Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

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(CN) – Shareholder concerns about gun violence do not “transcend” Wal-Mart’s interest in managing its daily business operations, including its decision to sell assault rifles, the Third Circuit ruled Monday.

Three months after vacating an injunction against Wal-Mart, the federal appeals court explained why the superstore’s 2015 proxy materials need not include a proposal advocating for board oversight of dangerous products.

Trinity Wall Street, a large Episcopal parish in New York City and one of the wealthiest religious institutions in America, had sought such relief as an owner of Wal-Mart stock.

Claiming that it wants to use its investment portfolio to advance its values, particularly focusing on the reduction of violence, the church sought to include a proposal in Wal-Mart’s proxy materials regarding sales of the Bushmaster AR-15, a high-capacity rifle.

Dubbed “The Most Wanted Gun in America” by The New York Times in 2013, the AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s standard M-16 rifle.

Full Story @ [Courthouse News]

global-economy

BEIJING—China’s aggressive response to plunging share prices undercuts its pledge to have the market play a decisive role in the economy and risks cementing investors’ belief that Beijing will always bail them out.

Over a tense weekend, the government oversaw several steps to stem the selling frenzy that sent the benchmark Shanghai Composite down 29% in three weeks as of Friday. Brokerage firms, mutual-fund managers and an investment arm of the government pledged to buy stocks. New share offerings were suspended, quotas for foreigners to buy stocks were increased and the central bank vowed to provide funds to help investors borrow to buy shares.

While the flurry of rescue moves may stem panic in the short term, some economists warned that if not implemented carefully, it could encourage another market bubble even as the existing one deflates. Investors are likely to conclude that Beijing will make good on even reckless investments, they say.

“You could’ve been excused as a punter for thinking there was no downside risk here,” said ING Group economist Tim Condon.

Full Story @ [Wall Street Journal]

Interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Mr Saviano said of the international drugs trade that “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade. “Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that drug trafficking organizations were blatantly recycling dirty money through European and American banks, but no one takes any notice,” he said. “He found that banks were welcoming dirty money because they need cash, liquidity during the financial crisis. The figures are too big to be rejected …. Yet there was no reaction.”

US justice officials concluded HSBC was guilty of “stunning failures of oversight – and worse, that led the bank to permit narcotics traffickers and others to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through HSBC subsidiaries and facilitate hundreds of millions more in transactions with sanctioned countries”, including money banked for Middle East terror groups.

He accused the British Government, together with Austria, of consistently blocking anti-money-laundering moves by the European Union. “They will carry on like that until someone gets killed here by the Russians or the Italians. ” he said. Mr Saviano said he feared one reason was because banks are a key source of political funding.

“Every time there’s an election campaign, I wonder if someone will come forward and start a campaign on money laundering … but it never happens. The reason, I am convinced but I don’t have the proof, is that a good part of the money that comes from money laundering goes into the election campaign. Not illegally, legally, because it can come in because of a lack of regulation.”

Full Story @ [independent.co.uk]

So, the question then is: just what is Citigroup doing with its soaring Precious Metals (excluding gold) exposure, and why is such a dramatic place taking place at precisely the time when not only JPM is cornering the entire “Other” Commodity derivatives market in the form of a whopping $4 trillion in derivatives notional, but in the quarter after none other than Citigroup itself was responsible for drafting the swaps push-out language in the Omnibus bill.

And also: how is it legal that JPM is solely accountable for 96% of all commodity derivatives while Citigroup is singlehandedly responsible for over 70% of all “precious metals” derivatives? Surely even by the most lax standards this is illegal, but what makes the farce even greater is that all of this taking place out of FDIC-insured entities!

The final question, which we are absolutely certain will remain unanswered, is whether any of these dramatic surges have anything to do with the recent move in precious metals prices, or rather the complete lack thereof, even as Europe is on the verge of its first member officially exiting the Eurozone, and China’s stock market is suffering its worst market crash since 2008. Oh, and we almost forgot: with both JPM and Citi now [own] well over 50% of the derivatives market in two critical categories, who is the counterparty!?

Full Story @ [Zero Hedge]

The blog, goldseek.com, recently published a report on a Freedom of Information Act request they recently filed with the US government. They were seeking seven reports from federal audits of the gold at Fort Knox. The government’s response? They can’t find those reports – even though they reference those reports as evidence of the gold stored at Fort Knox in a number of ways.

global-economy

teleSUR spoke with UK anti-poverty activist John Hilary, who criticized the behavior of Greece’s creditors who have demanded more austerity.

