Financial News from AFP

  • Samsung removes logo on smartphones in Japan AFP - 14 hours ago
    Samsung removes logo on smartphones in Japan

    Samsung has removed its corporate logo from its new smartphones sold in Japan, a company spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday. The name Samsung is missing on both the Galaxy S6 and its curved-edge variant, the Galaxy S6 Edge. These models are presented as Docomo Galaxy and au Galaxy, carrying the names of its associated Japanese telecom service providers. Samsung provided no reason why it kept the logo off in Japan.

  • Spanish authorities search ex-IMF chief Rato's office for 2nd day AFP - 14 hours ago
    Spanish authorities search ex-IMF chief Rato's office for 2nd day

    Spanish tax authorities carried out new searches of former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato's Madrid offices in a money-laundering probe as the country questioned whether he had been made a scapegoat in the ruling Popular Party's anti-corruption drive. Rato is already being investigated for alleged fraud during his time as chief executive at Bankia, a Spanish bank which needed to be bailed out by the government. The 66-year-old told El Pais newspaper that he was "actively cooperating with investigators" in the new investigation. Spain's state prosecutor ordered the searches as part of a probe into suspected money laundering, fraud and asset-stripping, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

  • New Google security chief looks for balance with privacy AFP - 14 hours ago
    New Google security chief looks for balance with privacy

    Google has a new sheriff keeping watch over the wilds of the Internet. He now holds the reins of security and privacy for all-things Google. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Eschelbeck spoke of using Google's massive scope to protect users from cyber villains such as spammers and state-sponsored spies. Eschelbeck took charge of Google's 500-strong security and privacy team early this year, returning to Silicon Valley after running engineering for a computer security company in Oxford for two years.

  • Greece, creditors to hold more debt talks Saturday AFP - 14 hours ago
    Greece, creditors to hold more debt talks Saturday

    Greece and its international creditors will meet Saturday in Paris to discuss Athens' massive debt bailout programme and reforms it must adopt in exchange for urgently needed funds, sources said. Progress in the talks has so far proved elusive while Athens is running out of money to pay its creditors, raising the risk of a default and a potentially chaotic exit from the single currency bloc. "The Brussels group is meeting this weekend as of tomorrow afternoon," European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told a press conference Friday. The Brussels group is made up of Greece, the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, plus the European Stability Mechanism, which issues bonds or other debt instruments on the financial markets to raise capital to aid member states.

  • US piles pressure on Athens as Greek crisis roils markets AFP - 15 hours ago
    US piles pressure on Athens as Greek crisis roils markets

    The United States piled pressure on Greece Friday to agree to key reforms to obtain new EU financing, but equity markets sank in fear that Athens is headed for default. Stepping into the latest European financial crisis, both President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Greece needs to reach a deal that will get it 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) more in bailout financing from the European Union. Lew warned in discussions with Eurogroup President and Netherlands Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem that no agreement between the two sides "would create immediate hardship for Greece, and uncertainties for Europe and the global economy more broadly," the Treasury said. Obama more directly called on Athens to accept the requirements that EU negotiators insist upon before releasing any more funds from the massive financial rescue program.

  • US stocks drop as Greece fears override bank results AFP - 20 hours ago
    US stocks drop as Greece fears override bank results

    US stocks looked headed for another week of gains before deep losses Friday pushed the market into the red. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 231.35 points (1.28 percent) to 17,826.30. The broad-based S&P 500 declined 20.88 (0.99 percent) to 2,081.18, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 64.17 (1.28 percent) to 4,931.81. Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said investor sentiment is "cautious," in part because stocks are still so fully valued.

  • Dutch to launch criminal probe into Uber AFP - 21 hours ago
    Dutch to launch criminal probe into Uber

    Dutch prosecutors Friday announced a criminal probe into Uber, in the latest salvo of an increasingly bitter battle between European governments and the popular taxi service app. The move comes after a Dutch judge convicted three taxi drivers belonging to Uber's low-cost service UberPOP of ferrying passengers without a permit and slapping each with a 1,500 euro ($1,600) fine. "This means launching a preliminary investigation to gather detail to determine whether Uber is guilty of commercial organisation of illegal passenger transport," the statement added. Uber said it would contest the ruling and continued to offer UberPOP.

