Not all bad news — ABB improves

ABB, seen with other infrastructure and engineering groups as a bellwether of global economic conditions, has posted profits and sales up in the third quarter, benefitting from acquisitions, foreign exchange (FX) movements, and cost cutting and in spite of price pressures. Revenues showed a slight increase after acquisitions FX were taken into account. The order backlog […]

New rules for ratings agencies?

European regulators are seeking to introduce new rules for ratings agencies. Ratings would be suspended for countries undergoing bailouts. (But what counts as a ‘bailout’, and how would the EU prevents ratings being applied by entities outside the EU?) The issuers of financial products would be forced to change the ratings agency they use, possibly […]

Activist shareholders increase pressure on large companies, call for sell-offs

There has been a near-doubling in the number of companies worth more than $1bn who have come under pressure from “activist shareholders” to rethink their strategies and corporate governance. The result is that these companies are engaging earlier and more carefully with shareholder groups in order to avoid fights at AGM voting time. Focus is […]

Creating stability can be difficult — but worthwhile

The Twin Towers attack of 9/11 led to a downturn in demand that led to a consolidation in the manufacturers of the nuts bolts rivets and washers used to hold aeroplanes together. The uncertainty in demand then led to shortages, which became a serious problem for Boeing as it attempted to develop the Dreamliner 787.

Iron ore prices hold

Large institutional investors believe that iron ore prices are unlikely to drop, even if the world enters a  double-dip recession. The London Metals Index is down just over 20% this year, but iron ore has fallen less than one percent. In part, this is because the market in iron ore derivatives is relatively young (just over […]

Cargill profits down two-thirds

Cargill is the world’s largest agricultural trader, so you might expect them to be able to weather the financial crisis. Especially given the record prices being experienced in beef and corn. Profits, however, are down 66% on last year. Despite their “advantage in trading because they are involved in the physical markets”, they were wrong-footed […]