Switzerlands biggest bank UBS AG has reported a fourth quarter net loss in 2012 of 1.9 billion francs ($2.08 billion) due to lawsuits and restructuring in the wake of a series of scandals. That compares with a net profit of 324 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2011 in the wake of a $2-billion rogue trading scandal. The Zurich-based bank attributed the fourth-quarter loss mainly to net charges for provisions for litigation, regulatory and similar matters as well as net restructuring charges and an own credit loss.
BP profit drops 80% in Q4 due to payouts
Oil and gas giant BPs profit fell nearly 80% in the fourth quarter in results released on Tuesday, dragged down by payouts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP said net profit fell to $1.62 billion in the quarter ending on December 31, down from $7.69 billion in the same period the year before. BP took a loss of $3.85 billion for its settlement of all federal criminal charges with the US government. Underlying replacement cost profit for the period, which strips out the changes in the value of inventories, was down 20% on the same period last year at $3.98 billion.
Sinopec to sell $3.1 bn in new stock
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), Asias largest refiner, said it plans to raise about $3.1 billion in a share offering to fund its business development, sending its shares sharply lower as investors fretted about the volume of new stock in the market. Sinopec agreed to sell 2.85 billion new Hong Kong-traded shares at HK$8.45 each, a 9.5% discount to Mondays close and 7.4% below the average closing price over the past 30 days, the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Monday.The stock fell as much as 7.1% in early trade on Tuesday to HK$8.68, but held above the placement price. Sinopec's Shanghai-traded shares were down 3.1%.
Barclays raises mis-selling costs by $1.6 bn
Barclays said on Tuesday it is putting aside another 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to cover the costs of scandals related to the mis-selling of financial products, raising speculation that other British banks may soon have to cough up more cash to cover similar scandals. Barclays said more than half of that provision, or 600 million pounds, is to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance usually abbreviated to PPI. That takes the total PPI provision to 2.6 billion pounds. The remaining 400 million pounds is to cover mis-sold interest rate swaps to small businesses a practice currently being investigated by Britains financial watchdog. That provision takes the total up to 850 million pounds set aside.
Japans central bank governor to resign early
Japans central bank governor says he is resigning three weeks before his five-year term expires on April 8 so his departure will coincide with those of his top deputies. Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters he offered to resign as of March 19 at an economic policy meeting on Tuesday. Shirakawa and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have appeared at odds over Abes insistence that the central bank more aggressively ease monetary policy to help spur economic growth. His early resignation is unusual. However, Shirakawa said his move was motivated by logistical, rather than political reasons. His top deputies' terms expire in March 19. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Abe intends to replace Shirakawa with an expert whose views are more closely aligned with his own.
US home prices jumped last year
US home prices jumped by the most in 6.5 years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand. CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, says home prices rose 8.3% in December compared with a year earlier. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states. Home prices also rose 0.4% in December from the previous month. Thats a healthy increase given that sales usually slow over the winter months.