Financial News from AFP

  • Korea Inc. struggles to keep it in the family AFP - 10 hours ago
    Korea Inc. struggles to keep it in the family

    With bitterly feuding siblings, attempted boardroom coups and an act of corporate patricide, the family squabble currently engulfing one of Korea's largest conglomerates makes for compelling drama. In a warped interpretation of Walt Disney's axiom that "a man should never neglect his family for business" the 92-year-old founder of the Seoul-based Lotte Group and his two sons have been tearing chunks out of each other with little or no apparent concern for the impact on the country's largest retail giant. Squabbles for control of South Korea's family-run conglomerates, known as "chaebol", have long been staple plotline fare for the country's popular K-dramas, but the real-life Lotte dispute is setting new standards for in-fighting and intrigue.

  • S&P downgrades outlook for EU after Greece crisis AFP - 11 hours ago
    S&P downgrades outlook for EU after Greece crisis

    Standard & Poor's has changed the outlook for the European Union from stable to negative after the bloc's support for Greece and following Britain's decision to vote on leaving the EU, S&P reported. The decision means the US ratings agency could lower its grade of the European Union -- now at AA+ -- in the next two years. "The EU's repeated use of its balance sheet to provide higher-risk financing to EU member states (most recently including Greece), without the member states' paying in capital," was one reason behind the revised outlook, S&P said on Monday.

  • Egypt seeks cash, prestige boost with 'new Suez Canal' AFP - 11 hours ago
    Egypt seeks cash, prestige boost with 'new Suez Canal'

    Egypt is set to inaugurate a "new Suez Canal" waterway touted as an achievement rivalling the digging of the original, as it seeks to boost both its economy and international standing. The ceremony on Thursday, to be attended by foreign dignitaries including French President Francois Hollande, comes just over two years after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief, overthrew his Islamist predecessor. Sisi broke ground on the project last August after winning a presidential election on promises of strengthening security and reviving the ailing economy.

  • Malaysia graft agency says PM's funds not linked to scandal AFP - 11 hours ago
    Malaysia graft agency says PM's funds not linked to scandal

    Malaysia's anti-graft agency has said that nearly $700 million deposited into the prime minister's personal bank accounts were from "donations" and not related to a brewing scandal. Prime Minister Najib Razak has faced mounting pressure in the past year over a series of revelations alleging that hundreds of millions of dollars were siphoned off from a state-owned company linked to him. The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Malaysian government investigators had found nearly $700 million was routed to his personal bank accounts.

  • Donald Trump gambles on the business of politics AFP - 12 hours ago
    Donald Trump gambles on the business of politics

    In his own words, Donald Trump is the very definition of American success. The flamboyant tycoon, reality TV star and the mogul instantly recognizable to millions by his complicated comb-over, sits atop a dazzling empire of real estate, hotels and golf courses. "Donald Trump is in the business of polishing the Trump brand," says Larry Chiagouris, professor of marketing at Pace University in New York.

  • Twitter shares close at all-time low on growth worries AFP - 16 hours ago
    Twitter shares close at all-time low on growth worries

    Twitter shares fell to an all-time low on Monday, weighed down by doubts that the popular messaging platform isn't growing fast enough to thrive. Twitter shares were down more than five percent to $29.25 at the close of official trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter shares have been sliding since executives discussing quarterly earnings figures last week said it would likely take a lot of time to build a service with broad mainstream following.

  • Greek stock market suffers record drop as shutdown ends AFP - 17 hours ago
    Greek stock market suffers record drop as shutdown ends

    Greece's stock exchange suffered its steepest-ever fall on Monday, plunging more than 16 percent as trading resumed after a five-week shutdown triggered by the country's debt crisis. Bank shares were particularly hard-hit, sinking some 30 percent after the Athens bourse opened for the first time since the government imposed capital controls to prevent a bank run and stave off financial collapse at the height of its standoff with EU-IMF creditors over a new bailout. The ATHEX index ended the day a record 16.32 lower to 668.06 points, its worst drop in nearly 30 years, highlighting investors' ongoing anxiety about the Greek economy even after a new rescue deal was agreed last month.

  • Puerto Rico defaults on bond payment: Moody's AFP - 17 hours ago
    Puerto Rico defaults on bond payment: Moody's

    The US territory of Puerto Rico, deep in economic crisis, has defaulted on part of its $73-billion debt by missing a bond payment due on Monday, rating firm Moody's said. "Bondholders today did not receive full and timely payment of debt service due August 1 on bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Public Finance Corporation," said Emily Raimes, vice president at Moody's Investors Service, in a statement. "Moody's views this event as a default," she added.

