Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s financial industry business headlines:
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The giant Swiss bank UBS (NYSE:UBS) “has been disgracing the banking profession for years and needs to be shut down,” says the author William D. Cohan. He explained that the regulators that allow it to do business in the United States, the Federal Reserve, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, should be able to see that the point of no return was reached on December 19th when the bank paid $1.5 billion to global regulators to make Libor claims go away. The allegations were that for six years, the bank’s traders and managers, specifically at its Japanese securities unit, manipulated Libor and other borrowing standards.
Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) purchased an approximate 59 percent interest in a residential complex in Manhattan in a transaction amounting to $844.8 million. The acquisition comes as the firm has been snapping up more in its strongest markets while divesting properties in its noncore markets. The current buy, Independence Plaza, is a 1,328-unit property in the Tribeca neighborhood which contains 54,500 square feet of retail space and 550 parking spaces.
It appears that speculators are increasing their bets on a near-term end for a long-running rally in “junk” bonds as some investors are positioned with exchange-traded funds that are dedicated to the class of company debt which is rated under investment grade. Meanwhile, short interest is at an all-time high in the largest domestic ETF dedicated to junk bonds, says data on the fund run by BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) going back to the ETF’s intro in 2007. The chief of BlackRock’s iShares fixed-income strategy, Matt Tucker, said he doesn’t think the bearish bets are impacting the price of the “HYG” fund right now, but that it is “a sign there are some investors who think we may be near the top of the high-yield market.”