September 19, 2008 / 9:47 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Germany suspends short-selling of financial shares

(Adds quotes, names of firms affected, background)

BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Germany has suspended short-selling of shares in 11 of its financial services firms to try to protect them from damage by speculators, the Finance Ministry and financial watchdog BaFin said on Friday.

BaFin said that from Sept. 20, short-selling in a group of leading German banks, insurers and other service providers would be stopped until the end of the year, following similar moves by authorities in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

“In the current market situation, short-selling can lead to the ruin of financial companies,” BaFin President Jochen Sanio said in a statement.

Financial stocks, battered this week after U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, were boosted on Friday by a temporary imposition of short-selling bans across the world.

Britain’s Financial Services Authority imposed its ban on short selling of financial stocks on Thursday, while the short selling of 799 financial stocks was halted in the United States under an emergency Securities and Exchange Commission order on Friday.

National market watchdogs in France, Portugal and Ireland have taken similar steps.

Earlier on Friday a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry had said there were no plans to follow the bans in other countries.

The abrupt change in the German position reflected just how fast policymakers have been forced to adapt their strategies in a bid to limit contagion in the markets.

BaFin said the following companies were affected:

- Aareal Bank (ARLG.DE)

- Allianz (ALVG.DE)

- AMB Generali Holding AMBG.DE

- Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE)

- Commerzbank (CBKG.DE)

- Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE)

- Deutsche Postbank DPBGn.DE

- Hannover Rueckversicherung (HNRGn.DE)

- Hypo Real Estate Holding HRXG.DE

- MLP (MLPG.DE)

- Munich Re (MUVGn.DE) (Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Noah Barkin, Leslie Gevirtz)

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