Credit crisis diary: 29/11/2008

A victory cheer that was a little premature

Standard Chartered Bank no doubt pays Finsbury a healthy retainer for its services, but the City PR firm does its best to earn its money. As the market closed on Thursday, when Standard Chartered's shares went ex-rights, Finsbury emailed contacts to crow about the 11 per cent gain the stock had racked up over the day. Sadly, come the end of the closing auction a few minutes later, the gain had turned into a 2 per cent loss. Still, you can't fault Finsbury for its efforts in getting even the briefest bit of good news out there for its clients.

Green gain for Gore

The reinvention of Al Gore, right, as a champion of environmental issues has not been an entirely altruistic act – it has also landed him the chairmanship of Generation Investment Management, the boutique fund manager that specialises in green investment. And Generation is proving a smart bet. Yesterday it picked up yet another big mandate, the contract to run £150m worth of funds on behalf of the the Church of England's Commissioners' Fund.

Time off to say a little prayer of thanks

With Thursday's full day off and only a half-day session yesterday, Wall Street traders have been enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. Still, as one wag points out, they have plenty to give thanks for – the $800m Tarp bailout, for example, plus hundreds of billions more in loans to keep the banking system afloat.

Do the maths

Some handy advice from the British Retail Consortium for shoppers claiming they're being cheated when next week's VAT cut comes into force. The 2.5 percentage point duty cut translates into a price cut of only 2.1 per cent or so, the BRC points out. Before everyone shouts greedy retailer, it's just how the maths works – it's the tax that's falling, not the price of a good. So a £1 item costs £1.175 right now, falling to £1.15 from Monday. That's only 2.1 per cent less.

Don't do what last year's winner did

Congratulations to BNP Paribas, declared bank of the year by The Banker magazine. But let's hope the fate of last year's winner is no guide of what BNP might expect in the next 12 months. Our French friends inherited the title from Royal Bank of Scotland, which has not had the best 2008.

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