Asian shares edge up in cautious trade, U.S. jobs data in focus
By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares edged up in early trade on Thursday, but gains were tempered by weak U.S. private sector employment and manufacturing data that raised concerns ahead of Friday's key employment figures. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up about 0.2 percent in cautious trade, shrugging off modest overnight losses on Wall Street. On Wednesday, the ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private employers added 189,000 jobs last month, falling well short of economists' expectations for a rise of 225,000 jobs.
GoDaddy shares soar in debut as investors buy into revamp
GoDaddy Inc's shares rose as much as 34 percent in their debut on Wednesday following a $460 million initial public offering, as investors spotted a bargain in a company making a shift from Internet domains to small-business services. Founded 18 years ago by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy is hardly a technology start-up, yet investors snapped up its shares in the first day of trading, betting the company can grow further by providing tools to small businesses. "Even though GoDaddy is almost 20 years old, it's a growth company and it's cash flow-positive, which is what investors are interested in," said Jackie Kelley, global and Americas IPO leader for Ernst & Young.
McDonalds raising average worker wage to about $10 an hour
McDonald's Corp plans to raise the average pay of about 90,000 U.S. workers to around $10 an hour, but the increase will not benefit workers at the vast majority of the restaurants, because they are operated by franchisees, who make their own wage decisions. Workers groups said the move by McDonald's, which is also adding benefits such as paid vacations, fell short of their goals. McDonald's, which announced the increases on Wednesday, has been fighting weak traffic and slumping sales in the United States. Starting wages at the restaurants will move to $1 above the locally mandated minimum wage.
EU lays groundwork to file antitrust charges against Google: WSJ
(Reuters) - Europe's competition regulator is preparing the groundwork to file charges against Google Inc in the antitrust investigation over the next few weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The European Commission is asking companies that filed complaints against Google for permission to publish some of the information they submitted confidentially, the Journal said, citing several people familiar with the requests. Google was not immediately available to comment. The U.S. search giant has been engaged in a five-year-old antitrust investigation with the European Union that has stalled multiple times and caused a political uproar.
Bank of America at center stage in U.S. top court bankruptcy case
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday considered the case of a Massachusetts homeowner battling his mortgage lender over a bankruptcy plan, several justices focused their attention on his unlikely ally: Bank of America Corp. Bank of America, one of the largest U.S. banks, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Louis Bullard, who owes community bank Blue Hills Bancorp Inc $387,000 for the mortgage on a property in the town of Randolph. During a one-hour oral argument on the technical issue of whether Bullard can appeal a bankruptcy judge's rejection of his proposed bankruptcy plan, some justices wondered why Bank of America, as a major creditor, would support a debtor. Bank of America originated more than $80 billion in mortgage loans in 2014. Another question raised in court was why Blue Hills, formerly known as Hyde Park Savings Bank, had no similar support from the business community.
Morgan Stanley boosts CEO pay to $16 million in 2014: filing
Morgan Stanley's board boosted Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman's compensation by one-third last year, saying the bank's performance was "strong" but had "room for continued progress," according to its proxy filing on Wednesday. Using another calculation set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which includes restricted awards from prior years and perks, Gorman received $23.3 million in 2014, up from $14.4 million the prior year. It bases Gorman's pay on how well Morgan Stanley achieved objectives from shareholder returns to cost cutting. Colm Kelleher, one of two top business executives under Gorman who oversees trading and investment banking, received a special $2 million bonus last year.
U.S. auto sales demand begins to thaw in March
U.S. consumer demand for new vehicles began to thaw in March, especially for luxury cars and big trucks, but not every carmaker participated in the uptick. New-vehicle sales rose 0.6 percent from a year ago, to 1,545,802 vehicles, industry consultant Autodata Corp said. Among the strong performers were Toyota Motor Corp , Hyundai Motor Co , Kia Motors Corp and Audi . Last month's sales were driven in part by German and Japanese luxury brands, as well as by a strong appetite for big trucks and SUVs from Detroit manufacturers.
U.S. says HSBC must do more to improve compliance
By Jonathan Stempel and Karen Freifeld NEW YORK (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings Plc is making progress toward cleaning up its operations, after reaching a $1.92 billion settlement of charges related to money laundering, but has not done enough, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday. The government made its criticisms after reviewing findings of an independent monitor, Michael Cherkasky, who was appointed in connection with HSBC's so-called deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. authorities. According to a letter from U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn, New York, the government agreed with Cherkasky that HSBC has acted in "good faith" and "made material progress toward meeting the most stringent compliance standards imposed to date upon a global financial institution." But Lynch, who is President Barack Obama's nominee to become U.S. Attorney General, also said Cherkasky had found progress in some areas "too slow," especially in improving HSBC's corporate culture and compliance technology.
Tesla shares get late boost on April Fools press release
(Reuters) - Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. jumped and trading volume surged in the final minutes of trading on Wednesday after the electric car maker issued a press release proclaiming the launch of a new product that turned out to be an April Fool's Day prank. Nearly 400,000 shares traded in that time, and it was the heaviest one minute of trading volume in the stock since the opening 60 seconds of trading on Feb 12. The Tesla statement appeared to be a parody of the recent announcement by Apple Inc. that it was launching a computerized wrist watch product later this month called the Watch.
U.S. judge refuses to delay code theft trial for ex-Goldman programmer
A New York judge on Wednesday rejected a request from prosecutors to delay the scheduled trial of former Goldman Sachs Group Inc computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov, who is charged with stealing code from the investment bank. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel Conviser ordered the trial to move forward immediately in the long-running case that inspired Michael Lewis' best-selling book "Flash Boys" about high-frequency trading. A prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney David Holmes, asked the judge in court on Wednesday for more time to ensure witnesses would be available. Aleynikov's attorney, Kevin Marino, said in court that the prosecution's request for a delay was extraordinary because it was so late and unfair to his client.
Australias foreign aid goes agile, making many assumptions
Agile development works for certain kinds of software, but will it be the right fit for the Australian governments new paradigm for foreign aid?
Woolworths to launch shopping app for Apple Watch
Woolworths is releasing its Woolies Shop app this month, one of the first apps to be available on the Apple Watch, which has been designed to help customers find their nearest stores and navigate the aisles according to their shopping lists.
Immigration Department establishes task force after G20 breach
Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection is revamping its information management practices with the establishment of an accountability task force, after a breach last year of G20 leaders' personal information.
As April Fools arrives, Google flips out and T-Mobile goes to the dogs
The search giant pulls an about-face and the wireless carrier puts on a dog-and-pony show for April Fools' Day. Also: Microsoft's MS-DOS Mobile, Motorola's premium selfie stick and Samsung's smart knife.