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Showing posts from June 13, 2014

British rate hike hint boosts sterling, Iraq unrest drives up oil

Escalating violence in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Iraq drove oil higher and sent class="mandelbrot_refrag"> stocks lower on Friday, putting a global equity index on track for its first weekly loss in five weeks. Wall Street was little changed, but U.S. averages were set for their first loss in four weeks, while European shares .FTEU3 were set to interrupt eight weeks of gains. The MSCI All World Index fell 0.2 percent and is down 0.5 percent for the week. Despite the decline in riskier assets, benchmark U.S. bond prices fell, pushing yields slightly higher. Sterling surged on Friday after the Bank of England hinted at an interest rate rise this year.   true       Financial class="mandelbrot_refrag"> markets ' focus was on the violence in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Iraq where Sunni Islamist militants have surged out of the north this week to menace Baghdad and want to establish their own state in Iraq and Syria. Preside

Suzuki chairman says unclear when court may rule on row with Volkswagen

Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki said it was unclear when an international arbitration court will rule on its 2-1/2 year dispute with Volkswagen AG over their failed partnership. _0"> Japan's No.4 automaker by global sales volume filed for international arbitration in November 2011, after Volkswagen refused to sell back a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki it acquired in January 2010 for 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion). Earlier this month, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that a London-based arbitration court had wrapped up witness hearings and was expected to issue a ruling before the end of the year.   true       "It's unclear," the 84-year-old chief executive told reporters in Tokyo when asked about the likely timing of a ruling. Pressed on whether the two companies could reach a settlement, he said repeatedly: "We are the ones that took this to court." The two automakers agreed on a tie-up in December 2009, vowing to work tog

BMW and Tesla executives meet to discuss electric cars

Executives from German carmaker BMW and U.S.-based class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Tesla Motors Inc met this week in a move which could lead to the creation of charging stations usable for different types of electric cars. BMW and electric carmaker Tesla are seeking ways to raise the popularity of battery-powered vehicles, which consumers have shunned due to their limited operating range, the scarcity of charging stations and the time it takes to recharge them. "Both companies are strongly committed to the success of electro-mobility and discussed how to further strengthen the development of electro-mobility on an international level," a BMW spokesman said in a statement on Friday.   true       BMW said the meeting had taken place on Wednesday but declined to comment in detail about the nature of the talks, or about which BMW executives had met with Tesla. In a conference call on Thursday, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said there had been talks with BMW abou

BNP got high-level 2006 warnings on sanctions busting: report

French bank BNP Paribas was warned in 2006 by a high-ranking U.S. Treasury official and in three reports by legal experts that it risked being penalized for breaking U.S. sanctions, according to Le Monde newspaper. _0"> Since France's biggest bank flagged the risk of a big fine in February this year, sources close to the affair have said it ignored early warnings of the risks it faced. They pointed out that the alleged offending transactions being investigated by U.S. authorities continued until 2009. The French newspaper's report, written as talks accelerate towards a possible $10 billion fine and other penalties, said Stuart Levey, then the U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, made a visit to Paris in September 2006.   true       The paper, drawing on the findings of its own investigation, said Levey met the bank's top officials, including Baudoin Prot, who has since become chairman, in its boardroom. Levey was there not to

Drug-linked payouts: complex fix for Pfizer's next Astra bid?

The world's biggest would-be drugs merger hit a wall last month but speculation about smart ways that Pfizer could yet seal a deal with AstraZeneca remains intense. Even as talks fell apart last month, some in Pfizer's camp remained optimistic the transaction could be revived - and certain AstraZeneca advisers have not ruled out renewed talks. Under British takeover law, the UK firm can approach Pfizer at the end of August to discuss a sweetened bid, or Pfizer can try again in November. While the most obvious method for Pfizer to win AstraZeneca around might seem to be more cash, some class="mandelbrot_refrag"> hedge funds think the U.S. firm could structure payouts by tying them to the performance of key AstraZeneca drugs.   true       A so-called contingent value right, or CVR, was a winning formula for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Sanofi in its 2011 battle for Genzyme and the tradeable product - promising additional payouts once future benchm

