanwhile, the banks themselves are adopting a cautious […]

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CPF to keep OA interest rate at 2.5% for Apr-June

THE Central Provident Board said yesterday that it will continue to pay 2.5 per cent interest a year for members’ CPF savings in their Ordinary Account (OA) from April 1 to June 30. The concessionary interest rate for HDB mortgage loan, which is pegged at 0.1 percentage point above the CPF interest rate for the […]

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CPF floating rate to be announced next month

THE interest rate for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Special, Medisave and Retirement accounts (SMRA) for April to June this year will be announced next month, after the average yield of the 10-year Singapore Government Security (SGS) is computed, said the CPF Board yesterday. The SMRA is based on the average yield of the 10-year […]

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Capital will keep flowing into Asia, says fund manager

CAPITAL will keep flowing into Asia despite the turbulence across global stock markets, according to a senior executive of an international fund manager. Fidelity International’s global head of institutional investment, Mr Michael Gordon, said long-term investors remain positive on Asia’s prospects, as the region is not plagued by debt problems being witnessed elsewhere in the […]

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BUDGET 2008: ESTATE DUTY – Analysts hail scrapping of estate duty

Story Print Friendly Page Move will boost S’pore’s economic competitiveness ESTATE duty is finally dead. Tax consultants and financial advisers yesterday hailed the scrapping of the tax – denounced as ‘death duty’ by its opponents – saying that the move would boost the wealth management industry and Singapore’s overall economic competitiveness. Eliminating the tax on […]

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Lower interest rates for clients with good credit card record

Citibank is latest to offer tier pricing on rates for unsecured credit products CITIBANK has joined the likes of Standard Chartered Bank (Stanchart) and American Express in introducing a scheme to reward customers with a good credit record with lower interest rates for unsecured credit products. Under the scheme, known as tier pricing, Citibank will […]

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‘Stormy 2008’ expected for financial services

LONDON – THE financial services industry should expect ‘turbulent conditions for 2008 and beyond’ and may report an additional US$300 billion (S$429.8 billion) in losses related to the United States sub-prime crisis, according to a study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman. ‘We expect a stormy 2008,’ Oliver Wyman said in its State Of The Financial […]

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GIC buys a slice of embattled Citigroup

The US$6.88b investment, with limited downside, makes it potentially one of the global bank’s largest shareholders (SINGAPORE) It’s two giant purchases in as many months. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) is investing US$6.88 billion in Citigroup through a private offering of convertible preferred securities, it said yesterday. The downside is limited as the […]

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GIC places $430m with US property hedge fund Rosen

It steps up buying of foreign real estate assets as values plunge, growth slows SAN FRANCISCO – THE Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) is investing in the United States property market, where values have fallen heavily in the past year. GIC committed US$300 million (S$429.2 million) to hedge fund Rosen Real Estate Securities to […]

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GIC pumps $9.8b into troubled Citigroup

THE Government of Singapore Corporation (GIC) is investing US$6.88 billion (S$9.82 billion) in the troubled American banking giant Citigroup, it said last night. It is GIC’s second largest investment and came on a day of dreadful news for Citi, which has been battered by the credit crisis rocking the global financial system. Citi reported US$9.83 […]

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PRIVATE BANKING: Private banks still upbeat on 2008

Sub-prime woes have not changed their expansion plans in this part of the world, private bankers LOSSES suffered by banking giants over sub-prime writedowns have not dampened the ambitious growth plans of their private banking divisions in Singapore. Private banks here are upbeat on 2008, saying the wealth management pie will continue to grow strongly […]

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Will investors’ confidence in bank stocks improve this year?

