London shares close higher on hopes of US debt deal
The settlement announced Wednesday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission comes less than a month after JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, agreed to pay $920 million and admit fault in a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other U.S. and British regulators. The stunning trading losses that surfaced in April 2012 shook the financial world and damaged JPMorgan’s reputation. The CFTC deal differs from the previous agreement because JPMorgan is formally acknowledging that its traders recklessly distorted prices to reduce the banks’ losses at the expense of other market participants. In the SEC agreement, JPMorgan admitted only that it failed to supervise those traders. The bank “recklessly disregarded the fundamental precept on which market participants rely: that prices are established based on legitimate forces of supply and demand,” the CFTC said in a news release. According to the agency, JPMorgan traders in London sold off $7 billion in derivatives tied to a price index of corporate bonds in one day including $4.6 billion worth in a three-hour span. Derivatives are investments whose value is based on some other investment, such as oil and currencies. JPMorgan was betting that the price of the index would drop. When the traders sold their derivatives, the price of the index plunged. That was a “staggering volume” and the most ever traded by the bank in one day, according to the CFTC. The traders realized that the huge volume of the derivatives they had amassed could affect the market, and they decided to do so, the agency said. The agreement marks the first time the CFTC used a new legal authority from the 2010 financial overhaul law that is designed to prohibit reckless market conduct.
View gallery The trading floor of BGC partners in Canary Wharf, London, on September 11, 2007 (AFP Photo/Leon Neal) London (AFP) – London shares closed higher on Wednesday amid hopes of a last-minute deal in the US on raising the government debt ceiling, dealers said. The benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 22.49 points or 0.34 percent to 6,571.59 points. “Lawmakers in the US have today to whack out a deal to lift the countryas borrowing limit,” said ETX Capital analyst Ishaq Siddiqi. “Many in the market expect an eleventh hour agreement to be announced, much like at the end of 2012 when politicians averted the fiscal cliff.” Hopes that Congress would agree to raise the government’s borrowing authority as required by midnight (0400 Thursday) rested with last gasp talks in the Senate, where Democrat and Republican leaders announced a draft deal. The number of people in Britain claiming jobless benefits has had its biggest fall in more than 16 years, Spreadex sales trader Lee Mumford noted. “However, despite the claim figure beating estimates, the jobless rate remained steady, he added. Fund manager Hargreaves Landsdown led the London gainers, jumping 4.81 percent to 1,090 pence after an interim management statement. Assets under management surged A2.9 billion to a record A39.3 billion at the end of September from the end of June, the company said. “Quarterly revenue, total assets under administration and client numbers have all achieved record levels,” Hargreaves Lansdowne said. Engineering group IMI added 1.93 percent to 1,528 pence and Asia-focussed babk standard Chartered gained 1.90 percent to 1,499.50 pence. A rival fund manager, Schroders, led the FTSE fallers, sinking 2.80 percent to 2,568 pence. On the currency markets, the pound weakened to $1.5900 at 5:21 pm from $1.5980 on Tuesday evening and eased to 1.1794 euros from 1.1840 euros the previous night.
London fair marks rise of contemporary African art
. London (AFP) – The first fair of contemporary African art outside Africa opens in London on Wednesday, a testament to the growing market for works rooted in the social and political realities of a troubled continent. More than 70 artists are represented at 1:54 — named after the number of countries in Africa — from well-established names to those with no presence outside their own nations. Philip Boutte, an expert in contemporary African art at the Magnin-A gallery in Paris, said the fair showcased the breadth of paintings, sculpture and photography on offer. “In the minds of many people, African art is all about indigenous art. At one point, people thought we were only offering Bushmen, people who make art without thinking, but there are genuine artists,” he told AFP. Behind him was a sculpture by Mozambique’s Goncalo Mabunda, a throne made of pistols, Kalashnikovs and other weapons left over from that country’s civil war. Priced at 9,500 euros ($12,800), “Zuma” is at the lower end of the price range of the five-day fair at Somerset House, which contains works costing between $1,600 and $480,000. Next to the sculpture is displayed 55,000-euro ($74,000) “Letter from the ICC”, an acrylic painting of a man sweating at a note from the International Criminal Court by Congolese artist Cheri Samba. A gallery assistant adjusts a photograph by Senegalese artist Fabrice Monteiro titled “Albinos” at t These two works are not subtle, but are striking examples some of the themes that bind the artists as much as their geographical location. “Politics is a very clear theme, social issues are a very clear theme, beauty and aesthetics are very important,” said Koyo Kouoh, the Cameroon-born artistic director of the fair. “Western art is full of auto-referential art. Artists think people are interested in their emotion — we are not.” The fair is being supported by Christie’s auction house and staged to coincide with Frieze London, a major event in contemporary art, in the hope of raising the profile of African artists. Some have already benefited from an increase in interest in recent years, with works by Ethiopian painter Julie Mehretu and Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui now selling for more than a million dollars. But they remain the exception.