By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales rose solidly in November, adding to signs of a strengthening economy that could draw the Federal Reserve closer to reducing the pace of monetary stimulus. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.7 percent last month as Americans stepped up spending on a wide range of goods from automobiles to electronics. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales advancing 0.6 percent last month. So-called core sales, which strip out automobiles, food services, gasoline and building materials and correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, rose 0.5 percent after gaining 0.7 percent in October.
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By Emily Flitter NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co is working with criminal and regulatory authorities on settlements over the bank's relationship with convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, ones that would involve $2 billion in penalties and a rare criminal action, according to sources familiar with the matter. The settlements would fault the bank for turning a blind eye to warning signs about Madoff's firm, which was revealed in December 2008 to be the operator of a massive Ponzi scheme, the sources said. One source said JPMorgan employees in New York, through internal communications at the bank, expressed confusion about details of Madoff's activity and his fund's returns, but the bank decided not to file a suspicious activity report with U.S. regulators, despite the fact that its London office had filed a similar report with UK authorities. JPMorgan spokesman Mark Kornblau declined to comment.
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By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks slid on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a third straight fall as economic data did little to give investors clarity on how soon the Federal Reserve would begin to scale back its stimulus program. Concerns that the Fed would taper its stimulus earlier than expected have weighed on the market for days. The budget agreement removed a potential economic hurdle cited by the Fed in September when it chose to keep its stimulus intact. The Fed has said it would slow its $85 billion a month in bond purchases when certain economic measures meet its targets, including a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate.
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By Sinead Carew and Nicola Leske NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cisco Systems Inc on Thursday cut its longer-term earnings and revenue growth targets due to problems in emerging markets, conservative customer spending and stalling growth in its core business of network equipment, the latest in a drumbeat of bleak developments at the Silicon Valley company. Its shares were down 2 percent - a seven-month low - after it cut its three- to five-year revenue growth target to a range of 3 to 6 percent at its analysts' meeting. Cisco, which issued a dramatic warning on November 13 that revenue would decline in the current quarter and coming quarters, also reduced its target for earnings-per-share growth to a range of 5 to 7 percent for the same period from its previous target of 7 to 9 percent. Chief Financial Officer Frank Calderoni said revenue in Cisco's core network equipment business would be flat to up 1 percent in the same time frame.
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(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc said on Thursday it ordered 90 regional jets from Embraer SA and Bombardier Inc in deals worth about $4 billion at list prices as it upgrades to a more efficient fleet to lower operating costs. The new carrier, formed when AMR Corp and US Airways completed a merger this week, is buying 60 Embraer E175 planes valued at $2.5 billion, and 30 Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen planes worth about $1.42 billion. American has options for an additional 40 Bombardier jets and another 90 Embraer planes. Shares of Brazil's Embraer were up 1.2 percent, while Canada's Bombardier was about flat in Toronto trading.
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By Phil Wahba PLANO, Texas (Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc is looking to the past to build its future. "What we now need is to edit things out that didn't resonate sufficiently," CEO Mike Ullman told Reuters in an exclusive interview at Penney headquarters in Plano, Texas. "He's trying to somehow rebuild a store that has an appeal to the core J.C. Penney customer," said veteran retail analyst Walter Loeb of Loeb Associates.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:41:03 -0500
By Robert-Jan Bartunek BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. cable group Liberty Global is in takeover talks with Dutch operator Ziggo, its latest move to consolidate the sector in Europe with a deal analysts say could cost around 5 billion euros ($6.9 billion). Ziggo, which rejected an approach from the company controlled by U.S. tycoon John Malone in October as too low, on Thursday said no decision has yet been made about a full takeover offer. Liberty, which makes more than 90 percent of its revenue in Europe, has been driving consolidation of the fragmented market there seeking to profit from rising and largely recession-proof demand for faster Internet and digital television. The U.S. company has built its leading position in a broad stretch of Europe from Ireland to Romania via acquisitions over the past decade, and already owns 28.5 percent of Ziggo.
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(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp has agreed to pay $131.8 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that its Merrill Lynch unit misled investors about collateralized debt obligations it structured and sold. The regulator on Thursday said Merrill failed to tell investors that hedge fund firm Magnetar Capital LLC exercised significant influence in choosing collateral underlying two CDOs in 2006 and 2007. It also accused Merrill of maintaining inaccurate books and records on a third CDO, Auriga. The SEC said Magnetar took equity positions in the $1.5 billion Octans I CDO and $1.5 billion Norma CDO I and hedged them with short positions.