Developments and results in next few weeks will be closely tracked WITH 2007 behind them, investors in the Singapore-listed banks will be closely watching developments in the next few weeks to see what 2008 has in store. Analysts expect core lending to continue to do well, given strong loans growth so far. But the banks […]

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Funds tailor products for the nest egg

(NEW YORK) Wall Street has repeatedly sounded alarms to spur working Americans to save more for retirement, but it has been less interested in helping convert nest eggs to spendable, post-paycheque income. Of course, mutual funds emphasising dividends have long been available, along with plans for withdrawing principal. More recently, the industry has offered life-cycle […]

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Bull market in Asia in mature stage

Value investing advisable THE bull market in Asia ex-Japan equities is in the mature stage, says Markus Rosgen of Citi Investment Research, and he advises investors to switch from momentum investing towards value. In the value space, Mr Rosgen, Citi’s chief Asian strategist, favours large cap stocks which he says have only just begun to […]

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Sub-prime woes continue to hold sway

ST Index hits two-month low after 2.5 per cent fall, in line with Hang Seng Index AS EXPECTED, the local stock market was unhinged yesterday by Wall Street’s continuing fears over the impact the sub- prime crisis might have on its earnings and the US economy, fears which have now rendered the two interest rate […]

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two cents’ worth – Smart investors scout for the best place to park their money

SPORTS teams consider intelligent scouting vital to their long-term success. The same applies to financial investments. Before deciding where to park their money, investors should scout around for the best bargain; that is, they need to gather and sift through information about the money managers they are considering and the strategies these managers employ. Depending […]

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Financial crises: True picture still to emerge

GLOBAL stock prices tumbled this week in North America and Europe as losses mounted at US banks. Meanwhile, oil and gold prices rose, indicating the jittery mood of international investors. Of course, dips are not unusual: stock markets have suffered bigger single falls in the past. And yet, there is something highly unusual and potentially […]

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Climate Change plans ‘green buildings’ fund

It will start meeting investors in Q12008 to raise ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars (SINGAPORE) Climate Change Capital, a London-based fund manager and adviser on global warming, plans to start a fund to invest in properties that use energy more efficiently. Climate Change, which manages about US$1.6 billion, will start meeting investors in the first […]

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Inflation risks remain high: Citigroup

CPI may not be capturing full extent of inflation pressures: report OVERHEATING and inflation risks in Singapore remain high and further monetary tightening may be on the cards, says Citigroup. While recent government remarks suggest that the economy is not overheating, the US bank – in a Singapore Market Weekly report published yesterday – is […]

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Market hit by property, bank fears

ST Index suffers 1.2 per cent fall, due also to sharp plunge in Hang Seng Index SINGAPORE stocks started the week yesterday on a sour note due to renewed fears in the property and financial sectors, and a sharp plunge in Hong Kong’s main share index. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 45.14 points or […]

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INSIDE MARKETS – More sales deals than buys for the first time in 19 weeks

Bearish sentiment prevails with 17 firms recording 73 disposals last week BUYING activity plunged while sales by directors and substantial shareholders remained constant last week based on filings to the Singapore Exchange from Oct 29 to Nov 2. The sentiment was bearish as sellers recorded more trades than buyers for the first time in the […]

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US rate cuts won’t defuse sub-prime mess: ‘Mr Yen’

Asia, though not much affected so far, must be vigilant (SINGAPORE) Interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve – which have amounted to 75 basis points since Sept 18 – are unlikely to defuse the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, according to the influential economist Eisuke Sakakibara. Mr Sakakibara, formerly Japan’s vice-minister for finance and […]

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Credit crisis has lessons for Asia: SM Goh

Region can learn about risk and crisis management from recent US sub-prime turmoil ASIA has escaped relatively unscathed from the recent global credit crisis, as it has not yet developed newfangled complex financial instruments, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday. But Asia can glean some lessons about risk and crisis management from the recent […]

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Banks lend big for property and share investments

Share financing grows a thumping 74.8% over the year (SINGAPORE) Bank loans to the property sector in September grew at the fastest annual pace in nearly eight years, according to new data released yesterday. Meanwhile, lending by banks to individuals to buy shares rebounded to its highest level since end-July, when the recent financial market […]

