Archive for December, 2008

London’s FTSE 100 up 30.66 at 4,423.34 (AP)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 | Finance News

LONDON – Share prices on the London Stock Exchange were higher Wednesday in a short session of pre-holiday trading.

The FTSE 100-share index closed 30.66 points higher at 4,423.34.

The index closed last year at 6,456.90, and the 31.5 percent drop during the year was the largest since the index was created in 1984.


Pakistan shares fall another 2.9 pct (AFP)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 | Finance News

Pakistan's main bourse continued its downward slide Wednesday, with shares shedding another 2.9 percent, dealers said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange-100 index lost 172.37 points to close at 5,865.01, they said.

The market has now lost 36.2 percent of its value since December 15, when regulators removed a "floor" on the benchmark index imposed in August to stop such losses.

Volume was 78.68 million shares -- less than one-third of the 250 million shares traded daily last year.

Analysts say the government needs to unveil its oft-promised 20-billion-rupee (250-million-dollar) bailout package quickly for the market to recover.

The government has not yet finalised the package.

The International Monetary Fund recently awarded Pakistan a 7.6-billion-dollar credit line to help stave off a balance-of-payments crisis in the world's only nuclear-armed Islamic power.


AIG seeks easing of rules on disposals: report (Reuters)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 | Finance News

(Reuters) –
American International Group (AIG.N), is prepared to ask the U.S. Federal Reserve to relax rules on its $60 billion-plus disposals program to allow bidders to use a greater proportion of shares to pay for its assets, the Financial Times said.

AIG was looking at installment payments and other flexible options to make it easier for potential buyers to bid for assets and increase its chances of surviving as an independent company, the paper said, citing people close to the situation.

The moves, being considered by AIG's management, are aimed at boosting competition for the disposals and countering the perception that the company will be forced to sell units at bargain prices to repay the government aid, the paper said.

AIG has several planned asset sales to raise funds to repay a $150 billion U.S. government bailout.

Under the current deal with the Fed, AIG can sell assets only to bidders paying at least 90 per cent of the price in cash, the paper said.

This provision is designed to ensure that AIG has enough cash to pay both the interest and the principal on a five-year $60 billion government loan as well as $4 billion a year in interest on $40 billion of preferred shares owned by the authorities, according to the paper.

AIG is anxious not to close doors to potential buyers at a time when cash is at a premium and swathes of the capital markets are frozen, the paper said.

The paper reported that no discussion on this issue had yet taken place with the Fed but added that, as AIG's disposals program continued, the company would entertain bids in cash and shares and take them to regulators for approval.

AIG could not be reached immediately for comment.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)