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After the crunch, THE BIG APPLE BITES BACK

Capital markets are booming once again and competition is heating up among the investment banks. Is the upturn too good to be true? And how will the competitors fare in the new order? Helen Avery reports.

A YEAR AFTER Wall Street’s near-death experience, New York’s investment bankers are in the rudest of health. Capital markets are buzzing. Anything, it seems, can be financed. Having been shaken to its core, the Big Apple’s financial sector looks once again to be an unstoppable force. If you simply look at the numbers, you could be forgiven for forgetting the credit crunch and the global fallout ever actually happened.

Investment-grade issuance globally for the year to date is already higher than for the whole of 2008. IPO filings in August were at record highs. Stock markets have jumped back up more than 50% from their March lows. Global high-yield indices are up more than 50% year to date. Investment banking fees for the year are booming – in most cases up on the first three quarters of 2008, with some banks’ fees set to be back in line with those of 2007. JPMorgan, for example, has made $5.28 billion in investment banking fees over the first three quarters of this year – only $1.1

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