By Pamela Barbaglia and Ilona Wissenbach LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany expects PSA Group's proposed acquisition of General Motors' Opel business to go ahead, a minister said on Thursday, after the U.S. carmaker sought to allay fears of large-scale plant closures. "I expect it to take place," Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries told reporters after discussions with senior executives from General Motors and PSA, maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars. The German government is "doing everything we can" to preserve Opel's domestic plants, Zypries said.
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday said it would rehear a challenge to the Securities and Exchange Commission's use of in-house judges. The order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wiped out a three-judge panel's August decision in favor of the commission. Oral arguments will be held on May 24.
By Pamela Barbaglia and Ilona Wissenbach LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Motors has played down the possibility of large-scale factory closures in Germany and Britain following any deal to sell its European brands to Peugeot maker PSA Group , according to officials in both countries. News of the talks between the two automakers earlier this week sparked particular concern in Germany and Britain, where Opel and Vauxhall employ thousands of workers.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is gradually introducing a digital mortgage platform where customers can apply online and track applications by mobile phone. The tools will allow customers to submit and sign documents online and exchange messages with bank staff and real-estate agents so loans can close more quickly and easily, consumer mortgage chief Mike Weinbach said in an interview. "This platform will allow us to be where more of our customers are, which is online and on their phones," Weinbach said.
U.S. homebuilding fell in January as the construction of multi-family housing projects dropped, but upward revisions to the prior month's data and a jump in permits to a one-year high suggested the housing recovery remained on track. Factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region vaulted to a 33-year high in February and the number of new applications for unemployment benefits was less than expected last week. "There is not much to complain about the economy as housing and manufacturing are improving and the labor market remains tight.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, a sign that the labor market was continuing to tighten. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims have been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 102 consecutive weeks.
U.S. homebuilding fell in January as the construction of multi-family housing projects dropped, but upward revisions to the prior month's data and a jump in permits to a one-year high suggested the housing recovery remained on track. Other data on Thursday showed only a modest increase in the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the labor market was continuing to tighten. Housing starts fell 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million units last month, the Commerce Department said.
VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium, alleging them of wilful deception and fraud linked to a 2 billion euro ($2.1 billion) order for Eurofighter jets in 2003, the defense ministry said.
The board of Wells Fargo & Co plans to oppose a resolution filed by shareholder activists led by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia seeking a review of the root causes of the bank's unauthorized accounts scandal, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. An ongoing disagreement over the resolution could complicate the bank’s drive to regain shareholder confidence. A Wells Fargo spokesman, Mark Folk, declined to comment on whether the draft was still the bank's current position.
By Michelle Price and Julie Zhu HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese consultancy that has previously helped to win antitrust battles against Coca-Cola and Apple has taken aim at McDonald's Corp, arguing in a complaint to regulators that the American fast food giant's China sale may hurt workers and consumers. McDonald's said last month it had agreed to sell the bulk of its China and Hong Kong business to state-backed conglomerate CITIC Ltd and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for up to $2.1 billion, in a deal that will see the consortium act as the master franchisee for a 20-year period. The complaint, which follows allegations from a U.S. labour union that the transaction will likely lead to poorer pay and conditions for McDonald's 120,000 workers in China, could delay regulatory approval for the deal.
Deutsche Boerse's chief executive said insider trading allegations against him would prove unfounded, pointing out that he did not determine the timing of his share purchases ahead of the announcement of merger plans with the London Stock Exchange . Deutsche Boerse's supervisory board created a unique share purchase plan for CEO Carsten Kengeter that allowed him to invest 4.5 million euros ($4.8 million) in shares in the stock exchange operator at a price of 69 euros apiece in December 2015, he told a news conference on Thursday. German police and prosecutors this month searched Kengeter's office and apartment as they investigate whether secret merger talks with LSE were already under way at that time.
