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Italian economy minister calls end to recession this year: press

Italy's Economy Minister Saccomanni smiles at the start of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in BrusselsMILAN (Reuters) – Italy's economy will begin emerging from its longest slump since World War Two in the fourth quarter of this year and should grow through 2014, Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said. Asked when Italy would exit the recession, Saccomanni told Rome daily Il Messaggero in an interview published on Sunday: "By the end of this year. "The signs can already be seen in this third quarter, the fourth quarter should see the first positive number. And the whole of 2014 will be positive. …


Japan’s PM may rethink tax hike; could shake markets, unsettle support

Japan's PM Abe speaks during a news conference in TokyoBy William Mallard TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan's most significant fiscal reform in years – a planned increase in the country's sales tax – could be delayed or watered down in a move that might rattle financial markets and amount to an own goal for the prime minister. Despite holding the strongest political mandate of any prime minister in years, there are signs Shinzo Abe is seriously rethinking the plan out of concern it could derail a nascent economic recovery he has crafted with an aggressive policy mix, dubbed Abenomics. …


China orders nationwide government debt audit

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s National Audit Office will conduct an audit of all government debt at the request of China’s State Council or cabinet, it said in a statement on Sunday, underlining concern over rising debt levels in the world’s second biggest economy. The audit office, responsible for overseeing state finances, made the announcement in a one-sentence item on its website, but gave no details on the audit. [...]

Overstock.com CEO mocks SAC Capital indictment in WSJ ad

(Reuters) – Overstock.com Chief Executive Patrick Byrne appeared in an unusual full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Saturday “congratulating” Steven A. Cohen on the indictment of his SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund by federal prosecutors on insider trading charges. In the ad, Byrne, who has made critical comments about big hedge funds such as SAC Capital in the past, is holding what appears to be the skull of a Sith Lord, a villain from the “Star Wars” film series. “Congratulations on the indictment, Stevie, and remember: roll early, roll often,” Byrne says in the ad. U.S. [...]

Ford recalls 33,021 C-Max hybrid cars due to roof issue

A Ford C-max Energi hybrid car is seen on display during the North American International Auto show in Detroit(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said it was recalling 33,021 C-Max hybrid cars because a roof component did not meet requirements for protecting against head injuries. The vehicles were built between January 19, 2012, and June 26, 2013, in Michigan. Only vehicles without the optional panoramic glass roof are included in the recall. Ford said it would install plastic energy-absorbing material under the roof on both sides of the vehicle to correct the problem. No accidents or injuries have been attributed to the issue, the company said. …


Obama disputes job projections for Keystone XL pipeline: NYT

President Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South LawnWASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama called into question the number of jobs that would be created from the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in an interview with the New York Times released on Saturday. "Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator," Obama said, according to the newspaper. "There is no evidence that that's true. …


Reports: Ad giants Omnicom, Publicis in talks

NEW YORK (AP) — Omnicom and Publicis are close to striking a deal that would combine the two advertising giants into the world’s largest advertising firm, according to media [...]

Siemens CEO to leave following profit warning

Peter Loescher, chief executive of German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG addresses the media ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in MunichMUNICH (Reuters) – Siemens Chief Executive Peter Loescher is to leave the company, four years before the end of his contract, after the German engineering group this week issued its second profit warning this year. Siemens said in a statement late on Saturday that at a meeting on July 31, the supervisory board would pass the decision on Loescher's early departure. "In addition, it will decide on the appointment of a member of the managing board as President and CEO," it added. Siemens, among Germany's three biggest companies by market value, did not provide further details. …


Obama says narrowed Fed choices, to announce in months: NY Times

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke arrives for a news conference at the Federal Reserve in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has narrowed his choices to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to "some extraordinary candidates" and will announce his pick "over the next several months," he said in an interview with the New York Times. In the interview, released on Saturday, Obama said he wanted a Fed leader who would focus on helping the economy grow and not just work abstractly to keep inflation in check and markets stable, the Times reported. "The idea is to promote those things in service of the lives of ordinary Americans getting better," Obama said. …


German engineering firm Siemens to replace CEO

BERLIN (AP) — German engineering giant Siemens AG says it will be replacing its chief executive, who has drawn the ire of shareholders by failing to meet profit [...]

