Financials dominate CDS trading again

Credit default swap (CDS) trading activity in the US focused on the financial sector in October, according to a release by New York-based broker GFI Group.

The most active names were Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley, the broker said. The news comes after rumours were confirmed that Merrill had a larger than expected market exposure to the subprime mortgage sector. The bank announced $8.4 billion of writedowns on these securities on October 24, prompting the resignation of its chief executive officer, Stan O'Neal, on October 30.

Also high on the list was troubled mortgage broker Countrywide Home Loans, which was third on the most-active list for the US.

Europe, by contrast, was dominated by telecom names from Italy, Germany, UK, Spain and France.

In the sovereign sector, emerging market issuers held sway, with Turkey, the Philippines, Ukraine and Russia topping the list.

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