  • Automakers report strong US sales in July AFP - 18 hours ago
    Automakers report strong US sales in July

    Automakers reported strong US sales in July, boosted by sport utility vehicles, as the industry benefited again from lower gasoline prices and a steadily improving US economy. Takoma and Tundra pickup sales were up nearly 17 percent.

  • Delta Air Lines bans big game trophy shipments AFP - 18 hours ago
    Delta Air Lines bans big game trophy shipments

    In the wake of the scandal over the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, US airline Delta on Monday banned the shipment of big game trophies on its flights. "Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight," the company said in a brief statement. Delta added it would review its acceptance policies for other hunting trophies with the appropriate government agencies and other organizations.

  • US stocks drop as oil equities tumble AFP - 18 hours ago
    US stocks drop as oil equities tumble

    US stocks fell Monday with petroleum-linked equities retreating on a big drop in oil prices as Wall Street girds for a busy week of economic reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 91.66 points ...

  • Microsoft buys firm that boosts sales through games AFP - 19 hours ago
    Microsoft buys firm that boosts sales through games

    Microsoft announced on Monday that it has bought a startup with a winning way of using game play to boost the performance of sales teams. Microsoft did not disclose financial terms of the deal in which it acquired Texas-based Incent Games, developer of the online platform FantasySalesTeam. "They've disrupted the old sales incentive model with an original twist that combines gamification with fantasy sports and expertly applies it to a sales setting," Microsoft corporate vice president Bob Stutz said in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

  • Police arrest Lula aide in widening Petrobras scandal AFP - 20 hours ago
    Police arrest Lula aide in widening Petrobras scandal

    Brazilian police on Monday arrested a top aide of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the widening corruption probe into state oil company Petrobras that has engulfed the political and business establishment. Prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima told reporters that Jose Dirceu -- Lula's chief of staff between 2003 and 2005 -- was a "chief instigator" in the creation of the massive kickbacks scheme, which is estimated to total at least two billion dollars. Dos Santos said Dirceu was not only a beneficiary of the payments but one of the "creators" of the scheme -- all while he was serving as Lula's chief of staff.

  • Guyana says oil rig leaves disputed waters AFP - 20 hours ago
    Guyana says oil rig leaves disputed waters

    An ExxonMobil rig that ignited a maritime boundary dispute between Guyana and Venezuela has now left the area, a Guyanese official said Monday, denying it was because of Venezuelan pressure. Guyana's Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said the Deepwater Champion left the disputed area because its exploratory work was done, having found a major deposit of high quality crude oil. Venezuelan suggestions that ExxonMobil moved the rig because of pressure was nothing more than posturing ahead of elections, he said.

  • Channel migrants crisis bites into British business AFP - 21 hours ago
    Channel migrants crisis bites into British business

    The disruption to freight between Britain and mainland Europe caused by strikes and illegal immigration is starting to hurt British businesses, from luxury English car manufacturers to Scottish seafood exporters. Industrial action and delays caused by migrants massed at the French port of Calais are taking a toll on the other side of the Channel, with thousands of trucks queueing up at England's southeastern tip for ferry and freight shuttle rail services. "While clearly hampering holidaymakers, the disruption at Calais also has an economic impact as exporters are being delayed getting their goods to market," said Katja Hall, deputy director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, the nation's biggest employers' body.

  • Finland seeks to cut labour costs AFP - 21 hours ago
    Finland seeks to cut labour costs

    Finland's centre-right government announced on Monday plans to cut the cost of labour by five percent to boost competitiveness and revive Finland's slumping economy. "The goal is to improve competitiveness by reducing unit labour costs by five percent and to improve employee security" in dismissal situations, Prime Minister Juha Sipila said at a press conference. Unit labour cost is an economic indicator used by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and it measures the average cost of labour per unit of output.

  • US consumer spending edges higher in June AFP - 21 hours ago
    US consumer spending edges higher in June

    US consumer spending edged higher in June, capping a rebound in the second quarter from weak growth in the first months of the year, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of US economic activity, rose 0.2 percent in June after a 0.7 percent gain in May and a 0.3 percent increase in April, the department said.

  • British trader jailed for 14 years for rigging Libor rates AFP - 21 hours ago
    British trader jailed for 14 years for rigging Libor rates

    Tom Hayes, 35, is the first person to be found guilty by a jury of rigging the benchmark inter-bank lending rate, a key reference for financial products around the world from consumer loans to savings accounts. "The conduct involved here must be marked out as dishonest and wrong and a message sent to the world of banking accordingly," judge Jeremy Cooke told Hayes as he sentenced him at London's Southwark Crown Court. Many of the world's top banks have been hit by scandals over the rigging of the Libor rate, which is estimated to underpin some $500 trillion of contracts.

