Blackstone Group CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman and Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein shared similar views on a wide range of subjects during a breakfast panel in New York on Thursday, but they differ greatly on the role of fair-value accounting in the current financial crisis. Schwarzman is a well-known critic of the practice, while Wasserstein thinks that backing off mark-to-market accounting rules would return accounting to "fiction writing."
Barclays plans to raise up to $11.8 billion of additional capital to boost its balance sheet without turning to government aid. The proposed capital raising includes $9.4 billion from investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
The central bank may cut its key interest rate to a level approaching zero, according to Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Janet Yellen. "We would do it because we are concerned about weakness in the economy," she said in a speech Thursday.
U.S. consumers dramatically trimmed their spending in the third quarter, contributing to the sharpest contraction in the U.S. economy in seven years. To help cushion the global recession that many are now predicting, Japan and Germany are pledging to spend billions of dollars and central banks around the world are cutting interest rates. "A harsh storm seen only once in 100 years is raging," Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said at a news conference.