Publicis says to make major corporate announcement

Maurice Levy, French advertising group Publicis Chief executive, attends a Reuters Global Media and Technology Summit in ParisPARIS (Reuters) – French advertising group Publicis said it plans to make a "major corporate announcement" on Sunday, after a media report on Friday said it was in merger talks with larger rival Omnicom. A media briefing will be held at 8.00 a.m. ET on Sunday at Publicis headquarters in Paris, the company said in an email on Saturday. Bloomberg reported late on Friday that Publicis and Omnicom were in late-stage merger talks to create what would be the world's largest advertising group. Publicis spokeswoman Peggy Nahmany was not reachable for comment. …


China, EU reach settlement on solar panels

In this July 17, 2013 photo, workers assemble solar panels at a factory in Hefei, in central China's Anhui province. The Europe Union and Chinese solar panel exporters said Saturday, July 27, 2013 that they had reached a settlement in their long trade dispute, with the exporters agreeing to sell their products at a minimum price in the EU market. (AP Photo) CHINA OUTBEIJING (AP) — The Europe Union and Chinese solar panel exporters said Saturday that they had reached a settlement in their long trade dispute, with the exporters agreeing to sell their products at a minimum price in the EU market.


India’s Lanco Infra starts process to restructure $1.3 billion debt

By Neha Dasgupta MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Lanco Infratech Ltd has started a process to restructure debts totaling 75 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) after economic weakness impacted the performance of some of its businesses such as power and engineering and construction. If the process is approved by its lenders, Lanco would be the second debt-laden company to go for a major loan restructuring within nine months, after lenders to wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy in November agreed to restructure about 110 billion rupees of its debt. [...]

EU, China resolve solar dispute – their biggest trade row by far

Workers install a solar panel in JiuquanBy Robin Emmott and Ben Blanchard BRUSSELS/BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the European Union defused their biggest trade dispute by far on Saturday with a deal to regulate Chinese solar panel imports and avoid a wider war in goods from wine to steel. After six weeks of talks, the EU's trade chief and his Chinese counterpart sealed the deal over the telephone, setting a minimum price for panels from China near spot market prices. …


Report: Germany rules out 2nd debt cut for Greece

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s finance minister has categorically rejected a second writedown of Greek [...]

Obama says choices now will govern future economy

President Barack Obama give the thumbs up as walks from Marine One the the White House, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Washington, as he arrives after spending the day at Camp David with members of his cabinet and their families. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Washington's top priority must be to reverse trends like economic inequality, weakened middle-class security and global competition. He says Washington has lost focus on the economy.


Fed’s Lacker says exit from bond-buying program must be quick

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker testifiesBERLIN (Reuters) – The U.S. central bank must end its bond-buying program quickly and an end to the program was "in sight", a senior Federal Reserve official said in a German magazine on Saturday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke jolted markets in late May with plans to ease back on stimulus efforts once the economy improves. The Fed is likely to reduce its monthly bond purchases later this year and stop them altogether by mid-2014, as long as the economic recovery unfolds as expected, Bernanke has said. …


Siemens probes China operations: magazine

The logo of Siemens AG company is pictured atop factory in BerlinBERLIN (Reuters) – German engineering group Siemens is probing its China operations as sales and orders in the world's second-largest economy have failed to grow, Wirtschaftswoche reported without citing the source of the information. The Munich-based company's strategy division is carrying out an examination of activities in China, results of which Siemens executive board will discuss in October before implementing possible changes in policy, the magazine said on Saturday, Activity in China's vast manufacturing sector has been slowing as new orders faltered and the job market weakened. …


United, ANA find wire problems on 787 transmitters

FILE - In this May 20, 2013 file photo, a United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. United and Japan's All Nippon Airways disclosed issues with the wiring on their Boeing 787's emergency transmitters, the same part of the plane that is getting close scrutiny after a parked jet burned earlier this month. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, James Nielsen, File)Two airlines disclosed issues with the wiring on their Boeing 787's emergency transmitters, the same part of the plane that is getting close scrutiny after a parked jet burned earlier this month.


