Futures edge lower on Ukraine tension; Yellen on tap
After holding near the unchanged mark, futures lost ground after Ukrainian authorities said 90 trucks from a Russian aid convoy had crossed into Ukraine without permission and Ukraine's state security chief said the move amounted to a "direct invasion" by Russia. Market participants will closely monitor a speech Yellen is due to make at a policymakers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for insights into how soon interest rates may be raised. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is also expected to speak.
Dollar flatlines ahead of Yellen, Draghi at Jackson Hole
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar was steady on Friday after its strongest weekly run since March and world stocks were near all-time highs as markets waited for steers from the Federal Reserve and ECB on diverging policy plans. European shares opened barely changed and heading for their biggest weekly gain since February, while Asian markets hitched a ride on another record close for Wall Street to end the week near a six-and-half-year high. Emerging market stocks were also stronger but investors were beginning to move to the sidelines ahead of speeches by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Exclusive: Apple iPhone 6 screen snag leaves supply chain scrambling
By Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Suppliers to Apple Inc are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component disrupted panel production ahead of next month's expected launch, supply chain sources said. It's unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers, the sources said, as Apple readies larger-screen iPhones for the year-end shopping season amid market share loss to cheaper rivals. Cupertino, California-based Apple has scheduled a media event for Sept. 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7 inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) screens - bigger than the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c. Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July.
U.S. labor market less flexible than in 1990, economists warn
The research by two top labor economists portrayed the United States as potentially losing one of its notable economic strengths - the robust flow of workers between jobs, and the churn of employment as companies succeed and fail. Those and other forces have driven down measures of labor market "fluidity" by as much as 25 percent since 1990, a trend that could translate into lower employment levels, productivity and wages, economists Steven Davis of the University of Chicago and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland wrote in a research paper prepared for the annual central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Russia keeps up pressure on McDonalds with new sanitary inspections
By Vladimir Soldatkin MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian authorities extended their scrutiny of McDonald's to several regions on Friday, carrying out inspections at a number of restaurants run by the U.S. The inspections are viewed by many businessmen as retaliation for Western sanctions against Russia because of its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, and they fear the retribution could spread to other symbols of Western capitalism. A spokeswoman for the country's food safety agency, Rospotrebnadzor, said the inspections were not related to the standoff. The agency also said it had no plans to close down the company's business in the Republic of Tatarstan, two days after the agency shut three McDonald's branches in Moscow.
Argentina slams U.S. Judge Griesa for imperialist attitude
Argentina on Friday accused the U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa blocked payments to holders of debt issued under U.S. Griesa said measures announced by Argentina's president this week to make debt payments locally and push bondholders to bring their debt under Argentine law violated past court rulings, though he stopped short of holding the country in contempt. Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said U.S.
Germany clears $6.9 billion RWE unit sale to Russian investor
FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's economy ministry approved the sale of utility RWE's oil and gas unit DEA to a Russian investor despite tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis. The go-ahead announced on Friday removes the biggest hurdle for the 5.1 billion euro ($6.9 billion) sale, a major plank in RWE's struggle to reduce a debt burden of more than 30 billion euros. As part of the deal, Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman and his co-investors will get stakes in about 190 oil and gas licenses or concessions in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Relations between Russia and the West were already deteriorating over Ukraine when the deal was announced in March.
China regulators says Qualcomm seeks to end anti-trust probe
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in a statement on its website, said its officials had met on Thursday with a delegation from Qualcomm which included company President Derek Aberle. "Qualcomm executives discussed with NDRC officials several topics in an effort to reach a comprehensive resolution," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We are continuing to cooperate with NDRC and cannot comment further." The NDRC gave no further details.
U.S. federal prosecutors questioning GM lawyers on vehicle recalls: source
General Motors had issued a report in June which detailed how for 11 years it turned a blind eye to an ignition-switch problem linked to at least 13 deaths but largely pinned the blame on what the report described as incompetent lower-level employees, leaving top brass untouched.
Co-Op Bank losses narrow on branch closures, staff cuts
By Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Co-operative Bank reported a narrower loss for the first six months of 2014 after axing jobs and closing branches following a restructuring that saw it fall under the control of bondholders. The bank reported a pretax loss of 75.8 million pounds ($126 million), compared with an 844.6 million pound loss in the same period the previous year. Britain's seventh-biggest lender, which has 4.7 million customers, came close to collapse last year after a 1.5 billion pound capital shortfall was exposed. A recapitalization saw the Co-operative Group's ownership of the bank fall to 20 percent.
Decision could boost use of popular weed killer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with tougher and more resistant weeds, corn and soybean farmers are anxiously awaiting government decisions on a new version of a popular herbicide — and on genetically modified seeds to grow crops designed to resist it.
Deadline to clear up health law eligibility near
WASHINGTON (AP) — The clock is ticking for hundreds of thousands of people who have unresolved issues affecting their coverage under the new health care law.
Athens Olympics leave mixed legacy, 10 years later
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — In an obscure corner of a park sits a forlorn reminder that, 10 years ago, Athens hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics. The crumbling miniature theater is inscribed with the words "glory, wealth, wisdom, victory, triumph, hero, labor" — and it is where visiting Olympic officials planted an olive sapling that would bear their names for posterity.
Wal-Mart: Try, try again
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart thought shoppers would like the opportunity to use a smartphone app to scan items they want to buy as they walk through store aisles. In theory, they could speed through self-checkout.
Like stocks, junk bonds show investor jitters
NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market isn't the only place that's been signaling jitters among investors. The $2.3 trillion market for risky U.S. corporate debt has also been under pressure.