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COMMENTARY – Even the experts can get it so badly wrong

History is replete with heavy trading losses that were all too easily incurred WITHIN less than a fortnight, two Singapore shipbuilders have announced massive currency trading losses. How and why these losses were incurred will surface only after investigations have been conducted. However, history is replete with financial case studies of how heavy trading losses […]

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Why the US dollar party may yet end…

… And why the Singapore dollar is the investment holding currency of choice FOR all the foolish chatter about an ‘unprecedented’ meltdown, the ongoing CDO (collateralised debt obligations) crisis is but a re-run of a regular occurrence in the banking industry: that of a cycle of extremely poor credit decisions by professional lenders, in this […]

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Govt won’t let space crunch hinder finance hub ambitions

THE space crunch that has hit the office sector and sent rents soaring will not be allowed to derail Singapore’s aim to be a key financial centre. The pledge came from National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who also pointed out that the tight supply – itself a factor of the booming economy – provides […]

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Real estate stocks hurt after end of payment plan

THE axing of the deferred payment scheme for homebuyers hit home with a vengeance yesterday when property shares dived while the rest of the market soared. The big guns felt the most pain. City Developments fell 50 cents, or 3.1 per cent, to $15.80. Allgreen Properties was down nine cents, or 5.1 per cent, to […]

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WARRANT WATCH – Property contracts in the limelight

WARRANTS of property counters drew the attention of investors yesterday, following the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme last Friday. Homebuyers in Singapore will now have to make progressive payments in step with the construction process, instead of deferring payment till the property is completed a few years later. The most heavily traded CapitaLand contract […]

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Norwegian firms here expect rosy 2008

However, spiralling business and manpower costs are a concern for them MOST Norwegian firms in Singapore expect to see their businesses expand in the next 12 months, as Norway became the sixth-largest foreign investor here in 2005. However, many are increasingly concerned about spiralling business and manpower costs in the city state. In a survey […]

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WALL STREET INSIGHT – Analysts dismiss spectre of crash, but selling’s not over

Last week’s 4% slide due more to recent sharp run-up than to fear of another crisis IN NEW YORK AS STOCKS plummeted on earnings outlooks and renewed credit worries last Friday on the 20th anniversary of Black Monday, Wall Street forecasters couldn’t help but draw parallels to that record-setting dire day of October 19, 1987, […]

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5.5m population more achievable for Singapore

THE 6.5 million population used as a guide for planning purposes in Singapore is not within reach in the next 50 years, an academic said yesterday. Saw Swee Hock of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies said 5.5 million is a more achievable target. Prof Saw – the second Singaporean after former deputy prime minister […]

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Nervousness on the rise as Black Monday anniversary looms

IT’S usually possible to pinpoint a theme or two that drove prices throughout a week just past. Sometimes it’s a play on the banks, other times it’s property, shipping or China. This week though, is remarkable for the fact that there really is no single unifying theme that could be readily identified – except for […]

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Economy’s solid growth to spill into 2008: NTU

It cites uptick in world electronics demand, sizzling construction activity THANKS to the sustained health of the global economy, an uptick in world electronics demand and sizzling construction activity here, the rosy picture for Singapore’s economy will persist into next year, Nanyang Technological University economists said yesterday. Singapore’s gross domestic product is expected to grow […]

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Foreigners sell record US financial assets in Aug

(WASHINGTON) International investors sold a record amount of US financial assets in August as tightening access to credit threatened economic growth and spurred an exodus from American equities. Total holdings of equities, notes and bonds fell a net US$69.3 billion after an increase of US$19.2 billion in July, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday in […]

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TAKING STOCK – Record oil prices beat down markets

Trading curbs on Uni-Asia spark fears of similar moves on other soaring stocks THE bull run in China-related stocks was stopped in its tracks yesterday as bourses from Hong Kong to Sydney turned jittery over soaring crude oil prices. Market sentiment in Singapore was also spooked as some brokerages imposed trading curbs after the recently […]