Under siege, JPMorgan to quit physical commodities

A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New YorkBy David Sheppard and Jonathan Leff NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co is exiting physical commodities trading, the bank said in a surprise statement on Friday, as Wall Street's role in the trading of raw materials comes under unprecedented political and regulatory pressure. After spending billions of dollars and five years building the banking world's biggest commodity desk, JPMorgan said it would pursue "strategic alternatives" for its trading assets that stretch from Baltimore to Johor, and a global team dealing in everything from African crude oil to Chilean copper. …


Mitchell’s tenacity led to US energy boom

NEW YORK (AP) — The technological breakthrough pioneered by George P. Mitchell, the billionaire Texas oilman and philanthropist who died Friday at age 94, reversed the fortunes of the U.S. energy industry and reshaped the global energy [...]

Manager of defunct hedge fund pleads guilty to fraud

By Terry Baynes (Reuters) – A former hedge fund manager pleaded guilty on Friday to defrauding investors in a $12.6 million scheme, more than five years after the fund collapsed under the weight of failed real estate loans. Lloyd Barriger, who operated Gaffken & Barriger, a Monticello, New York-based investment fund, pleaded guilty in White Plains federal court to charges of securities fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. [...]

Boeing changes chief 787 engineer in management shuffle

Boeing vice president and 787 Dreamliner chief production engineer Sinnett poses with model of Boeing's 787 Battery Design Improvements after a news conference in TokyoWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Friday it was rotating five executives in its commercial airplanes division, including Mike Sinnett, the chief engineer on the company's 787 Dreamliner, which was banned from flight earlier this year after its battery system showed a risk of catching fire. Sinnett will become vice president of product development, while Bob Whittington, now the chief engineer on Boeing's 777 airliner, will take over as chief project engineer for the 787, the company said in a note to employees. …


Wall St. Week Ahead: Stocks face the Fed, jobs and earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeBy Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) – The coming week on Wall Street could be a summer blockbuster, with the marquee featuring a triple bill: the Fed, jobs and earnings. Of the three, the Federal Reserve has the most potential to upset the market. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to release a statement on Wednesday after a two-day meeting. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke jolted markets in late May by saying the U.S. central bank planned to ease back on its stimulus efforts once the economy improves. Investors have been glued to his every comment since then. …


SAC Capital pleads not guilty; reinsurance unit eyed

An exterior view of the headquarters of SAC Capital Advisors, L.P. in Stamford, ConnecticutBy Bernard Vaughan and Svea Herbst-Bayliss (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen's hedge fund pleaded not guilty on Friday to insider trading charges in federal court, as questions also surfaced about the future of SAC Capital's Bermuda-based reinsurance unit, SAC Re. Ratings company, A.M. Best Co., and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which regulates insurers on the island, said they were monitoring developments one day after prosecutors charged the hedge fund and various affiliates with four criminal counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. A year ago A.M. …


U.S. chief executives can’t break cost-cutting habit

By Lewis Krauskopf, Patricia Kranz and Lucia Mutikani (Reuters) – A disconcerting trend lurks beneath the recent round of solid profit forecasts announced by companies ranging from United Technologies Corp to Wendy’s Co : More than three years into the recovery, CEOs are still relying on cost cuts to prop up earnings. While the cuts are not as severe as those that followed the 2008 financial crisis, companies remain cautious, mindful that revenue growth is still tepid. [...]

