Posted tagged ‘Bear Market’

Asian Markets Plunge Early Friday Morning

October 10, 2008

A sell-off on Wall Street and escalating fears of a global recession have sent Asian stocks plunging this morning, with Japan‘s benchmark index falling more than 10 percent.

From the Associated Press:

“Selling is unstoppable in New York and Tokyo,” said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Shinko Securities Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. “Investors were gripped by fear.”

Markets in Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines were all down more than 7 percent. Shanghai’s index was down 3.8 percent.

Indonesian authorities suspended trading indefinitely on the Jakarta Stock Exchange after they had halted trading Wednesday when the index plunged more than 21 percent over three days earlier this week.

In Tokyo, the gut-wrenching drama left individual investors shellshocked.

Kenji Akasaka, 69, president of a local printing company, said he had never seen it this bad in the 40 years he has traded stocks. He said he invests mainly in blue-chips including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nintendo Co.

“I pray before I go to bed that the Dow will recover,” said Akasaka, 69, as he scanned a monitor displaying the latest market levels. “I get sleepless, thinking about losses.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average plummeted 10.3 percent to 8,217.50 in early afternoon trading and appeared headed for its second biggest one-day loss ever. The Tokyo bourse and the Osaka Securities Exchange briefly suspended some futures and options trading during the morning.

Struggling Economy? Not for Gentleman’s Clubs

October 10, 2008

While the rest of the country is seeing sharp declines in sales and all other points of business, one industry is seeing quite the opposite. The New York Times is reporting that business in upscale Manhattan gentlemen’s clubs has actually jumped in recent weeks. Must be those businessmen who need relief from their days on Wall Street.

From the New York Times:

The implosion of the financial markets seems to mark the twilight of the second gilded age. History may look back with scorn at $30,000 couches, $600-an-hour therapists, $25,000 hot chocolates and super Sweet 16 parties.

The Wall Street folks, you’d think, seem to be saying goodbye to all that.

Except, apparently, in one area: strip clubs (or “gentlemen’s clubs,” as they like to brand themselves).

“Since the market has been going down, our business has been going up — it’s unbelievable,” said Sam Zherka, the owner of the V.I.P. Club in Chelsea, who estimates that about 80 percent of his clients are Wall Street types. (You’d think the lawsuits would have dampened that, but it seems fine as long as they’re not entertaining clients on their work-related expense accounts.)

Mr. Zherka added, “A lot of guys are losing their shirts in the market, and they are coming in droves.”

Business is up around 20 percent, he estimated, even though he does not advertise atop taxicabs.

“We’re an upscale gentleman’s club,” he said disdainfully.

In a moment of shrewd business, perhaps, Mr. Zherka and the club decided to introduce a premium product: the $1,000 lap dance package.

The package will buy a 20-minute lap dance, a bottle of Dom Pérignon and a private Champagne room. Not to mention, as Mr. Zherka did, they also “get to keep the girl’s G-strings.”

Government Considering Ownership in Banks

October 9, 2008

Hmmmm. This might not be a good thing. The Bush administration is considering taking ownership stakes in certain U.S. banks as an option for dealing with a severe global credit crisis.

From the Associated Press:

An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made, said the $700 billion rescue package passed by Congress last week allows the Treasury Department to inject fresh capital into financial institutions and get ownership shares in return.

This official said all the new powers granted in the legislation were being considered as the administration seeks to deal with a serious credit crisis that has caused the biggest upheavals on Wall Street in seven decades and continues to roil global markets.

Supporters of this approach, such as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., argue that injecting fresh capital into U.S. banks who want to participate in the program would be an effective way to bolster banks’ balance sheets and get them to resume lending. Taxpayers would benefit because the government would receive an equity stake in the bank in return for providing the capital.

“This idea would, at a minimum, complement the administration’s planned approach of buying up troubled assets and may prove to be the most promising tool of all in Secretary Paulson’s kit,” Schumer said in a statement.

A decision to inject capital directly into financial institutions in return for ownership stakes would be similar to a plan announced Wednesday by Britain.