WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. business inventories increased solidly in February, suggesting restocking could again contribute to economic growth in the first quarter.
Business inventories rose 0.5% after increasing 0.4% in January, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. February’s gain was in line with economists’ expectations.
Inventories fell 2.4% on a year-on-year basis in February.
LONDON (Reuters) -Deliveroo said a more-than doubling in first quarter orders during coronavirus lockdowns was an initial step in proving itself following the debacle of the food delivery company’s London flotation last month.
(Reuters) - The United States’ NATO allies backed on Thursday the latest round of U.S. sanctions on Russia, condemning Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border.
“Russia continues to demonstrate a sustained pattern of destabilising behaviour,” the Western military alliance said in a statement of all 30 NATO allies, accusing Moscow of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, interfering in U.S. elections and engaging in malicious cyber activities.
U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market of Russia’s government debt from June 14, with the order allowing for those actions to be expanded in future.
“We stand in solidarity with the United States,” NATO said, while calling again on Russia to de-escalate tensions on Ukraine’s border and agree to a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, a forum for East-West dialogue.
The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was created in...
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd said it expected domestic travel would top pre-pandemic levels next financial year as it raised its forecast for the current quarter on the back of strong demand in a country nearly free of COVID-19.
(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp squeaked by Wall Street’s first-quarter profit expectations on Thursday, as its capital-markets business posted gains from recent volatility while a handful of special items weighed on results.
Like other major U.S. banks, Bank of America benefited from an improvement in the economic outlook that allowed it to reduce the amount of money it sets aside for potential loan losses. The rollout of vaccines to combat the coronavirus pandemic, combined with government stimulus efforts, have helped the financial industry not just survive but thrive.
That allowed Bank of America to release $2.7 billion from its reserves against loan losses, which boosted the bottom line. It also outlined some $800 million in unusual costs related to compensation, real estate and taxes.
Analysts and investors typically ignore all of those items to look at what “core” earnings are. On that basis, Bank of America’s profit was just in line or slightly above...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has formally approved a report accusing Big Tech companies of buying or crushing smaller firms, Representative David Cicilline’s office said in a statement Thursday.
With the approval during a marathon, partisan hearing, the more than 400 page staff report will become an official committee report, and the blueprint for legislation to rein in the market power of the likes of Alphabet Inc’s Google, Apple Inc, Amazon.com and Facebook.
The report was approved by a 24-17 vote that split along party lines. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.
The report first released in October - the first such congressional review of the tech industry - suggested extensive changes to antitrust law and described dozens of instances where it said the companies had misused their power.
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - An ongoing shortage of crucial semiconductors is the only factor weighing on a global recovery of the car sector from the coronavirus crisis, Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen AG, said on Thursday.
Demand is picking up in the United States, Brazil and China, Diess said at the Hannover Messe trade fair, adding the world’s second-largest carmaker was also working through high order intake in Europe.
“The only thing that is currently limiting and slowing down this recovery is the critical supply situation worldwide with regard to various semiconductor types,” Diess said.
Diess’ remarks came a day after U.S. peer Ford Motor Co outlined another series of plant shutdowns due to the shortage, with five facilities in the United States and one in Turkey affected.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Thursday imposed a broad array of sanctions on Russia to punish it for alleged interference in the U.S. election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other “malign” acts.
The measures blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and placed limits on the Russian sovereign debt market. More penalties could come, although Washington did not want to escalate matters, the Biden administration said.
Moscow reacted angrily, saying this dangerously raised the temperature between the two countries. It summoned the U.S. ambassador for what it said would be a tough conversation.
Among the actions, President Joe Biden issue an executive order authorizing the U.S. government to sanction any sector of the Russian economy and used it to restrict Russia’s ability to issue sovereign debt to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2020 U.S. election.
(Reuters) - Apple Inc has created a $200 million fund to invest in timber-producing forest properties that will be managed to help remove carbon from the atmosphere while also generating a profit, it said on Thursday.
Apple last year set out a goal to neutralize its own carbon emissions and those of its suppliers by 2030. It said 75% of the reduction would come from eliminating emissions through steps such as the use of solar energy and the remaining 25% would come from carbon removal efforts.