The International Monetary Fund made over US$1.5 billion as a result of the interest charged to Greece through its bailout loans, according to John Hilary, executive director of the War on Want, who spoke to teleSUR in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

The leftist Syriza government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will conduct a referendum Sunday to consult with the Greek people and determine whether they approve or reject the terms set out by creditors, which include tax increases and cuts to pensions.

Tsipras opted to call for the referendum after negotiations broke down between the government and its creditors, who insisted on more of the same policies that have pushed the Greek economy into a severe economic recession.

“The only people who are benefiting from keeping the debt going are the bankers, they’re the ones who made a killing out of Greece’s debt,” Hilary told teleSUR. “Of the money that has been handed out in the so-called bailouts, 10 percent has gone into the Greek economy and 90 percent has gone straight back to the bankers and the other financiers who are holding that credit,” said Hilary.


Source: [TeleSur]

The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate Labor Department survey of households, fell from 5.5 percent and is the lowest since April 2008. The decrease reflected fewer Americans in the labor force.

The participation rate, which indicates the share of the working-age people in the labor force, decreased to 62.6 percent, the lowest since October 1977, from 62.9 percent. Labor force participation slumped among teens, with a more moderate decrease among men 20 years and older.

Government payrolls were little changed in June after a 4,000 increase in May. Employment at state and local agencies is often influenced this time of year by swings in the timing of school closings for summer recess.

Retailers increased payrolls by 32,900. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 22,000.

Factories increased payrolls by 4,000 after a 7,000 gain a month earlier. Manufacturing and mining have been hurt by cutbacks in drilling and exploration following the plunge in oil prices.

Full Story @ [Bloomberg]

Colt foundered financially after losing key military contracts. Bondholders blame Sciens for letting the military contracts slip away due to alleged failure to invest to keep Colt competitive. Sciens denies mishandling the company. Colt, Sciens and a lawyer for bondholders didn’t respond to a request for comment on the interest from the Morongo.

The Morongo aren’t taking sides, said Vickie Driver, a Texas bankruptcy lawyer advising the tribe on how to find a way in to the chapter 11 action. “We’re open, ready to talk. Colt needs something to right its ship,” she said.

One of the largest tribal business conglomerates, the Morongo run a $250 million resort and casino on tribal land, as well as a golf club and travel center. The tribe also owns the Hadley Fruit Orchard stores and online business, and it has an alliance with Nestle Water North Americas which sells water bottled at a $26 million plant on the reservation. “Manufacturing in the Northeast is a very good diversification play,” Mr. Ryce said.

If it is money Colt needs, the tribe has it, Mr. Ryce said. Colt could still be put up for sale, and if it is, the Morongo will bid. Should the company choose a turnaround plan, the Morongo could step up as a chapter 11 plan “sponsor,” or outsider that funds the relaunch of a reorganized business.

If it’s an advantage in winning back U.S. government military supply contracts lost in recent years, the tribe has that, too, thanks to federal programs for Native American businesses, Mr. Ryce said.

Colt makes sense as a business investment for the Morongo. The tribe’s interest, however, is economics tinged with patriotism, according to its lawyer.

Full Story @ [Wall Street Journal]

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (center) speaks with (from left) Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Ellicott Dredges GM Craig Murdock and CFO Joseph Wendel during a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility in March. Lew was on hand to promote investment in American infrastructure. The company has utilized the Export-Import Bank’s services.


An agency of the federal government will have to stop doing business today. That’s because members of Congress went home last week for the July Fourth recess without reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

The bank helps American companies sell their goods overseas. The bank’s critics say they’re stopping corporate welfare.

Back in May of this year Boeing threatened to outsource jobs if ex-im bank is shut down.

Source: [NPR]

Microsoft Braces For More Job Cuts

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Economics
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There are already signs of a slim down, but so far it’s been a nip and tuck here and there. On Monday, the company said it is selling its ad placement business to AOL, offloading 1,200 positions in that process. And, it is selling off part of Bing’s mapping business (and another 100 positions) to Uber.

But smart money is that Microsoft will be chopping more jobs, mostly from the mobile phone ranks. The phone business was folded into a new Windows and Devices unit under Terry Myerson in a reorg two weeks ago, with former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop exiting at that time.

Recall too how, at this time last year, unconfirmed reports of impending layoffs surfaced. The following week, CEO Satya Nadella sent a memo about the company’s strategic direction with mention of unnamed-but-fundamental-cultural changes needed to achieve it.

The next week: boom! A plan to cut 18,000 people in the course of the year. That was the largest downsizing in the company’s history but was not a total surprise given that Microsoft picked up 25,000 employees in its $7 billion acquisition of Nokia’s struggling phone business.

Full Story @ [fortune]