The economic turmoil in Asia has taken its toll on another major bank.
On Friday, Union Bank of Switzerland said it lost $240 million on equity derivatives last year, almost double its estimates. The news cast a pall on UBS' proposed merger with Swiss Bank Corp., which shareholders are to vote on this week.
But UBS asserted that the loss would not cause the two banks to renegotiate terms of the deal.
Equity derivatives, such as futures contracts, are instruments whose value is determined by changes in the movements of different stock indexes.
Recent economic turmoil in such Asian countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Korea has caused stock prices there to plunge.
In addition to UBS, some big U.S. trading banks have reported derivatives losses recently.
Citicorp lost $36 million in the fourth quarter, and BankAmerica Corp. lost $13 million, according to the newsletter Swaps Monitor. Both cases are the first quarterly derivatives losses ever for the banks, Swaps Monitor said.
Bankers Trust New York Corp.'s trading revenues dropped to $19 million in the fourth quarter, from $98 million in the third quarter. J.P. Morgan & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. also said revenues had fallen. Morgan classified $587 million of "primarily" swap exposure to Asia as nonperforming.
Chase Manhattan Corp. seems to have avoided the deluge. The bank reported fourth-quarter derivatives revenues of $167 million.