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/ 11 February 2008

Lots of Yang, but no yin

Holed up in a caravan on the campus of Stanford University in California, two graduate students were supposed to be finishing their doctoral studies. Instead, Jerry Yang and David Filo began messing around on something new called the world wide web. Yang and Filo started fiddling with quirky home pages. Yang put up his golf scores, his name in Chinese characters and a list of his favourite websites.

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/ 6 February 2008

The grim repo: 1,28m US homes threatened by bailiffs

The sheer scale of the misery wreaked by the United States sub-prime mortgage crisis became clear on Tuesday in research showing that more than 1% of Ameri- can households were hit with some stage of repossession proceedings last year. About 2,2-million foreclosure docu­ments — including default notices, auction sale notices and repossession papers — were filed on 1,28-million­ properties last year.

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/ 18 December 2007

US cuts rates for third succesive time

The Federal Reserve this week cut interest rates for the third time this autumn as the United States central bank sought to prevent the rapidly deteriorating housing market from dragging the world’s biggest economy into recession. Fearful of inflationary pressures from rising oil prices and a falling dollar, the Fed limited itself to a quarter-point cut. Share prices fell sharply in the wake of the Fed’s cutting its Fed funds and the discount rate by a quarter point.

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/ 3 December 2007

Recession fears as US house prices drop

United States house prices have suffered their worst plunge for two decades as defaults on sub-prime mortgages have shattered homebuyers’ confidence and lenders have withdrawn cheap loan deals. According to the key Standard & Poor’s housing index, released on Tuesday, third-quarter US prices were down 4,5% on 2006.

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/ 5 November 2007

Merrill CE fails, quits, pockets $160m

Merrill Lynch parted company this week with its CE, Stan O’Neal, leaving the investment bank’s leadership in a state of limbo and prompting unease on Wall Street. Merrill announced that O’Neal had decided to retire with immediate effect after agreeing with the board that a change in leadership would "best enable Merrill Lynch to move forward".

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/ 8 October 2007

The wizards of Wall Street

If it so desired, Goldman Sachs could use its income for the year to fund the entire Chinese army — and, if the run-up to Christmas went well, it would have a few billion dollars left over. The investment bank expects to rake in about $45-billion during the year to this November, roughly equivalent to the budget for the world’s biggest fighting force.

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/ 4 September 2007


The affluent waterside enclave of Greenwich is 48km east of New York and has been the United States’s hedge-fund capital since the September 11 attacks made Manhattan less appealing. Nicknamed "Wall-Street-on-Sea" or "Upper Hedgistan", the town is home to more than 380 firms managing $100-billion.

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/ 25 June 2007

Capitalism’s poster boy

After a tough day of deal-making, it is only right that the king of Wall Street should retire home to a palace. Stephen Schwarzman does just that — his Manhattan apartment boasts 35 rooms including a foyer the size of a ballroom, his-and-hers saunas, a pine-panelled library and 13 bathrooms. Works by Claude Monet adorn the walls of the two-floor Park Avenue residence.

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/ 1 June 2007

Google’s DoubleClick deal probed

Concerns about Google’s dominance in online advertising have prompted the United States Federal Trade Commission to investigate its $3,1-billion takeover of internet marketing company DoubleClick. The purchase of DoubleClick, announced last month, is intended to give Google enhanced software and stronger relationships with agencies.

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/ 28 May 2007

China flexes its financial muscle

A huge shift in global capital flows is forecast after the Chinese government’s acquisition of a $3-billion stake in the sprawling United States private equity group Blackstone, owner of Café Rouge restaurants, Madame Tussauds and Center Parcs. The purchase is likely to be only the starting point of a $200-billion foray into world stock markets and private companies by the communist government in Beijing.

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/ 26 April 2007

US executive pay Bill over first hurdle

A proposal to give American shareholders a vote on executive pay was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of Congress last week as Demo­crats fought to tackle increasingly lavish multimillion-dollar boardroom handouts. American unions, politicians and institutional investors are angry about telephone number-sized sums.

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/ 28 November 2006

Car-makers seek help

The heads of the United States’s big-three car manu-facturers were granted a long-awaited audience at the White House last week to plead the case for help in overcoming chronic financial problems that have decimated jobs and led to scores of factory closures.

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/ 27 November 2006

Google shares top $500

The price of Google shares reached $500 on Wall Street this week as the internet search company continued a phenomenal rise that has turned it into one of the United States’s most valuable enterprises. Google’s shares were priced at a mere $85 when the world’s favourite search engine went public on Nasdaq in August 2004.