  • Euro is at good level now: French finance minister   AFP - 21 hours ago
    Euro is at good level now: French finance minister  

    Sapin was speaking to journalists after a meeting of the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 countries where concerns were expressed about volatility in currency and capital markets. The G20 noted in a statement that diverging growth rates and monetary policies in major economies were stirring more uncertainty and sharp swings in markets.

  • Ford to build $2.5 bn Mexico engine, transmission plants AFP - 21 hours ago
    Ford to build $2.5 bn Mexico engine, transmission plants

    The Ford Motor Company unveiled Friday a $2.5 billion investment for engine and transmission plants in Mexico, the second major project announced in the country by a foreign auto power this week. The US firm's plan to expand an engine plant in the northern border state of Chihuahua and build a transmissions factory in the central state of Guanajuato will create 3,800 jobs, the company said. The investment was announced by Ford's president for the Americas region, Joseph Hinrichs, and President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Mexican leader's official residence in Mexico City. Just two days earlier, Pena Nieto had invited Toyota executives to his residence for the Japanese auto giant's announcement that it was ending a new plant freeze with a $1 billion factory in Guanajuato to produce the Corolla sedan.

  • US stocks tumble on Greece fears; Dow -1.54% AFP - 22 hours ago
    US stocks tumble on Greece fears; Dow -1.54%

    US stocks tumbled Friday on fresh worries about a Greek debt default as US President Barack Obama called on Greece to enact reforms. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 279.47 points (1.54 percent) ...

  • Oil price soars in mixed week for commodities AFP - 22 hours ago
    Oil price soars in mixed week for commodities

    "Oil prices rose sharply in the past week, supported by further evidence that US production and crude stocks are close to peaking -- if they have not done so already," said Julian Jessop, head of commodities research at consultancy Capital Economics. OIL: Crude futures rallied on signs that US shale oil production -- a key driver of the stubborn supply glut that sparked collapsing prices -- may be on the cusp of easing.

  • Brazil's Petrobras to release delayed earnings amid scandal AFP - 22 hours ago
    Brazil's Petrobras to release delayed earnings amid scandal

    Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras, embroiled in an alleged multi-billion-dollar kickback scandal, will release long-delayed 2014 earnings results next Wednesday, the company said. Petrobras has repeatedly delayed the release of its 2014 third-quarter and full-year results, making investors increasingly wary. "The audited results will be made public on April 22," Petrobras said in a statement Thursday night. Petrobras shares have climbed 50 percent during the last 30 days, as rumors circulated that the results would soon be released.

  • G20 powers fear volatile markets AFP - 23 hours ago
    G20 powers fear volatile markets

    Finance officials from the G20 group of world economic powers expressed concern Friday about the risks of market and exchange rate volatility but avoided talk of Greece's financial plight. "This was not discussed during the official sessions of the G20," said Ali Babacan, the Turkish deputy prime minister and current G20 president. Fresh fears that Greece will not secure more bailout funding from the European Union before huge loan payments come due in have sent European equity markets falling again Friday. The G20, meanwhile, said it wanted the IMF executive board to continue efforts to implement the 2010 package of quota and funding reforms, despite the the continued lack of official ratification from the United States, the Fund's largest shareholder.

  • Cyprus delays key foreclosure vote as protests turn violent AFP - 23 hours ago
    Cyprus delays key foreclosure vote as protests turn violent

    The Cypriot parliament delayed voting Friday on controversial foreclosure legislation demanded by international lenders after protesters scuffled with police outside parliament. Amid tight security, around 250 protesters had gathered to shout down the bill, chanting "No homes in the hands of bankers" and "Stop the country being sold off". As tempers flared and protesters tried to break through barriers, there were scuffles with the police. When the 56-member House of Representatives reconvenes the vote is expected to be a cliff-hanger.

