Global stocks sink after Credit Suisse takeover

AP , Monday 20 Mar 2023

Global stock markets sank Monday after Swiss authorities arranged the takeover of troubled Credit Suisse amid fears of a global banking crisis ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting to decide on more possible interest rate hikes.

global shares
A sign and logo of Credit Suisse bank is seen beneath a sign of Swiss giant banking UBS in Zurich on March 20, 2023.AFP


Hong Kong's main index slid 2.7%. London, Frankfurt and Paris opened down more than 1%. Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney also declined. Wall Street futures were off 1%. Oil prices plunged more than $2 per barrel.

Swiss authorities on Sunday announced UBS would acquire its smaller rival as regulators try to ease fears about banks following the collapse of two U.S. lenders. Central banks announced coordinated efforts to stabilize lenders, including a facility to borrow U.S. dollars if necessary.

Switzerland’s share benchmark was down 1.8%, while Credit Suisse’s shares plunged 63% and rival UBS, which is acquiring it, sank 14%.

Investors worry banks are cracking under the strain of unexpectedly fast, large rate hikes over the past year to cool economic activity and inflation. Prices of bonds and other assets on their books fell, fueling unease about the industry’s financial health.

“Investors are waiting to see where the dust settles on the banking saga before making any bold moves,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 1.6% to 7,220.62. Frankfurt's DAX fell 1.4% to 14,555.79 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1.2% to 6,842.36.

European banks’ shares languished, with Deutsche Bank AG losing 3.7% and Banco Santander SA slipping 1%. Societe Generale lost 3.4% and Credit Agricole fell 1.1%.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was off 0.2%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4%. On Friday, the S&P 500 lost 1.1%. The Dow fell 1.2% and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.7%.

In Asia, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2.7% Monday to 18,879.20 after being down 3.3% at one point on heavy selling of technology and financial shares.

In Hong Kong, HSBC Holdings plc dropped 6.23% while Standard Chartered fell 7.3% and Bank of East Asia gave up 4.5%. Japanese banks also were mostly lower, with Mizuho Financial Group shedding 2.3% and smaller bank Resona Holdings down 3.7%. In Australia, Macquarie Group sank 4.6%.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 1.4% to 26,945.67.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,234.91 after the Chinese central bank on Friday freed up more money for lending by reducing the amount of their deposits commercial lenders are required to hold in reserve.

The Kospi in Seoul retreated 0.7% to 2,379.20 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 1.4% to 6,898.50.

India's Sensex lost 1.3% to 57,241.45. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also declined.

The Swiss government said UBS will acquire Credit Suisse for almost $3.25 billion after a plan for the troubled lender to borrow as much as $54 billion from Switzerland’s central bank failed to reassure investors and customers.

U.S. regulators have also tried to calm fears over threats to banking systems. The Federal Reserve said cash-short banks had borrowed about $300 billion in the week up to Thursday.

Separately, New York Community Bank agreed to buy part of failed Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Sunday. The FDIC said $60 billion in Signature Bank’s loans will remain in receivership and are expected to be sold off in time.

Traders expect last week’s turmoil to lead the Fed to limit a rate hike at this week's meeting to 0.25 percentage points. That would be the same as the previous increase and half the margin traders expected earlier.

A survey released Friday by the University of Michigan showed inflation expectations among American consumers are falling. That matters to the Fed, which has said such expectations can feed into virtuous and vicious cycles.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude plunged $2.45 to $64.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.61 on Friday to $66.74. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil, lost $2.67 to $70.30 per barrel in London. It retreated $1.73 the previous session to $72.97.

The dollar declined to 131.27 yen from Friday’s 131.67 yen. The euro retreated to $1.0664 from $1.0681.

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