Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP's red flag

CBS MarketWatch
June 16, 2010, 2:36 p.m. EDT

"SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- As BP PLC's top executives trooped into the White House Wednesday under the glare of the global media, a new front in the struggle to save their company may be opening up far from the public eye: the trading room.

Late Tuesday, Reuters reported that Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC 15.87, +0.07, +0.45%) instructed its traders not to enter contracts with BP extending beyond a year from now. The report cites an anonymous source familiar with the order. Neither BP (BP 32.36, +0.96, +3.06%) nor Bank of America Corp. will comment on it, but they both know how grave this is, if true.

No reason is given for the contract order, but given BP's troubles in the Gulf of Mexico, it's a fair bet it stems from the oil spill."...

..."This part of the saga is being played out very publicly. That's because it's as much a political spectacle as it is economic planning.

What the public can't see is how many red flags are appearing on traders' screens, fending them off further dealings with BP. Traders naturally don't want to divulge their strategies, so if any of them are actually unwinding positions with BP, they aren't going to talk about it until they're done.

The idea, based on good old-fashioned greed and fear, is to clear out ahead of the stampede. Because once word gets out that a company has been red-flagged by traders, stampedes become a scary possibility." Article>>>>

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