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Compensation for Mary Barra, who will become General Motors Co chief executive on January 15, has not yet been determined, the automaker said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Thursday. Barra, who is 51 but will turn 52 by the time she takes over as CEO, had total compensation of about $4.9 million in 2012, including a $750,000 cash salary, according to the filing. Barra was unanimously selected on December 7 by GM's board of directors to succeed the current CEO, Dan Akerson, who is retiring. Akerson's total compensation for 2012 was about $11.1 million, including a cash salary of $1.7 million.
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(Reuters) - Pimco, home to the world's largest bond fund run by co-founder Bill Gross, said on Thursday that it expects U.S. economic growth to run between 2.25 and 2.75 percent in 2014. Pacific Investment Management Co, better known as Pimco, also said in a research report to clients that the firm expects the global economy to grow between 2.5 percent and 3 percent in the next year. "Many of the challenges faced during 2013 have either progressed toward a point of self-exhaustion or are being overcome via alternatives to yield a brighter outlook for global growth in 2014," portfolio manager Saumil H. Parikh said in the report. A spokeswoman said Parikh's report represents the views of Pimco, which oversees roughly $2 trillion in assets under management.
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says 2014 will be its busiest year ever, with 23 new vehicles being introduced around the world.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $131.8 million to settle U.S. civil charges that it misled investors about risky mortgage bonds it sold ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.
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DETROIT (AP) — America's top auto safety regulator is stepping down.
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DETROIT (AP) — New cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year got an average of 23.6 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, a record that came mainly through improvements to engines and transmissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
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Opening up the trade in U.S. crude oil makes sense, especially for the country's biggest of Big Oil companies.
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MarketWatch's live blog of the U.S. stock market session.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:36:50 -0500
In its first three days, the Hour of Code project is saying that over ten million students worldwide have written over a quarter of a billion lines of code. Code.org founder and CEO Hadi Partovi joins ...
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:29:50 -0500
the unexpectedly large jump in November retail sales has investors worrying the federal reserve will find the economy strong enough to curb its stimulus program next week.
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John Malone is on the hunt for another trophy property to add to his global cable and telecommunications empire. Ziggo said it is in talks with Liberty Global about a potential takeover that could value ...
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While the major indexes have seen some damage recently, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the names we follow are in bad shape, with some of them exhibiting the type of behavior that suggests it ...
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Dear Mr. Speaker: This year, coastal communities are facing a perfect storm: they're not only weathering a tough economy but also a wave of unprecedented flood insurance rate increases. While Congress's 2012 Flood Insurance Reform Act was supposed to deal with funding gaps and still ensure homeowners' access to affordable flood insurance, issues including FEMA's poor implementation and inaccurate flood zone maps have resulted in unforeseen price increases that--without Congressional action--will only get worse. ...
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Some people say corporate responsibility reports are a waste of time and money, believing them to be so dense and so dull that no one could possibly bother to read them. Others see them as vehicles for corporate greenwash.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:48:51 -0500
Watch a clip from the film "Saving Mr. Banks." Author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) reflects on her childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) during production for the adaptation ...
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:41:21 -0500
Opponents of raising the minimum wage warn businesses could react with mass layoffs or soul-crushing price increases. But an owner of one of those businesses just said those arguments are complete crap. Here's what Han Kim, a partner at a Holiday Inn Express franchise, said when the Wall Street Journal asked him how his business would react to a $15 minimum wage: "We are running pretty thin as it is so we cannot eliminate positions," he says. Increasing the price of a room is too risky, he adds. "I cannot go around changing prices without my competition [also] changing them.
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Natural gas will surpass coal to become the second-largest fuel source, and demand for natural gas rises by 65% in 2040, Exxon Mobil Corp. said in its annual long-term energy outlook, released Thursday....
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:36:50 -0500
Watch a clip "The Hobbit" film sequel "The Desolation of Smaug," featuring Evangeline Lilly as the elf Tauriel and Orlando Bloom reprising his role as Legolas from "The Lord of ...
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:21:32 -0500
After bouncing from one public-relations disaster to the next, Lululemon Athletica Inc’s bad press may have finally caught up with it.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:08:49 -0500
U.K. stocks decline for a third straight day, led by banks and resource firms, amid worries over a potential reduction in Federal Reserve bond buys.
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Facebook gains Thursday ahead of its pending inclusion in the large-cap S&P 500 index while Hilton surges on its first day of trading in the market.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:02:49 -0500
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Southwest Airlines Co is the biggest gainer on the S&P 500, up 3.7% after analysts at Bank of America upgraded the stock to buy from neutral with the price target of $23. From ...