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Stock futures flat ahead of jobless claims data

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 12:55
U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of job market and trade data, which might dictate the market's next move as earnings season slowly kicks off. Data expected at 8:30 a.m. EDT ...
Categories: Business

Stocks gain momentum, Europe at seven-year high

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 10:55
World stocks marched higher again on Thursday, drawing support from European auto sales and German trade data, while expectations that the first U.S. interest rate increase will come in the latter part of the year continue to grow. Investors also breathed a sigh of relief as Greece confirmed it will pay a 450 million-euro loan tranche to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday, meeting a deadline and taking the immediate heat off the cash-strapped country.
Categories: Business

Fed officials say June rate hike still in play, hinges on data

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 10:55
The Federal Reserve could still hike interest rates in June despite weak recent U.S. data and investor skepticism, two influential officials with the central bank said on Wednesday, putting the spotlight squarely on the economy's performance in the next two months. Disappointing U.S. jobs growth, manufacturing activity, and retail sales over the winter had pushed market expectations for a rate hike to later in the year. June has long been seen as the earliest the Fed could tighten policy, after more than six years of near-zero rates. "I could imagine circumstances where a June rate hike could still be in play," Dudley, a permanent voting member on the Fed's policy committee and a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, told a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York.
Categories: Business

Samsung expects record Galaxy shipments, S6 edge shortage

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 10:54
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd expects record shipments for its new Galaxy S6 smartphones and said it will struggle to meet demand for the curved-edged version due to production constraints, adding to hopes for a turnaround in mobile sales. This week, the company estimated its January-March operating profit to be its highest in three quarters, which analysts said was partly because Samsung put its own chips in the new phones. Samsung expects the flat screen S6 to sell more than the higher-margin S6 edge - priced about $120 more in South Korea - but mobile chief J.K. Shin said at a media event on Thursday the firm won't be able to keep up with demand for the latter model in the near term because the curved screens are harder to manufacture. Samsung has not disclosed its shipment record for the handset.
Categories: Business

Euro zone gives Greece six-day deadline to revise reforms: paper

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:00
Euro zone deputy finance ministers gave Athens a six working day deadline to come up with revised reform proposals to enable a deal to be reached at a Eurogroup meeting on April 24 to unlock bailout aid, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Thursday. A euro zone official has said discussions will reach a critical point at the April 24 meeting of the euro zone's finance ministers in Riga.
Categories: Business

Greece will make $485 million loan payment to IMF on Thursday: government source

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:00
Greece confirmed it will pay a 450 million euro loan installment to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday, a government official told Reuters. "The payment has been scheduled and will go out ...
Categories: Business

China's first-quarter economic growth seen at six-year low of 7 percent

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:00
China's economy probably cooled further to grow 7 percent in the first three months of the year, a Reuters poll showed, which would be the weakest pace in six years and raise pressure on policymakers to do more to bolster growth. The deluge of data over the coming week, starting with inflation on Friday and culminating with gross domestic product (GDP) data on April 15, will almost certainly revive speculation about when and how China will next ease monetary policy. China has lowered interest rates and relaxed banks' reserve requirements in the last three months as activity has slowly deteriorated. He said Chinese policymakers would likely be alarmed if the economy slowed to around 6.8 percent annual growth in the first three months, a level that's half a percentage point lower than fourth-quarter growth.
Categories: Business

GM mulls $1.3 billion expansion of Texas assembly plant

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:00
The city council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on April 14 to consider establishing a reinvestment zone at the location. The company, which is among the top 10 employers in Arlington according to the city's website, will spend $307 million on the physical expansion and $986 million on new equipment. "GM is developing a business case for a potential future investment at Arlington Assembly. We cannot share details at this time," GM spokeswoman Jennie Ecclestone said in an emailed statement.
Categories: Business