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Rising S$ will hurt many tech firms: Citibank

LOCAL tech stocks, which have long lagged the surging broader market, may be dealt another blow by the recent appreciation of the Singapore dollar, which is expected to squeeze margins further, Citibank says in a report. Although many tech firms have a natural hedge between revenue and raw material purchases, most have revenue that is […]

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Finance sector: future demand trends

The office space needs of financial institutions are changing globally. CHRIS ARCHIBOLD discusses how Singapore is rising to the challenge THE financial services sector has seen unprecedented growth in Singapore over the last two or three years, both as a result of domestic growth and the influx of regional and global jobs into the market. […]

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Businesses roll with stronger S$ but some brace for a crunch

Singapore companies keep firm eye on competitiveness as US dollar slides (SINGAPORE) Some are thinking of shifting their operations to cheaper locations like China and Vietnam. But for most businesses here, the strengthening Singapore currency and weakening American dollar have not made more than a dent on their cost competitiveness – at least not yet. […]

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Why Singapore is what it is

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was the keynote speaker at the opening of the International Bar Association’s annual conference last night. This is his address. TO UNDERSTAND Singapore, you have to know how we were suddenly thrown out of the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and became an independent state. Peninsular Malaya had been Singapore’s […]

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NEWS ANALYSIS – Asset inflation may not always be a bad thing

Property owners, for instance, could gain as asset prices climb AS RECENTLY as four years ago, it was the fear of falling consumer prices and its corrosive effect on the stock market and residential properties which gave investors sleepless nights. Now, economists are worrying about the very opposite phenomenon – rising levels of inflation and […]

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MAS seeks amendments to financial market laws

Changes aim to enhance regulatory oversight, responsiveness to market innovation LAWS relating to the financial market in Singapore will be amended, with regulators asking for comments on the proposed changes. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has released a policy consultation paper on proposed changes to the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and the Financial […]

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Henderson’s dividend fund wary of Reits

It favours banks as they’re the cheapest sector in Asia HENDERSON Global Investors’ Asian equity dividend fund favours banks but is wary of real estate investment trusts (Reits), its manager said yesterday. Mike Kerley, who manages the US$100 million Horizon Asian Dividend Income Fund, also said the fund was ‘underweight’ exporters due to their vulnerability […]

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Wise not to ignore market risks

SINCE the US Federal Reserve’s somewhat surprising 50-basis points interest rate cut on Sept 18, investors all over the world have piled back into stocks with much gusto. Wall Street on Monday rose to a new all-time high while most Asian markets continue to set records of their own. The mood is once again bullish, […]

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ARA Asset Mgt files prospectus for listing in S’pore

IPO pricing slated for Oct 25 after roadshows; listing on Nov 5: sources REAL estate fund firm ARA Asset Management yesterday filed its prospectus in Singapore for an initial public offering which sources close to the deal said may raise US$200 million for its shareholders and the firm. Singapore-based ARA, which managed US$4.7 billion of […]

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MONEY MATTERS – Yes, sub-primes still offer an investment opportunity

And this is despite the matter having morphed into a more general credit crunch problem By JOSEPH CHONG I RECEIVED a few queries from readers of my last article in BT (‘Deciphering the message of the markets’, Aug 1), which discussed, among other things, the origins of the recent sharp market retrenchment. There were two […]

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Inflation rises to 2.9% – highest since December 1994

Climbing food prices and higher transport and communication costs drive CPI up CONSUMER prices rose by 2.9 per cent last month from a year earlier, the biggest increase since 1994, as the effects of the goods and services tax (GST) hike continued to set in. The August figure came in above the median market expectation […]

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INSIDE MARKETS – Buy and sell transactions hit low levels; fund managers quiet

PURCHASES by directors and substantial shareholders was low for a second straight week with only 34 companies posting 72 ‘buys’, based on filings on the Singapore Exchange from Sept 17 to 21. The figures were consistent with the previous week’s 35 companies and 72 acquisitions. Investors should note that the buying has been low in […]