U.S. futures imply weak open, S&P on track for down week

U.S. stock index class="mandelbrot_refrag"> futures pointed to a slightly lower on Friday as some positive corporate news supported markets, though ongoing violence in Iraq gave investors pause. * While both the Dow and S&P hit record highs this week, Wall Street has lately been pressured by concerns of slowing global growth and violence in Iraq, which has taken oil prices to their highest since September. The Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their first weekly decline after three consecutive weeks of gains. * The S&P has fallen for three straight days, its longest streak of declines since early April. However, it has dropped just 1.1 percent over that period, and many view the market's recent trend upward as intact.   true       * class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Intel Corp shares jumped 4.7 percent to $29.27 in heavy premarket trading a day after the Dow component raised its full-year revenue outlook, citing stronger-than-expected demand f

Weak U.S. producer prices point to tame inflation pressures

U.S. producer prices fell in May after two month of solid gains, but the decline was not enough to change perceptions that inflation pressures are steadily creeping up. The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index for final demand slipped 0.2 percent after advancing in April by 0.6 percent, which was the largest gain in 1-1/2 years. Economists, who had expected producer prices to edge up, saw the decline as a correction after gains in March and April, and said it did not change their view that prices were firming.   true       "The net result is a pick-up. The net strengthening makes the modest acceleration in the more important consumer inflation measures more credible," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. The government revamped the PPI series at the start of the year to include services and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> construction . Big swings in prices received for trade servi

U.S. consumer sentiment slips in June

U.S. consumer sentiment fell in June as views by consumers with the lowest incomes soured, a survey released on Friday showed. _0"> The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary June reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 81.2, down from 81.9 the month before. It was below the median forecast of 83.0 among economists polled by Reuters.   true       "The change from May was too small to indicate a significant loss in sentiment," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. "The small month-to-month variations aside, the main finding from the recent surveys is that consumers have maintained their expectations at reasonably favorable levels for the past six months." The survey's barometer of current economic conditions rose to 95.4 from 94.5 and was below a forecast of 95.7. The survey's gauge of consumer expectations slipped to 72.2 from 73.7, and missed an expected 74.6. The survey's one-year

OECD sees U.S. growth accelerating through 2015

Fiat Chrysler CEO confirms targets despite difficult Brazil

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will meet its 2014 targets even though the Brazilian car market is set to remain difficult and Europe is showing no sign of improvement, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Friday. _0"> "At the group level, we'll achieve them. This is not a problem," Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Venice. Asked about a possible stabilisation of the situation in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Brazil , he said: "Fiat will maintain its market share in the ups and downs. We expected it to be a difficult year. We see a difficult year until the elections."   true       "The World Cup is distracting everyone but elections are the real problem," he added. A sluggish class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy , expiring tax breaks and weak exports have put the brakes on Brazil's car industry, stoking fears of lay-offs in an election year. Marchionne said he saw no sign of changes in th

Recapitalizing Fannie, Freddie not viable: Treasury official

A senior U.S. Treasury official on Friday rejected calls to recapitalize class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Fannie Mae and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Freddie Mac , saying it would take at least 20 years to make sure they were adequately funded and that in the meantime taxpayers would be on the hook. _0"> In remarks to a housing conference, Treasury Undersecretary Mary Miller repeated the Obama administration's call that the two so-called government-sponsored enterprises be wound down. "Critics of reform would suggest that we can simply recapitalize the GSEs and avoid difficult decisions around creating a new system," she said. "Even if truly rehabilitating the GSEs were possible, recapitalizing them adequately would take at least 20 years."   true       "During these 20 years, the taxpayer would remain at risk of having to bail out the GSEs during another downturn," Miller added class="mandelbrot_refrag"&g