FAA seeks $2.75 million quality control penalty for Boeing unit

By Alwyn Scott and Doug Palmer WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday said it proposed penalizing Boeing’s commercial airplane unit $2.75 million for taking nearly two years to fix a problem with fasteners on its 777 widebody airplanes. The penalty was unusual in its size and for the fact that it comes nearly three years after Boeing said it addressed the FAA’s concerns, which stem from 2008. The FAA regularly imposes smaller penalties for rule violations, but multimillion-dollar amounts are far less frequent. [...]

GM fires several employees after probe into Tavera recall

General Motors World Headquarters is seen behind a historic warehouse being restored along the Detroit River in DetroitDETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co fired several employees after an internal probe into a recent recall of its Chevrolet Tavera sport-utility vehicle in India uncovered "violations of company policy," the U.S. automaker said on Friday. "We take these matters very seriously and hold our leaders and employees to high standards," GM said in a statement. "When those standards are not met, we will take the appropriate action to hold employees accountable." GM declined to provide more details. …


Stocks eke out tiny gains on Wall Street

In this Friday, June 28, 2013, photo, Trader Timothy Nick, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Asian stock markets floundered Friday July 26, 2013 as China pressed ahead with industrial restructuring that is partly to blame for slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)NEW YORK (AP) — A mixed batch of earnings results gave investors little direction on Friday as traders began looking ahead to a packed schedule next week.


JPMorgan to quit physical commodity trade amid scrutiny

A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New YorkBy David Sheppard NEW YORK (Reuters) – JP Morgan Chase & Co is exiting physical commodities trading, the bank said in a surprise statement on Friday, as Wall Street's role in the trading of raw materials comes under intense political and regulatory pressure. Wall Street's biggest bank said an "internal review" had concluded it should pursue "strategic alternatives" for its physical commodities operations, which includes assets like its Henry Bath metals warehousing subsidiary and a vast global team trading everything from African crude to Canadian natural gas. …


JPMorgan mulls sale of commodities unit

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan is considering selling part of its commodities [...]

Halliburton plea may help BP in spill liability battle

The company logo of Halliburton oilfield services corporate offices is seen in HoustonBy Braden Reddall and Mica Rosenberg (Reuters) – BP Plc appeared to gain an edge in the battle over liability for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill on Friday, after Halliburton abandoned one of its arguments that tried to paint the British oil company as unconcerned about well safety. Halliburton, which did the cementing work for BP's well, on Thursday pleaded guilty to destroying evidence of internal tests it conducted showing there was no difference between the effectiveness of putting six or 21 casing centralizers on the well. …


Qatar grounds a 787 as glitches pile up on Boeing jet

Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands at Le Bourget airport, one day before the 50th Paris Air ShowBy Praveen Menon and Siva Govindasamy DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar Airways said on Friday it had taken one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners out of service following what it described as a "minor" technical issue, as pressure mounted on the plane maker over possible new electrical problems with the advanced jet. The airline and Boeing Co declined to give further details but industry sources said they were treating seriously reports that the aircraft had been grounded for days after smoke was seen near an electrical panel. …


GMAC Mortgage to pay $230 million as part of foreclosure review

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve said on Friday that GMAC Mortgage will make $230 million in cash payments to borrowers, in a move that will end an independent, case-by-case review of potentially flawed foreclosures. Under the agreement, more than 232,000 borrowers who were in the foreclosure process between 2009 and 2010 will receive compensation. The agreement is similar to deals that bank regulators struck with other major U.S. lenders and mortgage servicers earlier this year. [...]

US stocks recover from an early swoon, end mixed

In this Friday, June 28, 2013, photo, Trader Timothy Nick, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Asian stock markets floundered Friday July 26, 2013 as China pressed ahead with industrial restructuring that is partly to blame for slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market recovered from an early swoon and is ending the day pretty much where it started.


