Amsterdam Financial Services Correspondent
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Nov 4, 2011

Berkshire Hathaway Q3 profit falls on derivatives

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc reported a smaller third-quarter profit on Friday after losing more than $2 billion on derivatives related to stock market performance.

That was nearly three times what Berkshire lost on the same instruments a year ago. Buffett has sharply criticized derivatives in general, but has said these particular contracts were safe and would ultimately be lucrative.

Nov 4, 2011

Bank Transfer Day protest a marketing boon for some

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Bank Transfer Day — the
protest movement urging Americans to take their business out of
big banks on Saturday and put it into credit unions and local
banks — is being used as a marketing opportunity by some.

A handful of regional banks and credit unions, even some
that are publicly traded and not exactly Mom and Pop
establishments, have taken to Twitter to promote themselves as
alternatives to the biggest national banks that are the target
of the protest.

Nov 3, 2011

AIG loses $4 bln on planes, weak markets

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Insurer American International Group lost more than $4 billion in the third quarter, as its
aircraft leasing unit took an impairment charge on a portion of
its fleet and the fair value of the company’s one-third stake
in Asian insurer AIA fell.

It was the 10th time in the last 15 quarters, dating to
2008, that AIG lost at least $1 billion.

Nov 3, 2011

AIG loses $4 bln on planes, weak markets

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Insurer American International Group
(AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) lost more than $4 billion in the third quarter, as its
aircraft leasing unit took an impairment charge on a portion of
its fleet and the fair value of the company’s one-third stake
in Asian insurer AIA (1299.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) fell.

It was the 10th time in the last 15 quarters, dating to
2008, that AIG lost at least $1 billion.

Nov 2, 2011

Occupy Wall St finds money brings problems too

NEW YORK, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Occupy Wall Street has raised
more than $500,000 in New York alone to support anti-greed
demonstrations and, seven weeks into the movement, protesters
are finding that having money creates headaches.

The challenges have included how to become a non-profit
entity, how to deal with credit card companies withholding
donations, choosing a bank that shares the movement’s
philosophy and budgeting what to spend cash on.

Oct 28, 2011

MetLife: can grow even in low-rate environment

Oct 28 (Reuters) – MetLife can increase earnings
and build excess capital even if long-term interest rates
remain at historically low levels for the next five years, the
largest life insurer in the United States said on Friday.

Accountants and actuaries have been warning for months that
the current rate environment is unsustainable, with 10-year
Treasuries hovering around 2 percent, and some have even said
that life insurers might eventually have to stop selling some
products because they could not generate sufficient returns.

Oct 27, 2011

Rain, raid fears raise tension at NY Occupy Wall Street

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cold, wind, rain and fear of a police raid put New York’s Occupy Wall Street protesters on edge on Thursday, sparking conflicts at the 6-week-old camp over even the most mundane points of park life.

The protesters, who are angry about economic inequality, struggled to shield themselves from wind and rain at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, their mood dampened further by suggestions the first snow could fall on Saturday.

Oct 25, 2011

New risk for Occupy Wall St: less media interest

NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) – “Occupy Wall Street” is
occupying less space in TV broadcasts, newspapers and social
media as the story settles into a familiar pattern and
protesters dig in for what could be a protracted fight.

While the movement’s reliance on Twitter and Facebook to
spread its message is well established, it has also benefited
from becoming a media curiosity, at times drawing legions of TV
crews and reporters to its encampments. Coverage fed on itself,
as more people joined in more cities.

Oct 24, 2011

Police, Wall St protesters fall into uneasy truce

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) – After a rough start marked by
mass arrests and allegations of heavy-handed behavior, the New
York Police Department has settled into an uneasy standoff with
the protesters of Occupy Wall Street.

Officers say they are frustrated by people they think are
willfully flouting the law — protesters marching without
permits, erecting tents, breaking noise and curfew regulations,
publicly defecating and so on. Meanwhile, protesters say the
cops should be with them, not against them, in their fight.

Oct 20, 2011

NY winter to test Occupy Wall St protest momentum

NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The Occupy Wall Street
movement is ending its fifth week, and despite its successes so
far, people are starting to ask what comes next.

After sparking protests nationwide and globally on Oct. 15
and garnering massive media coverage, the movement now faces
fresh challenges. How will it combat media fatigue, cold
weather, and how will it focus its demands?

    • About Ben

      "Ben Berkowitz covers the insurance industry in New York City. He rejoined Reuters in Amsterdam in May 2009, covering the Dutch banking system and economy. He originally worked for Reuters in Los Angeles and New York from 2001 to 2006 covering everything from video games to oil. In between he was business editor at AOL, head of the editing desk at AP Business News and managing editor of Fidelity.com."
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