Apple and nonprofit Conservation International will be limited partners in the $200 million “Restore Fund,” as it is called, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc will act as a general partner to manage it. Apple confirmed that it will be the biggest investor in the fund.
MILAN (Reuters) -Andrea Orcel fulfilled his dream of becoming a bank boss on Thursday when UniCredit investors backed the veteran dealmaker as chief executive, but disquiet over his pay, among the highest for a banker in Europe, means his tenure begins on the defensive.
Orcel only narrowly defeated a shareholder revolt over the terms and size of his up to 7.5 million euro ($9 million)remuneration package, which secured 54% of votes at the general meeting, just above the required majority threshold.
The package, which is double the pay of former CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, had drawn criticism from leading shareholder advisory firms which had recommended a “no” vote. They were particularly unhappy that the share bonus for the first year was not linked to performance and cannot be recouped in case of misconduct.
Thursday’s vote compares with a 96% approval rate last year and the 87% investor backing for the remuneration policy Mustier adopted after he arrived in...
(Reuters) - Diversified miner Anglo American said on Thursday it has signed a deal to provide 100% renewable energy for its Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, as it aims to power all of its Latin American operations through renewables.
The company, which has already secured commitments to be 100% renewable powered in Brazil and Chile, said the agreement has been signed with Engie Energía Perú.
The Quellaveco mine is expected to start in 2022.
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish energy group Repsol said on Thursday no current or former board member, executive or employee had acted illegally or unethically in relation to the procurement of information services.
The statement was in response to a decision by Spain’s High Court to place the company’s chairman under formal investigation as part of a probe into alleged spying almost 10 years ago.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Retail giant Walmart is among the worst offenders in a new ranking of companies in Latin America that sell eggs from caged chickens, part of a new list of firms from Mexico to Argentina that aims to encourage more humane supply practices.
The new corporate ranking from Mercy for Animals (MFA), a U.S.-based animal welfare group, evaluated 34 of the region’s largest egg sellers on their commitments to phase out supplies from caged chickens.
Besides Walmart’s Mexican unit, which also operates in Central America, others flagged for failing to make or implement cage-free commitments include supermarket chain Soriana and conglomerate Femsa, which operates Oxxo convenience stores.
All three were also criticized for lacking transparency on their egg suppliers.
Walmart de Mexico declined to comment, while Soriana and Femsa did not respond to questions.
TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) said on Thursday it is doing all it can to increase productivity and alleviate a worldwide chip shortage, but that tight supplies will likely continue into next year.
(Reuters) - Myanmar’s external trade has plunged because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “political changes”, a state-run newspaper reported on Thursday, without mentioning violent turmoil following a Feb. 1 coup.
Between Oct. 1 and April 2 the value of external trade slumped to $15.78 billion from $20.36 billion in the same period a year earlier, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
“Myanmar witnessed a slump in exports and imports triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts and political changes,” said the newspaper, which has long been considered a mouthpiece of the military.
The military overthrew an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi two and a half months ago after the election commission rejected its complaints of fraud in a November vote swept by her party.
The return of military rule has triggered daily protests and strikes that have crippled the economy....
LONDON (Reuters) -Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a multi-billion pound stake in GlaxoSmithKline, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, after a year that has seen the British pharma firm take a backseat role in the COVID-19 vaccine race.
Shares in GSK erased losses and traded more than 7% higher on the report, and were last up 5% at 1151 GMT.
(Reuters) - President Joe Biden will issue an executive order on Thursday authorizing the U.S. government to sanction any sector of the Russian economy and will use it to restrict Russia’s ability to issue sovereign debt to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2020 U.S. election, senior Biden administration officials said.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden would bar U.S. financial institutions from taking part in the primary market for rouble-denominated Russian sovereign bonds from June 14. U.S. banks have been barred from taking part in the primary market for non-rouble sovereign bonds since 2019.
The latest step is part of a wider array of sanctions the White House plans to announce on Thursday to make Russia pay a price for “malign” actions such as election interference, cyber-hacking, the use of chemical weapons and reports that it offered Taliban militants bounties to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Among the sanctions to...
