Tag Archives: Stock Market

Russian stocks plunge by nearly 20 percent

Traders stunned as Russian stocks go into tailspin, lose nearly 20 percent

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s leading stock markets suffered their biggest-ever one-day losses as shares went into free fall on the back of falling oil prices and deepening fears about the global economy despite the passage of a $700 billion U.S. bank bailout.

Trading on MICEX — the country’s largest index– was shut down three times, closing down 18.6 percent to 752 points. The benchmark RTS — where trading was halted twice — crashed to its lowest point since August 2005, falling by 19.1 percent to 866.4 points.

“The mood is kind of disbelief. You’d think we would have gotten used to it by now,” said Ron Smith, strategist at Moscow-based Alfa Bank. “Traders are just sitting there staring at the screens and going, ‘Wow.'”

“In this environment, nobody wants to step up to the table and buy a stock,” he added.

In September, growing financial turmoil in the United States and a wave of margin calls sent the Russian stock markets into their biggest downward spiral since 1998. The MICEX lost 25 percent in just three days, and prompted regulators to shut down the markets to stem the decline. They have since used that tool on several occasions when falls have become severe — to lesser effect.

Russia’s stock market has boomed in recent years amid high prices for oil and natural gas. But the market began falling sharply in midsummer amid concerns about government interference with businesses, and the drop accelerated as the global economic crisis intensified. Oil prices, the backbone of Russia’s economy, have been sharply down in recent days — dropping to under $90 a barrel — and investors have also been spooked by August’s five-day war between Russia and Georgia. The RTS is now down by 64 percent from its May peak.

Banking stocks were among the worst hit on Monday in Russia. State-controlled Sberbank, the country’s largest lender, shed 16.6 percent on MICEX, while the state-backed VTB banking concern shed 24.5 percent. Mining firm Norilsk Nickel plunged by 30.1 percent on the RTS on weak financials and plummeting nickel prices. State-controlled oil major Rosneft was 24 percent lower.

Russia’s shares tanked against a worsening global backdrop.

After trading closed for the weekend in Russia, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $700 billion bailout plan at the second attempt. But it provided little relief to investors, who are focused on deepening financial woes in Europe that threaten to derail global growth.

Concerns have mounted in Europe amid a wave of state-backed bank bailouts, and a growing sense of dislocation of European-wide efforts to tackle the financial crisis — despite pledges from EU leaders to secure the stability of the financial system in a coordinated manner.

All major indexes in Europe suffered heavy falls in afternoon trading: The FTSE 100 closed the day down 7.9 percent, Germany’s DAX was down 7.1 percent and France’s CAC-40 closed 9 percent lower.

“When it’s cracking up that badly there, you are going to see extremely high data come in for a market like Russia,” said Smith. “The valuations (in Russia) haven’t mattered for two months now, and they certainly don’t at this point.”

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Credit Crisis demystified

When:

Seeds were sown way back in 1977. Known as Community Reinvestment Act  , is a United States federal law that requires banks and thrifts to offer credit throughout their entire market area and prohibits them from targeting only wealthier neighborhoods with their services. The bill encouraged the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, to enable mortgage companies, savings and loans, commercial banks, credit unions, and state and local housing finance agencies to lend to home buyers.

Why

National grassroots pressure for affordable housing. Though there was considerable opposition from the mainstream banking community. Only one banker from ShoreBank in Chicago, testified in favor of the act.

Subprime Explained

Mr A seeks a housing loan to give shape to his dream home. But he doesn’t have good credit rating. This means that he is unable to clear all the stringent conditions that a bank imposes on an individual before it sanctions a loan. Since his credit is not good enough, no bank will give him a home loan as there is a fear that the chances of a default by him are high. Here enters , Mr B (a robust financial institution)who has good credit rating and is willing to take on some amount of risk and make profit.

 Given his good credit rating, the bank is willing to give Mr B a loan. The bank gives the loan at a certain rate of interest.Mr B then divides this loan into a lot of small portions and gives them out as home loans to lots of others like Mr A who do not have a great credit rating and to whom the bank would not have given a home loan in the first place.

Mr B gives out these loans at a rate of interest that is much higher rate than the rate at which he borrowed money from the bank. This higher rate is referred to as the sub-prime rate and this home loan market is referred to as the sub-prime home loan market.

By giving loan to many Mr A’s , Mr B is expecting to make lot of profit.  Mr B does not wait for the principal and the interest on the sub-prime home loans to be repaid, so that it can repay its loan to the bank (the prime lender), which has given it the loan.

So what does Mr B do? He goes ahead and securitises’ these loans. Securitisation means converting these home loans into financial securities, which promise to pay a certain rate of interest. These financial securities are then sold to Mr C (Institutional Investors)

 

And how is Mr C repaid? The interest and the principal that is repaid by Mr A through equated monthly installments (EMIs) is passed onto Mr C.

This looks so simple so what went wrong

 

The sub-prime home loans were given out as floating rate home loans. A floating rate home loan as the name suggests is not fixed. As interest rates go up, the interest rate on floating rate home loans also go up. As interest rates to be paid on floating rate home loans go up, the EMIs that need to be paid to service these loans go up as well.

What happened next is that people started defaulting on their obligations. Once more and more sub-prime borrowers started defaulting, payments to the institutional investors who had bought the financial securities stopped, leading to huge losses.  The housing bubble collapsed and mortgage-backed securities (bought by Mr C) were almost worthless . As defaults kept rising, Mr B could not service their loans that they had taken from banks. So they turned to other financial firms to help them out, but after a while these firms too stopped extending credit realizing that the collateral backing this credit would soon lose value in the falling real estate market.

 

Now burdened with tons of debt and no money to pay it back, the back of these financial entities broke, leading to the current meltdown.

Ok this is an American problem , so why are markets around the world crashing

Mr C who had invested in securitised paper from the sub-prime home loan market in the US, saw his investments turning into losses. Most big investors have a certain fixed proportion of their total investments invested in various parts of the world.  Once investments in the US turned bad, more money had to be invested in the US, to maintain that fixed proportion. In order to invest more money in the US, money had to come in from somewhere. To make up their losses in the sub-prime market in the United States, they went out to sell their investments in emerging markets like India where their investments have been doing well. So these big institutional investors, to make good of their losses in the sub-prime market, began to sell their investments in India and other markets around the world.


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Fed’s to benefit out of AIG Loan

Here is how

1. Common man pays tax

2. Tax is collected by IRS

3. IRS deposits the money into US Treasury.

4. US Treasury issues securities against that money which is utilized by Federal reserve

5. Federal Reserve has issued a loan of $85 billion to AIG and in return AIG would (hopefully) return the principal and the interest. Thus benefiting from the loan.

But the question is is that is this how a capitalist economy should work?

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