  • Ford announces $2.5 bn auto plant investment in Mexico AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 6:44 PM AEST
    Ford announces $2.5 bn auto plant investment in Mexico

    The Ford Motor Company unveiled Friday a $2.5 billion investment for engine and transmission plants in Mexico, the second major project announced in the country by a foreign auto power this week. The US firm's plan to expand an engine plant in the northern border state of Chihuahua and build a transmissions factory in the central state of Guanajuato will create 3,800 jobs, the company said. The investment was announced by Ford's president for the Americas region, Joseph Hinrichs, and President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Mexican leader's official residence in Mexico City.

  • Baltics urge Poland to speed up region's gas link to EU AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 6:18 PM AEST
    Baltics urge Poland to speed up region's gas link to EU

    The three Baltic states on Friday urged neighbouring Poland and the EU to speed up work on a gas pipeline to link them to the European market and reduce their reliance on Russia. The prime ministers of EU members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania warned that time was of the essence in finalising a deal over European Union financial support for the 558-million-euro ($600-million) gas link between Poland and Lithuania. "Given the current geopolitical situation in Europe, close cooperation and coordination of actions among our countries is of crucial importance," the three prime ministers said in a letter to Polish counterpart Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

  • Ford announces $2.5 bn plant investment in Mexico AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 5:48 PM AEST
    Ford announces $2.5 bn plant investment in Mexico

    The Ford Motor Company on Friday announced a $2.5 billion plan to expand factories in Mexico to make next-generation engines and transmissions. Speaking at an event alongside President Enrique Pena Nieto ...

  • European stocks slump on Greek worries AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 4:50 PM AEST
    European stocks slump on Greek worries

    Frankfurt's DAX 30 index tumbled 2.58 percent to 11,688.70 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris slumped 1.55 percent to 5,143.26 points. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day down 0.93 percent to 6,994.63 points. With London and Frankfurt recently hitting record highs and Paris touching seven-year peaks, investors had profits to take. "Another day brings another story about Greece, and once again the inability of the Greek finance minister to employ a light touch has spooked markets," said IG analyst Alastair McCaig.

  • GE reports $13.6 bn loss on finance sale charges AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 3:51 PM AEST
    GE reports $13.6 bn loss on finance sale charges

    General Electric Friday reported a $13.6 billion first-quarter loss on charges from its plan to sell most of GE Capital as profits rose in four of seven industrial businesses. The big loss had been expected after GE said a week ago that it would take about a $16 billion charge due to the GE Capital divestment. The plan to sell most of its finance operations is part of an overhaul directed by chief executive Jeff Immelt to emphasize the company's industrial and technological prowess.

  • Europe stocks close sharply lower AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 3:50 PM AEST
    Europe stocks close sharply lower

    Europe's main stock markets finished sharply lower on Friday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ending the day down 0.93 percent to 6,994.63 points. Frankfurt's DAX 30 index tumbled 2.58 percent to ...

  • Coca-Cola to buy Chinese protein drinks business AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 3:48 PM AEST
    Coca-Cola to buy Chinese protein drinks business

    Coca-Cola has agreed to buy a Chinese plant-based drinks business, renewing its push into the China market after authorities in 2009 blocked its bid for a juice company. Coca­Cola said Friday it would pay about $400 million in cash to acquire Xiamen Culiangwang Beverage Technology Company, a producer of plant­based protein drinks sold in China. "The proposed acquisition is in line with Coca­Cola China's strategy to continue providing a diverse range of beverage products to Chinese consumers with plant­based protein drinks representing a growing beverage category in China," the US beverage giant said in a statement. The company's top­selling products include green bean, red bean and walnut variants of plant-based protein drinks sold under the brand China Green Culiangwang, Coca-Cola said.

  • Bloomberg says terminals hit by global breakdown AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:57 PM AEST
    Bloomberg says terminals hit by global breakdown

    Bloomberg terminals used by subscribers to make trades using real-time developments in business and finance were struck by a "global network problem" for several hours Friday, the company said. After users in financial centres around the world flocked to Twitter to complain of the unexpected outage of terminals, Bloomberg technicians began repair operations that started bringing some blanked terminals back on line at around 0945 GMT. Despite that improving access situation, Bloomberg still appeared unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the blackout that began hours before. It is little wonder that business and finance professionals in financial capitals like London, Singapore and New York noticed the Bloomberg breakdown immediately -- and began expressing their concern over it on social media posts just as fast.