  • Romania pursues Lukoil for money laundering AFP - 21 hours ago
    Romania pursues Lukoil for money laundering

    Romanian prosecutors on Monday sent Russian oil major Lukoil to trial on charges of defrauding its local refinery 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion). Lukoil Europe Holdings BV based in the Netherlands, Petrotel Lukoil which runs the refinery in Ploiesti in southern Romania, and six executives including three Russian nationals were charged with money laundering for allegedly siphoning off funds from the local company to its European owner. Petrotel's managing director Andrey Bogdanov and five of his subordinates "concluded contracts disadvantageous to the refinery by selling petroleum products at prices lower than production costs", said a statement from the Ploiesti prosecutor's office.

  • UK to start selling RBS shares with 5.2% stake AFP - 22 hours ago
    UK to start selling RBS shares with 5.2% stake

    Britain is to start selling off its shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland by disposing of 5.2 percent of the state-rescued institution, the Treasury announced Monday. RBS was bailed out with public money at a cost of £45.5 billion ($70.9 billion, 64.7 billion euros) following the 2008 global financial crisis and the British government holds 78.3 percent of the bank's shares. The Treasury owns its stake in RBS through UK Financial Investments and finance minister George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, agreed with the limited company's desire to start the sell-off, officials said.

  • French bank Societe Generale drawn into E.Guinea graft probe AFP - 22 hours ago
    French bank Societe Generale drawn into E.Guinea graft probe

    French bank Societe Generale has been drawn into the corruption case against the son of Equatorial Guinea's president, a judicial source said on Monday. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, one of the country's vice-presidents, was charged by French prosecutors in March 2014 with money laundering and misappropriation of public funds. Societe Generale was last week given the status of "assisted witness" in the case -- which lies between a witness and a suspect in the French legal system.

  • Greek stocks take historic beating as bourse reopens AFP - 22 hours ago
    Greek stocks take historic beating as bourse reopens

    Greece's stock exchange took a historic beating Monday as trading resumed after a five-week shutdown forced by capital controls, with the main index registering its greatest-ever drop drop of 16.23 percent and bank shares particularly hard hit. The previous worst loss in the stock market's history was a 15.03-percent drop in 1987.

  • Exor strikes $6.9 bn deal to buy PartnerRe AFP - 22 hours ago
    Exor strikes $6.9 bn deal to buy PartnerRe

    Italian-based investment company Exor, controlled by the Agnelli family, said Monday it had struck a $6.9 billion (6.3 billion euro) deal to buy reinsurer PartnerRe. "Today's agreement is very positive for PartnerRe and Exor. Under our stable and committed ownership, PartnerRe will continue to develop as a leading independent global reinsurer," said John Elkann, Exor's chairman and CEO.

  • Europe's top stock markets shrug off Greek plunge AFP - 22 hours ago
    Europe's top stock markets shrug off Greek plunge

    Europe's main stock markets mostly rose on Monday, appearing to shrug off a plunge in Athens as Greek trading resumed after a five-week shutdown. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index however slipped 0.11 percent to finish at 6,688.62 points, with its heavyweight oil and mining sectors hit by more disappointing Chinese data, traders said. Greece's stock exchange reopened Monday with a drop of more than 22 percent after a five-week shutdown imposed by capital controls in the country's debt crisis.

  • Nokia sells mapping service to German car makers for 2.8 bn euros AFP - 23 hours ago
    Nokia sells mapping service to German car makers for 2.8 bn euros

    German car makers BMW, Audi and Daimler have teamed up to buy digital mapping service HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion) from Nokia, the Finnish telecoms group said Monday. The sale "should be concluded in the first quarter of 2016," Nokia said in a statement, adding that it expected net proceeds from the deal of just over 2.5 billion euros. The joint acquisition, which will have to be approved by competition authorities, is aimed at maintaining HERE'S products and services "as an open, independent and value-creating platform" in the automotive industry and beyond, the car makers added.

  • Trader gets 14 years in jail in UK for rigging Libor rate AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 3:21 PM AEST
    Trader gets 14 years in jail in UK for rigging Libor rate

    A trader who worked for UBS and Citigroup was jailed Monday for 14 years by a London court after becoming the first person to be found guilty by a jury of rigging the benchmark Libor inter-bank lending rate. The verdict on Tom Hayes, 35, came after a two-month trial at a London court. Hayes had denied eight counts of conspiracy to defraud between 2006 and 2010, when he worked for Swiss bank UBS and its US rival Citigroup.