(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday ahead of weekly jobless claims and retail sales data as positive earnings reports from companies including Bank of America and BlackRock bolstered hopes of a rebound in profit growth.
Bank of America Corp rose 1.3% in premarket trading after reporting a jump in first-quarter profit that breezed past estimates as it released reserves it had set aside to cover potential coronavirus loan losses.
Top U.S. banks kicked off first-quarter reporting season on Wednesday, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co posting bumper results.
BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, reported a 16% jump in first-quarter profit as investors poured more money into its diverse funds and fee revenue jumped.
ZURICH (Reuters Breakingviews) - What role does the central bank play in combatting climate change? How will it confront the emergence of digital currencies? What if the U.S. economy charges ahead while Europe languishes? Lagarde takes on these questions and more in an exclusive discussion with Breakingviews.###
ZURICH (Reuters Breakingviews) - What role does the central bank play in combatting climate change? How will it confront the emergence of digital currencies? What if the U.S. economy charges ahead while Europe languishes? Lagarde takes on these questions and more in an exclusive discussion with Breakingviews.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Fujifilm Holdings Corp said on Thursday it plans to invest 1.2 trillion yen ($11.02 billion) over three years to accelerate growth in healthcare and its highly-functional materials businesses.
Healthcare will become the company’s largest segment in terms of revenue and operating income, Fujifilm said in a release about its medium-term management plan.
Fujifilm announced last month that Shigetaka Komori, who oversaw the company’s transition from film business to healthcare, would step down as chairman and chief executive in June.
($1 = 108.9000 yen)
(Reuters) -PepsiCo Inc said on Thursday it expects organic revenue growth to pick up pace in the second quarter, betting on higher soda sales from restaurants that are gradually reopening following the speedy rollout of coronavirus vaccines.
A pandemic winner, the company has been benefiting from homebound consumers stocking up their pantries with salty chips, sodas and oatmeal and posted first-quarter revenue that beat Wall Street expectations.
“We are assuming that vaccination efforts will accelerate and population mobility will improve,” Chief Executive Officer Ramon Laguarta said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it is backing Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema with campaign contributions, rewarding them for their opposition to some of President Joe Biden’s legislative initiatives and for trying to work with Republicans.
In disclosures made public on Thursday, the Chamber said its political action committee during the first quarter made about $17,000 worth of contributions to the two senators and nine house members. These included Carlos Gimenez of Florida and Steve Chabot of Ohio, two Republican congressmen who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results after attacks on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump.
(Reuters) - BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, reported a 16% jump in first-quarter profit on Thursday as investors poured more money into its diverse funds and fee revenue jumped.
The company’s net income rose to $1.2 billion, or $7.77 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $1.03 billion, or $6.60 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of $7.64, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
The firm attracted $172 billion net inflows in the first three months of the year to its various funds such as exchange-traded and active funds that aim to beat the market. Capital markets had benefited through the quarter from improving sentiment over a U.S. economic recovery.
BlackRock’s assets under management grew to a record $9 trillion in the quarter, compared with $6.47 trillion a year earlier.
(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp reported a jump in first-quarter profit that breezed past estimates on Thursday as it released reserves it had set aside to cover potential coronavirus loan losses.
The bank released $2.7 billion from its reserves, betting on a swift economic recovery as more people get vaccinated and businesses return to normal.
The second-largest U.S. bank by assets also reported a 12% fall in consumer banking revenue to $8.1 billion in the quarter ended March.
(Reuters) - Corporate executives and investors say they want world leaders at next week’s climate summit to embrace a unified and market-based approach to slashing their carbon emissions.
The request reflects the business world’s growing acceptance that the world needs to sharply reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its fear that doing so too quickly could lead governments to set heavy-handed or fragmented rules that choke international trade and hurt profits.
The United States is hoping to reclaim its leadership in combating climate change when it hosts the April 22-23 Leaders Summit on Climate.
Key to that effort will be pledging to cut U.S. emissions by at least half by 2030, as well as securing agreements from allies to do the same.
“Climate change is a global problem, and what companies are looking to avoid is a fragmented approach where the U.S., China and the E.U. each does its own thing, and you wind up with a myriad of different...
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