  • Vivendi shareholders grants investors double voting rights AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:49 PM AEST
    Vivendi shareholders grants investors double voting rights

    Vivendi shareholders rejected a resolution to deny long-term investors double voting rights at the group's general assembly in Paris on Friday, a move that critics say primarily benefits company chairman Vincent Bollore. The shareholder vote denied activist asset management group PhiTrust the two-thirds majority required to block application of a French law granting double voting power to investors whose holdings date back more than two years. "Double vote rights do not offer much to small shareholders," argued PhiTrust managing general director Denis Branche during the Vivendi general assembly as he sought to win support for his rejection resolution that only got 50.15 percent backing. Several large companies including L'Oreal, GDF Suez, Renault, and banks BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole are expected to see vigorous attempts to block the double vote measure during nearing general assemblies.

  • Iran needs 'up to 500 airliners' in next decade AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:40 PM AEST
    Iran needs 'up to 500 airliners' in next decade

    Iran will need to acquire 400-500 airliners over the coming decade to renew its aging fleet, suffering from years of US sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, the country's aviation chief says. Those sanctions ban manufacturers from selling new aircraft or parts to Iranian companies, which has grounded much of the fleet. The fleet consists of only 140 functioning aircraft, Ali Reza Jahangirian, head of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was quoted Friday by state news agency IRNA as saying. "That is lower than the average international norms in terms of international indexes of population and area," he said, adding that an eventual nuclear deal with world powers would ease the way toward solving the problem.

  • US stocks join European dive on Greece fears AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:31 PM AEST
    US stocks join European dive on Greece fears

    About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,876.48, down 228.29 points (1.27 percent). The broad-based S&P 500 fell 19.01 (0.90 percent) to 2,085.98, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 59.70 (1.19 percent) to 4,970.70. Negotiations between Greece and international creditors will resume Saturday in Brussels on reform requirements Athens needs to meet to receive its last payment of its bailout funds, the European Union said. Dow component General Electric rose 0.3 percent as first-quarter operating earnings per share translated to 31 cents, a penny above analyst expectations.

  • Greek worries weigh down European stocks AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:31 PM AEST
    Greek worries weigh down European stocks

    In mid-afternoon deals, London's FTSE 100 index dropped 0.90 percent to 6,996.96 points. In foreign exchange activity, the European single currency shrugged of earlier gains to settle at $1.0766, nearly identical to its $1.0761 fixing late in New York on Thursday. "Another day brings another story about Greece, and once again the inability of the Greek finance minister to employ a light touch has spooked markets," said IG analyst Alastair McCaig. Meanwhile, top European officials and Greece's finance minister were forced to play down fears that the country was poised to exit the eurozone, after the IMF rejected suggestions that Athens would postpone loan repayments.

  • Bigger risk of Finnish job cuts in Nokia-Alcatel deal: minister AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:26 PM AEST
    Bigger risk of Finnish job cuts in Nokia-Alcatel deal: minister

    Finnish Finance Minister Antti Rinne said Friday that Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia's takeover of rival Alcatel-Lucent will put more jobs at risk in Finland than in France. Rinne told the online edition of Finland's Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet that he shared concerns expressed by the Finnish engineers' union, since it was easier to let go of staff in Finland than in France. "There is a bigger risk in Finland that people will lose their jobs," he said. Rinne's comments came amid last-minute campaigning for Finland's legislative elections on Sunday.

  • US stocks join European equities lower on Greece fears AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 2:07 PM AEST
    US stocks join European equities lower on Greece fears

    US stocks followed European equities sharply lower in opening trade Friday as worries about Greece's talks with creditors hung over markets. Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ...

