Asia shares waver, bond yields climb into US data
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares spent much of Friday in a state of suspended animation as tension mounted ahead of jobs data that could make or break the case for an imminent scaling back in U.S. stimulus. Government borrowing costs from Japan to Australia hit fresh highs on trepidation the Federal Reserve could start tapering its $85 billion of monthly debt purchases at its policy meeting on December 17 and 18. "In other words, mission accomplished." "And the Fed will likely couple the start to tapering with a move to further push out expectations for the first rate hike." For the moment, though, discretion was coming out ahead of valor and share markets across Asia were mixed at best. Japan's Nikkei at least managed to steady after steep falls the previous two days.
Solid U.S. job gains expected in November, Fed seen on hold
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers likely maintained a strong pace of hiring in November, but probably not strong enough for the Federal Reserve to start reducing the amount of money it is pumping into economy. The gains, however, would be above the 174,000 monthly average for the past six months. "We are on a pretty solid trend, we are maintaining the course and job gains are continuing at a solid pace," said Laura Rosner, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. The unemployment rate is forecast to slip a tenth of a percentage point to 7.2 percent as some federal workers who were counted as jobless in October returned to work after a 16-day partial shutdown of the government.
Analysis: Boeing bidders dangle goodies to win 777X jetliner
By Alwyn Scott and Harriet McLeod NEW YORK/CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - South Carolina will clinch a long-awaited land sale next week that should help Boeing Co expand aircraft production. Perhaps more importantly, the $13.8 million deal may help South Carolina win assembly work for Boeing's next big jet. The acreage near Boeing's assembly line in North Charleston is just one of a tantalizing collection of goodies that states across the country are dangling to try to lure the lucrative new jet program, known as the 777X, that promises thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefit to the winning state. Boeing has requested proposals for the jetliner program from more than a dozen states after the unionized machinists in Washington state last month roundly rejected a labor contract that would have guaranteed the plane was built there.
U.S. judge weighs penalties after Bank of America fraud verdict
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge is considering an alternative that could result in Bank of America Corp paying much less than the $863.6 million the government is seeking as a penalty for the sale of defective mortgages before the financial crisis. At a hearing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan asked the bank and the Justice Department to brief him on the alternative, which is based on the grains rather than the losses resulting from the sales. The hearing followed a jury verdict on October 23 in which a federal jury found Bank of America liable for fraud for selling substandard mortgage to government sponsored mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The verdict was a big win for the government in its efforts to hold Wall Street accountable for the financial crisis, and the Justice Department has requested a penalty based on the gross losses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac incurred.
Deutsche Bank quits commodities, but keeps index funds
By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank, which is quitting trading in most raw materials markets, will retain its near $9 billion commodities index fund business, a strategy industry experts said helps the German bank profit from fees and maintain ties with some of the largest investors. A top-five financial player in commodities, Deutsche Bank said on Thursday it will cease trading energy, agriculture, base metals, coal and iron ore, while retaining precious metals and a limited number of financial derivatives traders. But the bank will continue to deal in commodity indexes, said spokeswoman Renee Calabro in New York. Industry experts said commodity indexes were shielded from the lower profit margins, higher capital requirements and growing political and regulatory scrutiny that were forcing banks out of proprietary and physical trading of commodities.
J.C. Penney gets SEC inquiry regarding its financial position
(Reuters) - Department store chain J.C. Penney Co Inc said it received a letter of inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, seeking an explanation on the company's financial position. The company said the SEC requested information on October 7 regarding its liquidity, cash position, debt, and public offering of common stock announced on September 26. The company said it is cooperating with the U.S. regulatory body on its request and providing the necessary material, in a regulatory filing with the SEC.
Southwest, Virgin win waiver to purchase LaGuardia slots
By Karen Jacobs and Diane Bartz ATLANTA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Southwest Airlines is purchasing 22 of the 34 takeoff and landing slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport that American Airlines has given up in return for government approval of its merger with US Airways Group Inc . Virgin America plans to buy the remaining 12. US Airways and American agreed to give up dozens of airport slots to settle a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice that sought to block the airlines from merging to create the world's largest carrier.
LA sues Citi, Wells Fargo over discriminatory mortgage lending
The city of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against Citigroup and Wells Fargo , seeking damages for a loss in tax revenue due to discriminatory mortgage lending to the city's minority communities, a court filing showed. In complaints filed in the U.S. Federal Court, LA City attorney Mike Feuer said that Citigroup and Wells Fargo "engaged in a continuous pattern and practice of mortgage discrimination in Los Angeles since at least 2004 by imposing different terms or conditions on a discriminatory and legally prohibited basis." Spokeswomen for Citigroup and Wells Fargo told Reuters that the lawsuit is without merit. Major banks are already waging multiple court battles relating to their mortgage lending practices and have so far paid billions of dollars in fines and penalties to various U.S. authorities. Foreclosures are on the rise in many of United States' most vulnerable neighborhoods, particularly those with substantial concentrations of minority households, the complaint said.
WTO close to elusive world trade deal, say officials
By Randy Fabi NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Ministers from nearly 160 member countries of the World Trade Organisation entered a final day of negotiations on Friday with officials sounding optimistic over chances of salvaging a deal that would save the WTO from sliding into irrelevance. "We are very close," WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told reporters at the meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. "As things stand now, the prospects are promising." Earlier this week a deal had looked in doubt, largely due to India's insistence that it would not compromise on a policy of subsidizing food for its hundreds of millions of poor. It is 12 years since the WTO launched the Doha Round, but the negotiations have yet to yield any concrete results, having started out with a far more ambitious agenda.
U.S. lawmaker urges continuation of Boeing F/A-18 fighter line
By Andrea Shalal-Esa WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Randy Forbes, a key member of the House Armed Services Committee, on Thursday urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to rethink the U.S. Navy's current plan to allow Boeing Co's F/A-18 fighter jet production to close in 2016. Forbes released a December 4 letter to Hagel in which he raised concerns about the fighter industrial base and warned about relying solely on the next-generation F-35C fighter jet being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp since it will not be ready for operational use on an aircraft carrier until 2019. The lawmaker's warning comes amid a concerted push by Boeing for additional U.S. and foreign orders for its popular F/A-18 Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler electronic attack plane based on the same airframe to keep production going. Boeing executives say they see good prospects for additional F/A-18 orders from the U.S. Navy, Canada, Australia, Denmark and several other countries, and they plan to continue investing in the fighter line.
Solid November jobs report could give economy jolt
WASHINGTON (AP) — A fourth straight month of solid hiring in November could give the U.S. economy a jolt and signal that the job market may finally be gathering momentum.
Fast-food protests return amid push for wage hikes
NEW YORK (AP) — Fast-food workers and labor organizers marched, waved signs and chanted in cities across the country on Thursday in a push for higher wages.
LA sues Wells Fargo, Citigroup over foreclosures
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles city attorney sued Wells Fargo and Citigroup on Thursday, alleging the companies engaged in mortgage discrimination that led to a wave of foreclosures in minority communities during the housing crash.
Cargo bikes the new minivan for cycling families
SEATTLE (AP) — One fisherman uses a bike to deliver hundreds of pounds of salmon to local markets. A mom who regularly shuttles her two kids around town once tried to haul a twin mattress home. And some companies are using the bikes to deliver beer kegs or pick up recycling.
Calif. citrus growers toil to fight freeze
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — After the orange harvesting and the sun sets, the toughest part of John S. Gless day is just beginning: a desperate fight to stave off a cold spell threatening to destroy his citrus crop.