Asian shares drift lower, India surprises with rate cut
Asian shares and the dollar eased on Wednesday as investors grew cautious before upcoming central bank meetings and U.S. jobs data, while India's central bank surprised with its second inter-meeting rate cut this year. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.8 percent to a one-week low, pulling away from recent 15-year highs. Investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for February, which could provide clues about the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hike.
Pimco CIO Ivascyn says late decision-makers behind withdrawals
Pimco's top investment officer said on Tuesday that "late decision makers" are largely behind a rush of withdrawals from its flagship bond fund some five months after the departure of longtime manager Bill Gross, but the outflows should taper off before long. Dan Ivascyn, group chief investment officer for Pimco, said in an interview that many institutional investors take months to decide on and execute a reallocation from one fund or firm to another. Ivasycn's comments came as the firm reported another $8.6 billion of outflows in February from the Pimco Total Return Fund, bringing withdrawals to $76.6 billion since Gross moved from Pimco to Janus Capital Group Inc. "Not surprised by the outflows," Ivascyn said by phone from the firm's Newport Beach, California, headquarters.
Apple exploring settlement with electric car battery maker
Apple is exploring how to make an electric car and has been hiring engineers with deep expertise in automobile systems. Around June 2014 Apple began aggressively poaching A123 engineers tasked with leading some of the company's most critical projects, A123's lawsuit said. Representatives for Apple and A123 could not immediately be reached for comment. A123 filed the breach of contract lawsuit in February against Apple and five former A123 employees.
Target to cut thousands of jobs
The cost-cutting forms a key plank of a revival plan outlined by Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell, who is seeking to narrow the retailer's focus to a handful of key product lines and bolstering its online business to rejuvenate sales. "Cutting complexity at headquarters will make us more competitive," he said.
DuPont rejects activist request to change how directors are elected
Peltz's Trian Fund Management LP has been publicly critical of the company's performance and requested DuPont use a tool called a universal proxy, which has played a key role in company shake-ups. The universal proxy allows shareholders to split their vote if they are not fully convinced of either party during a proxy battle. The universal card played a key role in billionaire activist investor William Ackman's loss to Target Corp in 2009 and his successful shakeup of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd's board a few years later. Peltz's Trian said it was disappointed that DuPont chose to limit shareholder choice.
China February HSBC services PMI edges up
Activity in China's services sector grew modestly in February as new orders rose at their quickest pace in three months, a private survey showed just a few days after the central bank cut interest rates to stimulate the world's second-largest economy. The PBOC had already cut interest rates in November and reduced the reserve requirement (RRR) - the ratio of cash that banks must set aside as reserves - earlier in February, the first such reduction in over two years.
United Airlines expects to use its cash pile to buy aircraft this year
United Airlines expects to dip into its cash pile to help fund the purchase of new aircraft this year and rely less on debt financing, reflecting the U.S. airline industry's dramatic financial turnaround, the carrier's Chief Financial Officer John Rainey said in an interview. While cash-rich companies have been under pressure from shareholders to increase dividends, United, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier by market capitalization, has said it is focused on finishing a $1 billion share buyback program and that there are no current plans to restore a dividend. How to efficiently use excess cash is a relatively new issue for U.S. airlines.
Springleaf to buy Citis OneMain to become top U.S. subprime lender
Springleaf Holdings Inc said it would buy Citigroup Inc's OneMain Financial Holdings Inc for $4.25 billion in cash, creating the largest subprime lender in the United States. Citigroup has been seeking to hive off OneMain since at least 2011 as part of the No. 3 U.S. bank's plan to sell unwanted assets and focus on wealthier clients. The deal will create a lender with $15 billion in assets and nearly 2,000 branches, serving the large and growing population of non-prime customers in the United States. Springleaf shares soared 38 percent to a record $52.44 on Tuesday.
Brent holds above $60 after Saudi price hikes
Brent held above $60 a barrel on Wednesday supported by a hike in Saudi crude prices and strikes on oil facilities in Libya. In a move widely seen as a vote of confidence by Saudi Arabia in demand recovery, the OPEC kingpin raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday. "This is a sign that prices have bottomed out because it means Saudi is confident in raising prices without being afraid of losing market share," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. In the past seven weeks, Brent crude rose from a six-year low to hold above $60 a barrel despite continued concerns about global oversupply.
U.S. CEOs modestly more upbeat on economy, spending: survey
"The U.S. economy and the job outlook are starting the year in a stronger position than 2014," said Randall Stephenson, chairman of Business Roundtable and CEO of AT&T Inc . Passage of tax-extender legislation late last year gave companies greater confidence to invest, Stephenson said.
US stock market wavers in early trading
NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of better economic reports helped nudge the U.S. stock market up in early trading Thursday, even as global markets headed lower.
General strike shuts down services across Greece
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Services across Greece shut down Wednesday as unions staged a 24-hour general strike and held peaceful demonstrations to protest further austerity cuts in the cash-strapped country.
Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states
Unemployment rates fell in two-thirds of U.S. states last month, evidence that modest economic growth is boosting hiring in most areas of the country.
US stocks edge higher in afternoon trading
Stocks were on track to finish higher Thursday afternoon for the second day in a row as investors drew encouragement from reports on Chinese manufacturing, U.S. home sales and some positive earnings from Best Buy, Dollar Tree and other retailers.
US stocks edge higher in midday trading
Major stock indexes shifted higher in midday trading Thursday, getting a lift from an encouraging report on Chinese manufacturing and some positive earnings from Best Buy, Dollar Tree and other retailers. The market also got a boost from data showing modest improvement in sales of previously occupied homes.