Wall St. edged higher, S&P set to close week lower

U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday, boosted by bullish corporate news from the tech sector, though major indexes remained on track to snap a multi-week string of weekly gains. _0"> While the market's recent trend upward was considered intact, broader gains were hard to come by with major indexes within striking distance of record levels amid ongoing violence in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Iraq , which has taken oil prices to their highest since September. Intel Corp was both the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> S&P 500's biggest gainer and the Nasdaq's most active name, jumping 6.2 percent to $29.70 a day after the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Dow component raised its full-year revenue outlook, citing stronger-than-expected demand for personal computers used by businesses.   true       "The market isn't cheap, but it isn't crazy expensive and the sectors that are looking better are cyclical in nature," sa

GM issues another ignition switch recall, for Chevy Camaros

In a product recall that echoes the one that has plunged General Motors Co GM.N into a safety crisis, the automaker on Friday said it will recall 511,528 current model Chevrolet Camaro cars, mainly in North America, to correct an issue with the ignition switch. GM said a driver's knee can bump the key fob and move the ignition switch out of the "run" position, causing the engine to shut off. Earlier this year, GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide because of an ignition switch failure in which a bump of the key fob can turn off the engine, disabling power steering and airbags. That defect was not reported to consumers for years and has been linked to at least 13 deaths and caused a re-examination led by Chief Executive Mary Barra of how the company handles safety recalls.   true       But GM said the new recall, affecting Camaros of model years 2010 to 2014, is not like the one involving older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion cars. "It's not at

Priceline to buy OpenTable for $2.6 bln

Travel website owner Priceline Group Inc will buy restaurant reservation website operator class="mandelbrot_refrag"> OpenTable Inc for $2.6 billion, aiming to broaden its offerings in an increasingly competitive online travel industry. _0"> Priceline's offer of $103 per share for the owner of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> OpenTable .com represents a premium of 46 percent to OpenTable's Thursday close. OpenTable's shares inched past the offer price to trade at $104.19 on the Nasdaq, suggesting that some investors expect a higher bid. Priceline's shares were down 1.6 percent at $1,205.50.   true       With online travel companies having little room to expand, many are looking outside the industry to boost revenue. Travel review website TripAdvisor Inc bought online restaurant booking platform Lafourchette last month to enter the restaurant-booking industry. As of Thursday, OpenTable's shares were trading at about 33.5 times 12-

Massive Picasso at New York's Four Seasons to move to a museum

A massive Pablo Picasso theater curtain that has graced the hallway of New York City's landmark Four Seasons Restaurant for more than 50 years will be moved to a museum, the artwork's owner said Thursday. "Le Tricorne," a 19-foot (5.8-meter) tall canvas completed in 1919 for the Ballet Russes, will find a new home at the New York Historical Society in coming months, said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. A staple of the Four Season's decor since 1959, "Le Tricorne" was at risk of losing its display space after the owner of Seagram Building, in which the restaurant is located, said the artwork could no longer be accommodated.   true       "We are deeply grateful to the New York Historical for having stepped forward to help safeguard this cultural treasure," Breen said. "Our goal was to keep it in New York and keep it in a public place." The piece was donated to the Landmarks Conservancy in 2005 by French

Apple to make 3-5 million smartwatches monthly, sales begin October: report

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Apple Inc is preparing to sell its first wearable device this October, aiming to produce 3 million to 5 million smartwatches a month in its initial run, the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Nikkei reported on Friday, citing an unidentified parts supplier and sources familiar with the matter. _0"> Specifications are still being finalized, but the devices are likely to sport curved OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays and sensors that collect health data from blood glucose and calorie consumption to sleep activity, the Japanese news service cited industry sources as saying. The industry has long expected Apple to unveil some sort of smartwatch, following the release of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Gear watches.   true       Wall Street is hoping to see a new Apple product this year to galvanize the former stock market darling's share price and end a years-long drought of ground-breaking devices. CEO Tim Cook h