Exxon rejects Beaumont refinery union proposal; offers six-year pact

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:00
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has rejected a contract offer from the United Steelworkers (USW) local chapter representing hourly workers at the company's Beaumont, Texas, refinery and renewed its offer of a six-year contract, a union official said on Wednesday. Exxon has been campaigning for a longer agreement with the Beaumont workforce, offering first a five-year agreement and then a six-year pact. Sources have told Reuters Exxon wants a longer pact to avoid work stoppages if it expands the 344,600-barrel-per-day-capacity Beaumont refinery into the nation's largest, possibly reaching 850,000 bpd by the end of the decade. On March 17, USW local 13-243 had offered the current four-year national refinery and chemical plant workers contract plus the next contract to be negotiated in 2019 without a work stoppage.
Categories: Business

JPMorgan CEO defends bank size and breadth of product offerings

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 07:55
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S.-based bank, defended the size and business model of his company, which has been criticized as being too big and complicated. Dimon, in a letter to shareholders with the company's new annual report on Wednesday, said the company is "not a conglomerate" and is "not necessarily" more risky because of its size. The threat of additional regulatory and legal costs being imposed on the company are holding down the value of JPMorgan stock and have led to it trade at lower price-earnings ratio than some of its competitors, Dimon lamented in the letter. Dimon has stepped up his public statements defending the company's business model since December when the Federal Reserve unveiled pending requirements that the biggest banks, and JPMorgan in particular, hold more capital to protect against losses.
Categories: Business

Shell challenges Exxon dominance with $70 billion bid for BG

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 07:55
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) agreed to buy smaller rival BG Group (BG.L) for 47 billion pounds ($70 billion) in the first major energy industry merger in more than a decade, closing the gap on market leader U.S. Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) after a plunge in prices. This is a hefty premium of around 52 percent to the 90-day trading average for BG, setting the bar high for any potential counter-bid by a company such as Exxon, which has said it would also use the downturn in oil markets to expand. The third-biggest oil and gas deal ever by enterprise value will bring Shell assets in Brazil, East Africa, Australia, Kazakhstan and Egypt. Shell is already the world's leading LNG company and it would get BG's capacity in LNG logistics - complex infrastructure that includes terminals, pipelines, specialized tankers, rigs, super coolers, regasification facilities and storage points.
Categories: Business

Lafarge, Holcim appoint Eric Olsen as CEO after merger

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 06:00
Lafarge and Holcim have appointed long-time Lafarge executive Eric Olsen as the chief executive of their combined company once their merger is completed, the two groups said in a statement on Thursday. ...
Categories: Business

Hong Kong shares rocket higher in sharpest rally since 2007

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong raced higher on heavy volume Thursday on the back of a move by regulators there to allow Chinese mutual funds to invest in Hong Kong shares.
Categories: Business

Cramer: Beware activists! Beat 'em at their game

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Jim Cramer warns investors about activists, and gives the best approach to make money from an activist stock.
Categories: Business

Dimon defends JPMorgan's size, breadth

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon defended the financial behemoth's size on Wednesday, saying 'larger does not necessarily mean more risky.'
Categories: Business

Alcoa kicks off earnings season with mixed results

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Alcoa revealed adjusted first-quarter profits that narrowly topped views, however, the aluminum giant's sales missed estimates.
Categories: Business

Zynga founder reclaims CEO role amid turnaround

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Zynga founder Mark Pincus, who led the company through a high-profile IPO and then a very public crash, has returned to the role of CEO.
Categories: Business

Fed policymakers sharply divided on liftoff timing

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Fed fight: FOMC members were split in March on whether to hike rates in June, later this year, or even as far as 2016, as they eyed a sharp fall in energy prices, coupled with a powerful rally in the greenback.
Categories: Business

U.S. oil tumbles nearly 7% on big inventory build

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
Oil prices dived 6 percent on Wednesday after closing at their highest this year, as a mammoth rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and news of record Saudi oil production scuttled talk of a sustained recovery. U.S. crude oil inventories surged 10.95 million barrels - three times more than expected - to a modern-day record 482.39 million last week, U.S. government data showed, the biggest one-week increase since 2001. The data added to earlier losses triggered by comments that Saudi oil production rose to 10.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, the highest monthly total on record. The U.S. data were "very bearish," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
Categories: Business

Apple Watch reviews don't matter to early adopters

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 03:55
A batch of mixed reviews for the new Apple Watch likely won't deter many early adopters from purchasing the latest hot gadget.
Categories: Business