  • UK trader Tom Hayes jailed for 14 years over rigging Libor rate AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 3:12 PM AEST
    UK trader Tom Hayes jailed for 14 years over rigging Libor rate

    Former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes was on Monday sentenced to 14 years in jail for rigging the benchmark Libor inter-bank lending rate, in the first conviction of its kind. The 35-year-old had earlier ...

  • US manufacturing slows a tick in July AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 3:04 PM AEST
    US manufacturing slows a tick in July

    US manufacturing activity slowed slightly in July amid weaker export orders and a continued drag from falling oil prices, the Institute for Supply Management reported Monday. The ISM purchasing managers index on the manufacturing sector fell to 52.7 in July from 53.5 in June. Both new export orders and imports fell 1.5 percent.

  • Greek stocks close with record drop of 16.23% AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 2:39 PM AEST
    Greek stocks close with record drop of 16.23%

    Greece's stock exchange closed Monday with a record drop of 16.23 percent on reopening after a five-week shutdown caused by capital controls. The general index settled at 668.06 points with the nation's outflow-hit banks and top corporations taking a beating.

  • Ex-UBS, Citigroup trader convicted in UK of Libor rigging AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 2:11 PM AEST
    Ex-UBS, Citigroup trader convicted in UK of Libor rigging

    A trader who worked for UBS and Citigroup on Monday became the first person to be convicted by a jury in Britain of rigging the benchmark Libor inter-bank lending rate. Tom Hayes, 35, was found guilty following a trial at London's Southwark Crown Court. Hayes had denied eight counts of conspiracy to defraud between 2006 and 2010, when he worked for Swiss bank UBS and its US rival Citigroup.

  • Ex-UBS, Citigroup trader convicted in UK of rate rigging AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 2:03 PM AEST
    Ex-UBS, Citigroup trader convicted in UK of rate rigging

    A trader who worked for UBS and Citigroup on Monday became the first person to be convicted in Britain of rigging the Libor inter-bank lending rate. Tom Hayes, 35, was found guilty following a trial at ...

  • HSBC exits Brazil as group profit falls AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 12:26 PM AEST
    HSBC exits Brazil as group profit falls

    HSBC has agreed to sell its Brazilian business to local group Banco Bradesco, the British banking giant announced Monday alongside news of a fall in net profits. Profit after tax fell 3.8 percent to $4.36 billion ( 4.0 billion euros) in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, said HSBC, which is selling the Brazilian unit for $5.2 billion to slash costs. The sale "represents a significant step in HSBC's stated goal to optimise its global network and reduce complexity", the company said in a statement.

  • Greek stocks take a beating as bourse reopens AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 11:29 AM AEST
    Greek stocks take a beating as bourse reopens

    Greece's stock exchange took a beating Monday as trading resumed after a five-week shutdown forced by capital controls, with the main index losing around a fifth of its value and bank shares particularly hit. The state agency ANA reported that 10 billion euros had been wiped out on the stock exchange. It is logical and anticipated by everyone," stock market chairman Socrates Lazaridis told Bloomberg TV, noting that he expected the market to stabilise in a month's time.

  • Bitcoin exchange chief Karpeles 'manipulated data dozens of times' AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 10:48 AM AEST
    Bitcoin exchange chief Karpeles 'manipulated data dozens of times'

    Mark Karpeles, the head of defunct Bitcoin exchange MtGox, manipulated its computer system at least 30 times over a couple of years, a report said Monday, as Tokyo promised greater efforts to regulate the digital currency. The fresh allegation against France-born Karpeles, 30, follows his arrest Saturday by Tokyo police, more than a year after the once-dominant exchange collapsed in the wake of fraud allegations. Citing investigators, Japan's top-selling Yomiuri newspaper said Monday that Karpeles fraudulently tinkered with data and transferred funds to other firms controlled by him dozens of times between 2011 and 2013.

  • Veolia net profits more than double to 321 million euros AFP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 10:36 AM AEST
    Veolia net profits more than double to 321 million euros

    Waste management giant Veolia said Monday its profits in the first half of the year more than doubled to 321 million euros ($352 million), helped by a cost-cutting drive. The French company, which specialises in water distribution, waste, recycling and energy, said its turnover also rose by 7.3 percent to 12.3 billion euros. "All our indicators are in very clear growth... in only the first six months of the year the group has net results equal to the whole of 2014," said CEO Antoine Frerot in a statement.