Wall St. ends flat, but Amazon helps Nasdaq

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeNEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks finished mostly flat on Friday, though a rally in Amazon.com shares a day after the online retailer's results helped boost the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.99 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,558.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.39 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,691.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.98 points, or 0.22 percent, at 3,613.16. For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 was flat and the Nasdaq rose 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jan Paschal)


Vivendi sells Activision stake for $8.2 billion

This video game image released by Activision shows a scene from "Call of Duty: Ghosts," the tenth installment in the Call of Duty series. Vivendi SA said Friday, July 26, 2013, it is selling most of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard Inc. for $8.2 billion, giving the video game company back its independence as the French conglomerate tries to strengthen its balance sheet. (AP Photo/Activision)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Vivendi SA is selling most of its majority stake in Activision Blizzard Inc. for $8.2 billion, giving the video game company back its independence as the French conglomerate tries to strengthen its balance sheet.


Jurors hear of Tourre’s Goldman paid leave after SEC lawsuit

Former Goldman Sachs trader Tourre leaves the Manhattan Federal Court in New YorkBy Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may have destroyed his career, as former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre put it, but for more than a year it didn't eliminate his pay. Goldman Sachs Group Inc paid Tourre a base salary of 480,000 pounds ($738,000) after he was put on leave following the filing of the SEC lawsuit in 2010, Tourre said on Friday. Tourre, 34, speaking at the end of his second week of his trial, said he didn't have a choice but to go on leave after the lawsuit was filed. …


Muni board watching general obligation debt in Detroit case

Protesters carry a banner calling for Detroit's debt to be cancelled as people enter the federal courthouse for day one of Detroit's municipal bankruptcy hearings in DetroitWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The municipal bond market's self-regulator on Friday said the Detroit emergency manager's proposed treatment of general obligation bonds in the city's bankruptcy case risks changing how investors view what has long been considered the safest class of municipal debt. Kevyn Orr, Detroit's state-appointed manager, has said that general obligation bondholders will remain unsecured creditors in the $18.5 billion bankruptcy filing. "You have a long history of … …


United finds 787 transmitter with pinched wire

United Airlines says it found a transmitter with a pinched wire on one of its Boeing 787s — the same problem that investigators think may have sparked a fire on a parked 787 in [...]

US stocks creep toward first weekly loss in July

In this Friday, June 28, 2013, photo, Trader Timothy Nick, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Asian stock markets floundered Friday July 26, 2013 as China pressed ahead with industrial restructuring that is partly to blame for slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)NEW YORK (AP) — Weak results from several U.S. companies helped tug the stock market down slightly on Friday, putting major indexes on course for their first weekly loss this month.


Activision to spread its wings after Vivendi sale: CEO

A logo of entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate Vivendi is seen on the main entrance of the company's headquarters in ParisBy Malathi Nayak SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Activision Blizzard Inc's CEO, who is shelling out $50 million of his own money in an $8.2 billion deal to buy back most of Vivendi's stake, said the world's largest video game publisher will be freer to pursue acquisitions and grow after emerging from its French parent's wing. …


Oil falls, has 1st weekly decline since mid-June

NEW YORK (AP) — The oil market cooled off this week following some lofty [...]

Vivendi overhaul gathers pace with $8.2 billion Activision sale

A logo of entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate Vivendi is seen on the main entrance of the company's headquarters in Paris July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Christian HartmannBy Christian Plumb and Leila Abboud PARIS (Reuters) – Vivendi agreed to sell most of its stake in Activision Blizzard, the world's largest videogames publisher, for $8.2 billion on Friday, paving the way for a broader split of the French conglomerate's media and telecoms assets. Vivendi has been looking to sell assets since Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou said 18 months ago there would be no taboos as it tried to make sense of a diverse portfolio built up in a frantic spending spree under a former CEO Jean-Marie Messier in the late 1990s. …


Amazon hits new high on optimism about its U.S. business

A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in GoldenBy Alistair Barr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc shares hit a record on Friday after quarterly results increased optimism about the Internet retailer's U.S. business. The company reported a second-quarter net loss and weaker international growth on Thursday. However, its domestic business expanded quickly and profit in the region improved. "Their biggest market looks really healthy," said Matt Nemer, an analyst at Wells Fargo. …