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United States loses sparkle as Europe shows signs of hope

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Investors will cast a wary eye on the latest gauges of the United States' economic health this week, while troubled Europe shows early signs of turning the corner. As finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 top economies gather in Washington, on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund's Spring meeting, they view a subdued global landscape where even the United States' prospects seem tarnished. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will be able to claim an early success in the bank's fledgling money printing program with figures on Friday set to confirm that falling prices throughout the 19-country euro zone are beginning to stabilize. Greece has until mid-week to improve a package of reforms required for the release of euro zone loans that it needs to stay afloat, and that will be a hot topic in Washington.
Categories: Business

IEA sees sharp rise in Iran oil output in 3-5 years post nuclear deal

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
World oil markets will not see a significant rise in Iranian supplies for up to five years even if the OPEC member and world powers clinch a final nuclear deal by end-June, Fatih Birol chief economist and future head of International Energy Agency (IEA) said. While the likelihood of an immediate jump in Iranian supplies looks slim, the chance of a steep fall in deliveries from other regions is rising as IEA estimates companies will cut investments by as much as $100 billion in 2015 in oil exploration and production due to lower prices. Iran and six world powers reached a framework nuclear agreement on April 2, spurring hopes for a final deal by end-June that would lift economic sanctions imposed by the West against Tehran's disputed nuclear program. "In three to five years we may see stronger (oil production) growth coming from Iran assuming Iran and global powers strike a final deal in June," Fatih Birol, who will head the IEA from September, told Reuters in an interview in New Delhi.
Categories: Business

Greece may have blown best hope of debt deal

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Even if it survives the next three months teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Greece may have blown its best chance of a long-term debt deal by alienating its euro zone partners when it most needed their support. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' leftist-led government has so thoroughly shattered creditors' trust that solutions which might have been on offer a few weeks ago now seem out of reach. With a public debt equivalent to 175 percent of economic output and an economy struggling to pull out of a six-year depression, Athens needs all the goodwill it can summon to ease the burden. Since outright debt forgiveness is politically impossible, the next best solution would be for Greece to pay off its expensive IMF loans early, redeem bonds held by the European Central Bank and extend the maturity of loans from euro zone governments to secure lower interest rates for years to come.
Categories: Business

Volkswagen chairman appears isolated on board after CEO criticism

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech is facing growing resistance within the supervisory board to his criticism of Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, deepening a leadership crisis at a time when Europe's ...
Categories: Business

Airbus needs more time to decide on A380 changes: paper

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Airbus (AIR.PA) will not abandon its A380 jumbo jet program despite slow sales, its chief executive told Les Echos newspaper, and needs more time to decide whether to redesign its engines as major customer Emirates Airline has requested. Airbus boss Fabrice Bregier appeared to rebuff the request in the interview with Les Echos published online on Sunday. "We are already working on ways to make the A380 more attractive economically by adding seats while preserving the amazing comfort of the plane," he said. The CEO added that the A380 program would break even by the end of the year, and that Airbus hoped to maintain its financial performance.
Categories: Business

BDI industry group sees German growth of 2 percent in 2015

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Germany's BDI industry association is more optimistic about the prospects for Europe's biggest economy than it was three months ago due to cheap oil, strong private consumption and a weak euro, its president said on Sunday. "For this year we expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 2 percent," BDI President Ulrich Grillo told Handelsblatt business daily. While expressing concern about economic developments in Russia and Brazil, Grillo pointed to India, the United States, Spain and Britain as bright spots that could help Germany, traditionally strong on exports. "Europe is profiting from the stimulus of low interest rates, but in the long term structural reforms are required," he told the paper.
Categories: Business

Italy pins hopes on Milan Expo after corruption, delays

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Three weeks before the Milan Expo opens on May 1, the site of the showpiece event is still a mass of trucks raising dust and workers in hard hats racing to finish building after delays, graft and cost ...
Categories: Business

Wall Street caps week up nearly 2%

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
U.S. stocks advanced on Friday as blue-chip conglomerate General Electric posted its best day in six years. The broad S&P 500 ended the week up almost 2%.
Categories: Business

Facebook vs. Google in web ad battle

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
A new patent filed by Facebook could change the way advertisers target ads online, and that could spell trouble for Google.
Categories: Business

Spotify may be raising a $400 million round that would value it at $8.4 billion

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 22:55
Getty Images Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek. … Continued The post Spotify may be raising a $400 million round that would value it at $8.4 billion appeared first on Business Insider.
Categories: Business

Greek finance ministry hits back at German newspaper report

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 19:00
Greece's finance ministry dismissed on Sunday a report by a German newspaper which said that euro zone officials were shocked at Greece's failure to outline plans for structural reforms at last week's talks in Brussels. The mood between Greece's newly-elected leftist government and its euro zone partners has been tense during negotiations that will determine whether the cash-strapped country deserves further financial aid by its EU/IMF lenders. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung cited participants at last week's meeting as saying that they were disappointed by Athens' lack of movement in its plans, adding that the Greek representative just asked where the money was "like a taxi driver" and insisted his country would soon be bankrupt. "When the readers of FAS read the minutes of the Euro Working Group meeting the newspaper will have difficulty justifying its headline and the content of its article," the finance ministry said.
Categories: Business

