Wall Street's record-breaking day, banking reforms not enough says IMF boss

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A record is set on Wall Street, while Asian markets cool... banking reforms need to go further and faster says IMF boss... and why the financial crisis is making us fat...

Record high on Wall Street Index
Standard and Poor’s 500 Index hit a record high on Tuesday as US markets reacted to some favourable indicators – not least speculation about the European Central Bank cutting rates in the face of low inflation and poor lending in the Eurozone. This spaked interest in equities. The Nasdaq and Dow Jones were also both up. The US also has a strengthening housing market and new figures on manufacturing showed an unexpected rise in April for long-lasting goods.  Read the full story.
 
Asian markets cool down
After a day with plenty of gains on Monday, most Asian markets slipped back on Tuesday with tension between China and Vietnam muting trading. Investors are cautious in the Asian markets due to political unrest including Thailand’s military coup. However, there are areas of optimism; India, for example, with its new government and Japan who is benefiting from a weak yen against the dollar helping exports. Read the full story.
 
Banking reforms have not gone far enough, says IMF boss
Despite the huge global impact of the financial crisis, the pace and depth of banking reforms have not been enough. So says Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, speaking at a conference on the future of capitalism. Ms Lagarde said that delays have been due to complexity, fatigue and lobbying and that banks are still chasing short-term profits rather than tackling long-term stability. Ms Lagarde also called for more global regulation and strategy especially with the heavily subsidised ‘too big to fail’ institutions which are still a risk. Read the full story.
 
UK housing market may be slowing
Reports suggest the UK housing market could be cooling as mortgage lenders approved their lowest number of new loans since last August. The figures from the British Banking Association provide only one indication that the overheating property market may begin to level out but the assumption that it would allow the Bank of England to hold back on interest rate rises gave hope to investors. The bank will release its own mortgage data next week. Read the full story.
 
Joburg’s rate rises rattle economists
The City of Johannesburg has been criticised for rising rates for domestic utilities with hikes of up to 9%. Economists say that it will hit consumer confidence and that public expenditure should be cut rather than rates increased. The city says that the rises are necessary to curb consumption with shortages in electricity, water and landfill space all of concern. They say the changes will allow the city to continue to attract investment. Read the full story.
 
Economic slowdown increasing obesity
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that in richer countries, the obesity epidemic has been made worse by the financial crisis. As many families in countries including the US, Europe and Australia have been forced to make some difficult budget choices, this has led to healthier options being cut as they are often seen as more expensive. The OECD says that a rise in obesity then adds to the economic ills of governments who face increased health burdens. Read the full story.

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