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Derivatives Fell for fourth Consecutive Quarter
Derivatives Fell for fourth Consecutive Quarter

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in its Q2 report on Friday, the amount of derivatives held by insured U.S. banks and savings institutions fell for the fourth consecutive quarter. According to the report, the amount of notional derivatives held by U.S. institutions fell $5.5 trillion to $222 trillion. Trading revenue at U.S. institutions was reported as $2 billion which is 73% less than the $7.4 billion recorded in Q2 of 2011. Martin Pfinsgraff, Deputy Comptroller for Credit and Market Risk at the OCC, said the sharp drop in trading revenue for the sector was driven by the “highly-publicized losses” at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM). “Trading revenues were weak in the second quarter,” said Pfinsgraff in a statement. “While both normal seasonal weakness and reduced client demand played a role, it was clearly the highly-publicized losses at J.P. Morgan Chase that caused the sharp drop in trading revenues.” Pfinsgraff noted that J.P. Morgan reported a $3.7 billion loss from credit trading activities, causing the bank to report an aggregate $420 million trading loss for the quarter. Trading revenues in Q2 of 2012 were 69% lower than revised Q1 2012 revenues of $6.4 billion. The report noted that trading risk exposure, as measured by value-at-risk modeling, increased 1% in Q2 from Q1 at the five largest trading companies. Value-at-risk modeling is typically an estimate of the maximum amount a bank expects it can lose in a certain period of time during a quarter.

Vivus Inc. (VVUS) shares were lower by 12% into early afternoon trading after reporting that the European Medicines Agency committee signaled it will be recommending against approval for the company's weight-loss drug Qsiva. In July the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company to sell the weight-loss drug, making it the second FDA clearance for a new weight-loss drug in less than a month after Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (ARNA) Belviq received FDA approval. European agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use or CHMP announced that, based on preliminary feedback, the company expects an opinion recommending against approval of Qsiva's marketing authorization application with the formal decision expected to follow CHMP's October meeting. Vivus said it may resubmit the application or appeal the decision and request a re-examination if a negative recommendation is given. "We await the official decision and the formal report which should provide us specifics on any additional requirements leading to the approval of Qsiva in Europe," Vivus President Peter Tam said.

Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL) said Friday it faces "unprecedented uncertainty" because of military spending cuts set to take place in 2013 under the sequestration (reductions in federal spending under the budget act) plan that Congress approved in the Budget Control Act of 2011. "Given the...challenges facing the U.S. Congress for the balance of this year, it is more than reasonable to assume sequestration impacts will occur," Rockwell Collins said. Rockwell expects 2013 operating earnings of $4.30 to $4.50 a share. According to reports, more than $50 billion in spending cuts are projected for the Pentagon in January 2013.
As the iPhone maker launches its latest mobile phone, shares of Apple (AAPL) moved above $700 a share on Friday. The latest iPhone 5 has a bigger screen, but the updated operating system for it has been the center of controversy over Apple’s mapping application, introduced to replace one from Google (GOOG) that has been available on earlier iPhones. Apple counts on the iPhone for the majority of both its revenue as well as profits and has seen its shares soar this year on the continuing popularity of the devices.
Per reports on Friday, the troika of Greece's international lenders may wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November before it releases its report on the debt-laden country's progress toward meeting its bailout requirements. The report by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Greece's debt situation was expected during October. Citing EU officials and diplomats, policy makers want to avoid any potential shock to the world economy. The two sides have narrowed their differences on a planned multi-billion austerity package, with some 2 billion euros /$2.6 billion to 2.5 billion euros worth of measures remaining unresolved, per Greece's finance minister, Yannis Stournaras.

Protectionist measures are on the rise around the world per the head of the World Trade Organization on Friday after the Geneva-based group said world trade will grow more slowly in 2012 than predicted earlier this year. "I remain convinced that this recovery will be slow," WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy told a business group. He said the pressure to throw up trade barriers is greater today than it was during 2008-2009, in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. Earlier Friday, the WTO slashed its forecast for growth in global trade for 2012 to 2.5% from 3.7%, citing global headwinds including anemic U.S. growth and China's slowdown. Director-General Lamy said, "The last thing we need is for this disappointing, slow growth to be impacted by more protectionism." In recent weeks, the U.S. and China have filed high-profile cases against each other with WTO tribunals. Director-General Lamy said an increase in WTO formal disputes is a natural consequence of the rise in trade restrictions globally, including antidumping and counter-subsidy tariffs. He warned that a proliferation of regional and bilateral trade pacts has made reaching a global deal to liberalize trade more difficult. Such deals may lower tariffs among the parties involved, but they can lower the incentive for parties to come to the table to tackle more difficult non-tariff issues, he said. "The risk of fragmentation becomes more acute in today's world where tariffs are increasingly an instrument of the past," Director-General Lamy said.


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Sept 21, 2012


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