GE to sell bulk of finance unit, return up to $90 billion to investors

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 16:55
The company on Friday outlined a restructuring plan that includes buying back up to $50 billion of its shares, selling about $30 billion in real estate assets over the next two years and divesting more GE Capital operations. "The stock has been under-owned by institutional investors, and that's going to change now," said Tom Donino, co-head of equity trading at First New York Securities. The repurchase program, which will be partly funded by $35 billion through money returned from GE Capital, is the second-biggest in history after Apple Inc's $90 billion plan. In all, GE said it planned to shed $275 billion in GE Capital assets.
Categories: Business

New U.S. offshore oil drilling rule planned: New York Times

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 14:55
The United States is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP Plc (BP.L) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing Obama administration officials. The Interior Department could make the announcement as early as Monday, the paper said. The rule is expected to tighten safety requirements on blowout preventers, devices that are the last line of protection to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas wells, the Times reported. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Categories: Business

China-led AIIB will be lean, clean and green - official

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:00
The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be lean, clean and green, its interim chief said, playing down concerns over transparency and standards governing the institution. The AIIB is seen as a potential rival to established lenders the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States and Japan. "AIIB is a bank, not a political organization or political alliance. More than 40 countries have applied to join the AIIB, with the United States and Japan being notable absentees.
Categories: Business

Volkswagen in full-blown crisis as CEO vows to fight: sources

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:00
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) has plunged into a full-blown leadership crisis after Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn let it be known on Saturday he will fight for his job even though the carmaker's chairman has reportedly withdrawn confidence in the CEO. Ferdinand Piech, who has spent almost 22 years at the helm of VW, nine as CEO, said he has "distanced" himself from Winterkorn, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, exposing unusual dissent between VW's two top leaders. It comes as VW is seeking to cut billions of euros of costs to boost profitability at its troubled core division while struggling to forge a long-planned alliance of truck brands and to revive operations in the United States. Winterkorn, who in his eight-year reign has overseen VW's transformation from a struggling German group saddled with high labor costs into one of the world's most successful automotive companies, will not run away from his job and feels emboldened by support from strong allies, two sources at Wolfsburg-based VW told Reuters on Saturday.
Categories: Business

France's Vivendi says will not bid for Lagardere

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:00
French media group Vivendi (VIV.PA), with cash to spend after selling a chunk of its business, has no plans to bid for smaller rival Lagardere (LAGA.PA). Earlier this week, a source familiar with the matter had told Reuters Vivendi had made a bid worth 3.3 billion euros ($3.50 billion) for Lagardere in recent weeks. French magazine L'Express had also reported Vivendi's interest earlier in April. "There has been no offer for Lagardere by Vivendi and there will not be one," Vivendi spokesman Simon Gillham said.
Categories: Business

U.S. import prices resume downward trend in March

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:00
U.S. import prices fell in March as rising petroleum costs were offset by declining prices for other goods, a sign of muted inflation that supports the view the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates in June. The Labor Department said on Friday import prices dropped 0.3 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices slipping 0.3 percent after a previously reported 0.4 percent increase in February, when prices advanced after declining for seven straight months. Lower crude oil prices and a buoyant dollar have dampened price pressures, leaving inflation running well below the Fed's 2 percent target.
Categories: Business

German economy minister plays down boost from EU-U.S. trade deal: magazine

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:00
Germany's economy minister warned on Saturday against overblowing expectations for an economic boost from a trade deal between the United States and European Union but said the pact was needed to set high common standards for consumers. The European Commission is trying to finalize a deal on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which some experts say could generate $100 billion a year in additional economic output on both sides of the Atlantic. It would eliminate all tariff barriers between the United States and EU members, which together account for almost half the global economy. "I don't believe in the wondrous calculations for economic growth from (the trade deal) TTIP," said Sigmar Gabriel, also chairman of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) which shares power with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
Categories: Business

Backlogged orders as shoppers get close-up look at Apple Watch

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 10:55
SAN FRANCISCO/PARIS (Reuters) - Customers preordering Apple Inc's smartwatch on Friday will have to wait at least a month for delivery, a sign of strong early demand for company chief Tim Cook's first new major product. People flocked to Apple's stores around the world to get a close-up look at the Apple Watch, the tech company's foray into the personal luxury goods market, with Apple predicting demand would exceed supply at product launch. "We view this as an indication of solid demand paired with very limited supply," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a note to clients. A key factor in the watch's success will be demand once an initial wave of interest from Apple enthusiasts subsides.
Categories: Business

Shock therapy to spur wave of mergers among Italy's 'popolari' banks

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 06:55
MILAN/VICENZA (Reuters) - Italy's biggest cooperative banks are bracing for a wave of mergers following a government reform that forces them to convert into joint stock companies within 18 months. The reform aims to strengthen Italy's banking sector, which fared the worst in a Europe-wide health check of lenders last year. The government says it will also ultimately support bank lending to businesses, which has been shrinking for the past three years as Italy grappled with its longest post-war recession. They say the shake-up could also help find a buyer among the cooperative banks for troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) or Carige (CRGI.MI), the two Italian lenders that emerged as the weakest in the European checks.
Categories: Business