Archive for August, 2011

Wall St expected to open Monday

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The stock market is, for now at least, expected to have a normal trading session on Monday despite the arrival of Hurricane Irene in New York.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Nasdaq Stock Market and the alternative BATS venue said they expected to open trading for the week as usual. But with the New York subway system closed down and commuter rail service into the city suspended, the question remains: who will staff Wall Street?

A final decision is expected later on Sunday after regulators, exchange officials and others meet to discuss the storm and market operations. The decision hinges on whether subways are running, the extent of flooding in downtown Manhattan, and power outages, sources familiar with the plan said on Sunday.

Big trading firms Citigroup (C.N) and Knight Capital both said they are ready to go Monday morning.

The NYSE and broader U.S. marketplace are mostly automated, quietly running out of powerful data centers in New Jersey and elsewhere. Electronic trading is expected to function normally on Monday.

"At this point, though like everybody else we don't have a hotline into the mayor's office, we're a lot more comfortable than we were yesterday when the strength of the storm was an unknown," said Mike Shea, a managing partner and trader with Direct Access Partners LLC in New York.

Shea's firm has a presence on the NYSE floor, and in Boston and Miami. He said virtually all of his firm's traders could function from home.

Hurricane Irene battered New York with heavy winds and driving rain on Sunday, knocking out power and flooding some of Manhattan's deserted streets, including in the Wall Street district.

Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday morning but was still sending waves crashing onto shorelines and flooding coastal areas.

There was about a foot of water in the streets of the South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan, although there was less damage than many had feared.

Knight Capital Group, the top trader of NYSE-listed shares with 16.2 percent market share, said it would be fully operational.

"Even in the event of a shutdown of our Jersey City campus -- if that were to occur -- we have redundancy built into our multiple trading desks," Peter Kenny, the firm's Jersey City-based managing director, said in an e-mail. "Our trading desk in Purchase, New York would act as our principle desk as Jersey City does on a day to day basis."

"Our sales coverage and technology -- access to market -- will not be compromised on any level," he said.

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), a few blocks from the NYSE, also plans at this time to open on Monday, parent CME Group Inc (CME.O) said on Sunday.

Any decision to halt U.S. equity trading, or even a portion of it such as the NYSE floor, would involve the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and major market operators NYSE Euronext (NYX.N) and Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O).

The NYSE trading floor now handles a fraction of the buy and sell orders that it did five years ago, when about 3,000 brokers, specialists and others worked there.

There are now about 1,000 on the floor, and Lou Pastina, executive vice president of NYSE operations, has estimated the Big Board would need half of them to safely open on Monday. Floor specialists are still important, particularly at the open and close of markets, when orders pile up.

Wall Street's biggest firms also said they weathered the storm well. Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said the bank's downtown buildings on Greenwich Street, which house its investment bank and other institutional client businesses, are fully functional, and employees can return when the city lifts its evacuation order for lower Manhattan.

The bank is looking at transport options for employees for Monday, pending updates on what will be happening with mass transit.

For staffers unable to report to their normal offices, Citi has alternative sites ready, and also offers employees remote access to company systems.

(Writing by Chris Sanders; Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, David Sheppard and Dan Wilchins; Editing by Braden Reddall)


New Porsche 911 Carerra pictures

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 | Finance News

911 Carerra Silver

The newest version of the Porsche 9111 will debut publicly next month in Frankfurt and it’s already shaping up to be a significant improvement in both power and efficiency. It was the very same auto show back in 1963 where the Porsche 911 first made its debut, known then as the 901.

The very latest 911, known as the 991 model, features many changes over the previous version, the 997. A clear step forward in performance, the newest 911 comes equipped with 350 horsepower and achieves about 28 miles per gallon. The 911S model will pump out 400 horsepower and get roughly 27 miles per gallon.

The body and style of the newest 911 model unmistakably retains the traditional look of a Porsche 911 Carrera. The six-cylinder engine is still located in the back of the car and the key inserts to the left of the steering wheel.

Impressively the new Carerra is nearly 100 pounds lighter than the 997 and thanks to the new 3.4 liter engine and Porsche PDK semi-automatic gear box, the Carrera can do 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds, with the 3.8 liter Carerra S needing just 4.3 seconds.

While at first one may not think to combine fuel efficiency with sports car in the same sentence, Porsche has gone to great lengths to point out that their newest iteration of their flagship sports car is 16 percent more fuel efficient than previous versions and can go toe-to-toe with a mid-sized sedan. All of this can be credited to the more aerodynamic design and features such as the stop-start engine. The numbers simply don’t lie, at nearly 30 mpg the new 911 Carerra is a leap forward in automotive engineering. 

The new 911 models should be available by the end of the year with the starting price for a standard Carerra set at $82,100 and a Carerra S base model set around $96,400.



France eyes financial transaction tax deal at G20

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 | Finance News

PARIS (Reuters) – France wants concrete results for a controversial international tax on financial transactions at November's G20 summit of leading economies, Finance Minister Francois Baroin said in remarks published on Sunday.

Francois Baroin and his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble met in Paris on August 23 with a view to tabling a joint proposal to their European Union partners in September.

European banks have poured scorn on the idea of a financial transaction tax, a long-standing French proposal, saying it would not stabilize markets.

"We are working on a proposal that we will present to the European Union in September, which will be studied in the autumn," Baroin said in an interview with newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. "We are determined to get results at the G20 on November 3-4 in Cannes."

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet has said in the past that such a tax would not work unless it is applied globally and Britain, home to the region's biggest financial center, is also opposed to the EU going it alone.

Baroin said no definitive position on the details of the proposal had been set.

Last week's meeting with Schaeuble also aimed to flesh out objectives President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed earlier in August to step up economic governance of the euro zone, including specific plans for France and Germany to align their corporate tax bases and tax rates from 2013.

Baroin said the company tax convergence would serve as an example for wider European integration and that proposals would be set out for 2012 with its adoption the following year.

"In practice, we anticipate beginning convergence as soon as September's budget amendments," Baroin said.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by David Holmes)