  • Volkswagen puts end to management tug-of-war AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 1:04 PM AEST
    Volkswagen puts end to management tug-of-war

    German auto giant Volkswagen attempted Friday to draw a line under a bitter power struggle between its chief executive and supervisory board chief, saying it would extend the contract of chief executive Martin Winterkorn. The announcement was seen as a severe blow to supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech, who has ruled the carmaker with an iron fist for more than 20 years. "The executive committee of the supervisory board asserts that Martin Winterkorn is the best possible chief executive for Volkswagen," the carmaker said in a short statement.

  • Benetton pays $1.1 mn into fund for Rana Plaza disaster victims AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 12:04 PM AEST
    Benetton pays $1.1 mn into fund for Rana Plaza disaster victims

    Italian fashion retailer Benetton announced Friday it would pay $1.1 million into an international fund to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh two years ago in which 1,138 people died. Benetton, which initially denied using any firms located in the nine-story factory complex which workers and local journalists had warned was unsafe before it collapsed with thousands of people inside, said it was donating double the amount advised by experts. "We have decided to go further to demonstrate very clearly how deeply we care," Benetton Group chief executive Marco Airoldi said in a statement. Benetton commissioned experts at consulting firm PwC to estimate how it much it should contribute to an international compensation fund based on the level of its commercial association with the Rana Plaza, which collapsed on April 24, 2013.

  • GE reports $13.6 bn loss due to finance sale charges AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 11:54 AM AEST
    GE reports $13.6 bn loss due to finance sale charges

    General Electric Friday reported a $13.6 billion first-quarter loss on charges from its plan to sell most of GE Capital as profits rose in four of seven industrial businesses. The big loss had been expected after GE said a week ago that it would take about a $16 billion charge due to the GE Capital divestment. The plan to sell most of its finance operations is part of an overhaul directed by chief executive Jeff Immelt to emphasize the company's industrial and technological prowess. GE had said April 10 that it would take a charge of about $16 billion in concert with the GE Capital sale to cover such costs as taxes on repatriated earnings and charges on businesses held for sale.

  • Emirates picks Rolls-Royce for $9.2bn engines deal AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 11:38 AM AEST
    Emirates picks Rolls-Royce for $9.2bn engines deal

    Dubai's Emirates Airline on Friday awarded a lucrative engines deal worth a record $9.2-billion (8.5-billion-euro) to British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce. "Emirates has today announced an historic $9.2 billion deal with Rolls-Royce for Trent 900 engines and a long-term TotalCare package," it said in a statement. The engines will power 50 Airbus A380s that were ordered at the Dubai Air Show in 2013 and will start entering service next year. The deal -- the biggest ever for Rolls-Royce and one of the largest ever export orders for a UK-based company -- was unveiled at a press conference in central London by Emirates president Tim Clark.

  • Canada's oil sands determined to weather price plunge AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 11:11 AM AEST
    Canada's oil sands determined to weather price plunge

    Falling oil prices have slowed the phenomenal expansion of Canada's oil sands extraction trade but the industry remains optimistic it is only a temporary setback. The price of oil fell $60 from June 2014 to January 2015, resulting in a massive budget deficit for the Canadian province of Alberta which will receive Can$7 billion (US$5.7 billion) less in energy royalties this year, forcing the local government to hike taxes and cut services for the first time in a generation. "The downturn has been brutal," said Brad Herald, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Oil company executives initially expected the global energy slump to be temporary and oil prices to soon bounce back, but they now admit a return to prosperity could take longer than imagined, commented Robert Schulz, a professor of petroleum land management at the University of Calgary.

  • Fiat Chrysler sets bonus scheme for Italian workers AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 10:57 AM AEST
    Fiat Chrysler sets bonus scheme for Italian workers

    US-Italian carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced an incentive system for employees in Italy tied to the group's productivity and profits in a move it hopes will improve prickly labour-management relations. The proposal -- which FCA says will cost a maximum of around 600 million euros ($646 million) over the four year period -- was designed by the company executives to turn the page on traditionally adversarial relationships in Italy between labour and management by more closely associating workers with financial and business objectives. "In recent years, FCA has had to deal with the historical remnants of a stale labour relations model which pitched capital against labour. Those days are finally gone," said FCA chief Sergio Marchionne.

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black AFP - Fri, Apr 17, 2015 10:52 AM AEST
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31.