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Rising costs, competition top list of SME concerns

Annual poll shows firms are squeezed by higher wages, input costs, rents RISING business costs have overtaken staffing issues as one of the top hurdles faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), an annual survey has found. Stiff competition, a perennial worry, is the top concern, but escalating costs were the next biggest worry cited […]

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Asian stocks surge on Wall St gains

S’pore market scores 3.4% rise, led by banks and property stocks (SINGAPORE) Asian stocks surged yesterday in tandem with Wall Street, following Tuesday’s move by the US Federal Reserve to slash its funds rate 50 basis points from 5.25 to 4.75 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led the way, […]

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Fed’s aggressive rate cut sparks global markets

A BIGGER-THAN-EXPECTED interest rate cut by the United States central bank sent global bourses sprinting ahead yesterday. The half-percentage point cut by the US Federal Reserve was double the quarter-percentage point cut that most analysts expected – and immediately caused a surge in US stocks. Last night, the optimism continued on Wall Street, with the […]

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Govt: CPF move won’t hit capital market

Manpower minister fleshes out plan to enhance CPF returns first outlined by PM Lee (SINGAPORE) Even as he spelt out how all CPF members would enjoy higher interest rates on their contributions and have a more comfortable cushion for their retirement years, Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the restrictions put on investing in […]

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INSIDE MARKETS – Sellers outweigh buyers in bearish trading

Asean China Investment Fund was one of the top sellers as it lowered its stakes in Unionmet and SunVic Chemical, writes ROBERT HALILI BEARISH clouds are looming as the trading environment turned negative last week. In all, 28 companies saw 100 director and substantial shareholder disposals while 35 firms had 72 acquisitions. The number of […]

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Rising costs here a big problem, say finance execs

Higher rents, property prices cited in survey of 508 professionals from S’pore and HK MORE than six out of 10 finance industry professionals in Singapore, both locals and expats, regard the rising cost of living here as ‘a big problem’, a recent poll has found. This hike in living expenses may ’cause the city to […]

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Lessons from a blow-up

SHANE OLIVER goes back to the scene of the crime and uncovers the damning caveats THE last month or so has seen big swings in markets on the back of the turmoil in credit markets. By and large though, most investors should have come through reasonably unscathed. However, some would not have been so lucky. […]

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Happy investing

Investors need to look within themselves to determine their life goals, before embarking on the road to financial contentment, financial planner Arun Abey tells GENEVIEVE CUA WHAT does happiness have to do with financial planning? Some may say happiness is the fruit of a well-laid financial plan. After all all, such a plan should foster […]

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MONEY MATTERS – Time to get domestic

Recession in the US used to be the kiss of death for emerging economies, but that may no longer be the case By MICHAEL PREISS THERE was something inevitable about the worst US job reports in four years. They suggest that the American economy has now ‘officially’ slipped into recession and will ensure that the […]

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Bulls may resume charge soon?

THE next bull market in equities is just around the corner despite the current turmoil in financial markets, a top US investment manager said here yesterday. According to Ken Fisher, founder and chief executive officer of private money management firm Fisher Investments, which looks after US$35 billion of assets, investors should be ‘aggressive’ in buying […]

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A quick guide to sub-prime issues

How individual loan defaults in a faraway land can have a domino effect all over the world – including here PAUSE for a moment to consider these facts: HSBC, the world’s third-largest bank, announced that 50 per cent of its earnings in 2006 were wiped out by sub-prime losses from its US subsidiary. Since the […]

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More market panic ahead as banks ‘fess up’ on sub-prime

Confidence in banks exceptionally low, says JP Morgan Asia (SINGAPORE) Be prepared for more market panic as major banks continue to ‘fess up’ to their holdings of US subprime mortgage securities over the next several months, said Ivan Leung, JP Morgan Asia chief investment strategist. The world’s financial markets are in turmoil as worries over […]

