Financial & Business News
Last Update on December 05, 2013 08:28 GMT
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Asian stocks are in the red today after strong U.S. economic data renewed fears that the Federal Reserve may start cutting its monetary stimulus this month.
A private payrolls report Wednesday from ADP said that U.S. businesses did the most hiring in a year in November, adding 215,000 jobs. October's increase was also revised up to 184,000. The official data will be released Friday.
Evan Lucas, market strategist with IG in Melbourne, Australia, said new home sales were also very strong, up 25 percent in October and the highest monthly percentage gain since 1980.
Since the stimulus has helped shore up stock markets for several years, its potential withdrawal has roiled investors, even if it is predicated on an improving economic outlook.
Benchmark crude oil rose above $97 a barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Major economic events reports scheduled for today
WASHINGTON -- Investors get more news about joblessness in America today. The Labor Department will release its weekly report on new unemployment claims.
Other reports of interest due out today include two from the Commerce Department: One covers third-quarter gross domestic product; the other, factory orders for October. Also, Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.
There is one corporate earnings report today. Kroger reports quarterly financial results before the bell.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three of the biggest U.S. lenders have failed this year to meet some requirements for giving relief to struggling homeowners in a $25 billion settlement over foreclosure abuses.
That's according to the monitor overseeing the settlement. Monitor Joseph Smith says Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup together failed to meet seven of the 29 requirements tested in the first half of the year.
The failures include requirements to notify borrowers of any missing documents in mortgage modification applications within five days of receipt and to give borrowers accurate information before foreclosure is started. Smith says the banks have taken steps to correct the errors.
The three banks, Wells Fargo and ResCap Parties agreed in the 2012 settlement to provide relief to borrowers such as reducing interest rates and monthly payments.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple to 20 percent its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020.
Obama says the plan will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources that provide thousands of jobs.
Obama is to announce the plan Thursday as part of his wide-ranging, second-term drive to combat climate change and prepare for its effects. A plan announced in June would put first-time limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, boost renewable energy production on federal lands and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.
The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the executive order on renewable energy, which applies to all federal agencies, civilian and military.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- The Ford Mustang is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new design and plans to go global.
Ford Motor Co. will reveal the 2015 Mustang Thursday at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn, Mich.
The car goes on sale next fall in North America and later in Europe and Asia.
The new car has plenty of cues from the old, including a long sculpted hood, sloping fastback and trapezoid-shaped grille with the Mustang logo. But it also has some new features, including a roof that tapers dramatically in the front and rear and narrower, more menacing headlights.
Ford won't yet say how much the Mustang will cost, but the current version -- which was redesigned in 2005 -- starts at $23,000.
SYDNEY (AP) -- Qantas Airways says it will slash 1,000 jobs over the next year as the flagship Australian carrier forecasts a half-year loss of at least 250 million Australian dollars ($225 million).
Lower demand, a strong Australian dollar and steep fuel costs have put pressure on the airline. Qantas said Thursday that conditions are expected to remain volatile next year.
The airline said it expects to post pre-tax losses of between AU$250 million and AU$300 million for the six months to Dec. 31.
Qantas is trying to save AU$2 billion over the next three years. On top of the job cuts, it will implement a pay freeze for all employees and cut the salaries of Joyce and other executives.
BEIJING (AP) -- "SpongeBob SquarePants" and other Nickelodeon children's programs will be dubbed into Mandarin and available to watch free online in China over the next 12 months.
The deal between popular web portal Sohu.com and Viacom announced Thursday is the latest to give a foreign company more access to China's viewing market.
The companies say the deal will enable an estimated 389 million Chinese online video users to access free Nickelodeon programming on Sohu's site.
The companies declined to say how much Sohu would be paying for the content.
From next Sunday, Sohu Video will start to offer more than 200 hours of Nickelodeon programming, including "SpongeBob SquarePants," `'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Avatar."
China restricts foreign access to its vast television audience. Online video provides more access for foreign productions.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's economy expanded at its fastest clip in nearly two years during the third quarter.
Bank of Korea said Thursday that the economy grew 3.3 percent over the same period a year earlier, the fastest rate since the fourth quarter of 2011.
From the previous quarter, Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 1.1 percent, the same rate as the previous quarter. Before March, South Korea's economy expanded less than 1 percent for two years.
The central bank said export growth was weaker in the third quarter but construction investment led growth.
Capital expenditures turned higher in the July-September period after shrinking for more than a year thanks to increased spending on autos and transportation equipment.
The bank said the economic recovery is uneven between the country's top companies and small firms.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Activist investor Carl Icahn is seeking the support of Apple shareholders as he tries to pressure the iPhone maker into spending more of its cash to buy back the company's stock.
Icahn is upping the ante with a shareholder proposal that he submitted to Apple last week. The investor disclosed the move in a Wednesday post on his Twitter account and elaborated on his reasoning in an exclusive interview published by Time magazine.
Apple confirmed it has received Icahn's proposal, but didn't reveal anything about its content.
Icahn had previously urged Apple Inc. to spend $150 billion buying back its shares. In his tweet, Icahn said his shareholder proposal isn't asking the Cupertino, Calif., company to spend that much. He didn't specify a new target amount.
FDA reaches $1.25M settlement with J&J unit
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says it has reached a $1.25 million settlement with a division of Johnson & Johnson over allegations that it knowingly shipped faulty sterilization equipment used by hospitals.
Under the civil penalty, the FDA says Advanced Sterilization Products, a unit of J&J's Ethicon business, will pay $1.2 million to settle allegations that it made and sold "adulterated and misbranded" sterilization monitoring products. Two company executives will pay an additional $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.
The action settles allegations the company shipped sterilization equipment with inaccurate expiration dates, despite knowledge that the shelf-life listed on the products was not supported by data. The company's Sterrad Cyclesure 24 Biological Indicators are used to confirm the sterilization process used to clean hospital instruments.
The company says the penalty "does not constitute an admission of liability or fault by Advanced Sterilization Products or the two named ASP executives." It adds that ASP's Sterrad Cyclesure units currently on the market are safe to use.
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