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Writedowns, Part Deux

Thursday, 24 Jan 2008 | 6:04 AM ET

A rolling of eyes and Gallic shrugs worthy of any Frenchman. That was the response on the ground in Davos as the news of Socgen's trading loss and sub-prime writedown unfolded.

The CEOs here are beyond surprise, there is instead a mood of resignation at the World Economic Forum that this is just the latest in what is expected to be a year of further writedown announcements.

And now there are other questions being asked, in the light of ECB chief Trichet's reluctance to signal imminent rate cuts. Does he now have to respond? Is there a case for a confidence building quarter point cut that would demonstrate the bank is on top of events?

The news from the markets has kept the participants glued to CNBC and their blackberries. Everyone's net worth is riding up and down with the markets, and more than a few CEO's have expressed quiet frustration about how little connection they see between their share price and their profit growth.

And this remains a perennial topic over dinner and in the 'buzz' - how come my business is not exhibiting the stress financial markets are discounting?

That story will play out over coming months, but for today the focus is on Paris, SocGen and the ECB.