Accused Seattle gunman suffers severe mental illness, his lawyer says

The man accused of killing one person and wounding two others in a shooting spree at a small Christian college in Seattle suffers from "significant and long-standing mental health issues" that were a factor in the tragedy, his lawyer said on Friday. Speaking to reporters after a court hearing in which a judge ordered the suspect, Aaron Ybarra, 26, held without bail on suspicion of first-degree murder and assault, defense attorney Ramona Brandes also said her client had been involuntarily committed in the past because of mental illness. She added that Ybarra was sorry for the victims' pain.   true       The probable-cause statement filed in court by prosecutors said Ybarra confessed to police detectives that he was the gunman in Thursday's incident, that he had been planning a mass shooting and wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself. Local media reports citing unidentified police sources have said Ybarra, who is not a student at the

Americans split on prisoner swap of Taliban for U.S. soldier

Americans are deeply divided over whether the Obama administration did the right thing by swapping five Taliban leaders to win the freedom of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Afghanistan prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl, according to Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Friday. Americans strongly agree the United States should make every effort to free prisoners of war like Bergdahl, an Army Sergeant who was captured in eastern class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Afghanistan in 2009. But they also think the prisoner swap deal set a dangerous precedent. The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 958 Americans interviewed online found that 44 percent disagreed with the statement that trading Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl was "the right thing to do," with 26 percent of them strongly disagreeing.   true       Twenty-nine percent of those polled said they thought the prisoner swap was the right thing to do and 27 percent said they were not sure, the poll found. Bergdahl was hande

Apple to make 3-5 million smartwatches monthly, sales begin October: report

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Apple Inc is preparing to sell its first wearable device this October, aiming to produce 3 million to 5 million smartwatches a month in its initial run, the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Nikkei reported on Friday, citing an unidentified parts supplier and sources familiar with the matter. _0"> Specifications are still being finalized, but the devices are likely to sport curved OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays and sensors that collect health data from blood glucose and calorie consumption to sleep activity, the Japanese news service cited industry sources as saying. The industry has long expected Apple to unveil some sort of smartwatch, following the release of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Gear watches.   true       Wall Street is hoping to see a new Apple product this year to galvanize the former stock market darling's share price and end a years-long drought of ground-breaking devices. CEO Tim Cook h

Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin ban on gay marriage

A federal judge deemed Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Friday to the delight of gay couples who immediately began rushing to county offices to wed as word of the ruling spread. The ruling marked the latest in a string of decisions by federal judges who have struck down gay marriage bans in a number of states, although the Wisconsin ruling sparked some confusion over whether such marriages could now legally go ahead. Clerks in two counties issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday night, and in response Wisconsin's attorney general filed an emergency motion asking the judge to stay her ruling.   true       U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which Wisconsin adopted in 2006, violates gay couples' fundamental right to marry and their equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution. "Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of t

Putin orders tightening of border control with Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an order to the Federal Security Service to strengthen protection of the country's border with class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine to prevent people crossing illegally, Russian news agencies reported on Saturday. _0"> The order comes a day after Putin held talks with global leaders in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> France , where U.S. President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama called on him to cease support for separatists in eastern class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine and stop the provision of arms and material across the border. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Trevelyan )

Ukraine's new leader stands up to Moscow over Crimea and Europe

Ukraine's new president Petro Poroshenko said his country would never give up Crimea and would not compromise on its path towards closer ties with Europe, spelling out a defiant message to Russia in his inaugural speech on Saturday. The 48-year-old billionaire took the oath of office before parliament, buoyed by Western support but facing a crisis in relations with Russia as a separatist uprising seethes in the east of his country. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, weeks after street protests ousted Poroshenko's pro-Moscow predecessor Viktor Yanukovich, in a move that has provoked the deepest crisis in relations with the West since the Cold War.   true       "Citizens of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine will never enjoy the beauty of peace unless we settle our relations with Russia. Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is, and will be, Ukrainian soil," Poroshenko said in a speech that drew a standing ovation. He said he had delivered