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Sub-prime beast won’t drown in sea of liquidity

IN TOKYO WHAT one veteran banker dubbed the ‘securitisation monster’ created by financial innovation has bitten back. And it is proving to be a painful lesson for those who reposed faith in securitisation to make financial risk a thing of the past by spreading it around so thinly that it could no longer be detected. […]

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TAKING STOCK – Market enjoys best outing in more than a month

THE Singapore bourse had its best day of gains in more than a month yesterday, as market watchers began to express hopes that the nasty recent correction is now over. It took its cue from Wall Street, which returned to business after a Labour Day holiday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining a healthy […]

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Economists’ median growth forecast rises to 7.5%

Rosier estimate by 18 analysts is at mid-point of govt’s range of 7% to 8% FORGET recent stock market woes and weak export numbers. Projections by private-sector economists for Singapore’s full- year economic growth have turned even rosier over the past three months. A quarterly survey of economists by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) […]

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Property loans: local banks turn cautious

(SINGAPORE) Banks are tightening up on the way they lend money for buying homes while the property market is coming off the boil, housing agents report. With the world’s financial markets in turmoil, following a crisis in US mortgage lending to people with bad credit records, bankers in Singapore say that when it comes to […]

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Sub-prime will hit global economy: bank CEO

(FRANKFURT) Global economic growth will take a hit as a result of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, says the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank. ‘Growth, especially of private consumption in the United States, will suffer because of the housing crisis and that can naturally not go without negatively affecting the world economy […]

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Bank stocks hit by sub-prime worries again

Attention also shifts to impact on their fee income (SINGAPORE) Banks here were hit yesterday by renewed concerns over their exposure to collateralised debt obligations or CDOs, after Goldman Sachs downgraded its stock ratings on DBS and OCBC, sending their share prices lower. But analysts BT spoke to said the main worry for now was […]

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Rattled bonds market to remain in spotlight

WHAT IT IS NEWSFLOW from the badly shaken bonds market will continue to dominate headlines this week as global financial markets struggle to return to normal after the recent volatilities. Given the uncertainties fuelled by the credit crunch crisis as the mortgage market in the United States sours, traders will be keenly watching for any […]

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Exposure to US sub-prime loans negligible, says DBS

DBS Group has reiterated that its exposure to the United States sub-prime market is ‘negligible’. Only US$188 million (S$286.7 million) of the bank’s collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) ‘directly reference some exposure’ to US sub-prime mortgages, said DBS group chief financial officer Jeanette Wong. This makes up just 12 per cent of the bank’s total $2.4 […]

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Reits a safe choice in roily market: Goldman

SINGAPORE’S real estate investment trust (S-Reit) market could be just the place to park your funds while weathering the storm in the equity markets, says Goldman Sachs executive director (Asia-Pacific Investment Research) Leslie Yee. In a report on S-Reits, Mr Yee said: ‘We reiterate our positive view on S-Reits and recommend investors to buy in […]

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CapitaLand up nearly 15% as business in China grows

IT HAS been a good week for CapitaLand, with its shares gaining nearly 15 per cent. The property giant not only rode on the market’s rebound from one of its worst slumps in 20 years. It also got a leg up from its growing exposure to China’s property market. The exposure is helping it make […]

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DBS exposure to US sub-prime about $2.4b

Figure is almost twice the amount the bank declared a fortnight ago DBS Group Holdings confirmed yesterday its exposure to the United States sub-prime mortgage crisis is about $2.4 billion – almost double the amount it had acknowledged previously. The disclosure sent its stock falling by as much as 60 cents yesterday, hitting a low […]

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DBS says has more direct CDO exposure

LAST UPDATED: 11.51 AM SINGAPORE – DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, said on Friday that it has more direct exposure to collateralised debt obligations than previously declared, sending its shares down over 2 per cent. Broker CLSA said in a report this week that while Singapore banks have limited exposure to collateralised debt […]

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