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - America's largest banks are to propose a complete overhaul of how financial institutions investigate and report potential criminal activity, arguing that rules imposed in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and strengthened during the Obama administration are onerous and ineffective, sources said. The Clearing House, a trade association representing the largest U.S. banks including Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America , has long raised concerns about the effectiveness of the current rules, but this will be the first time the group has publicly called for them to be revamped. The proposal, which could be published as soon as Thursday, will set the stage for an intensive lobbying effort targeting bank regulators and members of the Senate and House of Representatives finance committees.
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks hit an all time high on Thursday as the latest round of robust global data matched hopes that major economies like the United States will soon be serving up large helpings of fiscal stimulus. MSCI's All Country World index, which spans 46 countries, notched the milestone as Wall Street hit its latest record and Asia and Europe consolidated the roughly 10 percent gains both have made since mid-December. There were surges in exports from Indonesia and Taiwan, falls in unemployment in Europe from Sweden to the Netherlands while stronger U.S. retail sales and inflation data on Wednesday came as Donald Trump again promised mass tax cuts.
Deutsche Boerse Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter said insider trading allegations against him would prove unfounded, given he had no role in determining the timing of his share purchases ahead of the announcement of merger plans with the London Stock Exchange . "We, Deutsche Boerse and myself, are fully cooperating with the public prosecutor. Kengeter said the company was pursuing its merger with LSE and that he was engaged in a "constructive dialogue" with policymakers in Hesse, the German state where Deutsche Boerse is headquartered.
By Kirsti Knolle and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria's defense ministry is set to file a lawsuit against Airbus accusing the planemaker of wilful deception and fraud linked to a 2 billion euro ($2.1 billion) order for Eurofighter jets in 2003, APA news agency said on Thursday. A recently completed ministry investigation, to be released on Thursday, found that Airbus and the four-nation Eurofighter consortium misled Austria with fraudulent intent about the purchase price, according to APA and ORF radio, which cited a ministry spokesman. Austria's defense ministry was not immediately available for comment.
BERLIN (Reuters) - General Motors and PSA Group posted weaker European sales in January than any other major carmaker as they discuss a possible purchase of GM's European auto operations by PSA. A combination between GM and PSA would create a manufacturer with about 16 percent of the European passenger car market, ahead of French rival Renault and behind Germany's Volkswagen . New passenger car registrations at PSA, including the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association rose 6.5 percent in January, compared with 5. ...
By Saikat Chatterjee HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian stocks inched to new 19-month highs on Thursday with thanks to an ongoing rally on Wall Street and bolstered by gains in Chinese stocks while the dollar came in for a bout of profit-taking after a recent bounce. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent to its highest since July 2015. European stock markets are set to open steady to slightly higher according to index futures Wall Street pushed relentlessly into record-high territory on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 notching a seven-session winning streak.
By Saikat Chatterjee HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian stocks edged to new 19-month highs on Thursday with gains underpinned by an ongoing rally on Wall Street while the dollar came in for a bout of profit-taking after its recent bounce. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent to its highest since July 2015. Wall Street pushed relentlessly into record-high territory on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 notching a seven-session winning streak.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said low profitability at financial institutions could sow the seeds of a new financial crisis, offering his strongest warning to date of the demerits of aggressive monetary easing pursued by major central banks. Mergers and consolidation may be among options for financial institutions to boost profitability, Kuroda said in an unusually frank call for bolder steps to deal with Japan's over-crowded regional banking sector. Faced with low inflation and tepid economic growth, many central banks like the BOJ, the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, have adopted unconventional monetary easing steps since the global financial crisis in 2008.
Boeing Co handily defeated a union drive by workers at the company's aircraft factory in South Carolina on Wednesday, as almost three-quarters of workers at the plant who voted rejected union representation. The secret ballot vote, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at polling locations throughout the North Charleston plant, was the first for Boeing and a high-profile test for organized labor in the nation's most strongly anti-union state. Boeing said in Facebook post that 74 percent of the 2,828 workers who cast ballots voted against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Asian stocks edged up to fresh 19-month highs on Thursday, helped by an extended rally on Wall Street and strong U.S. data though the dollar stepped back after a recent bounce. It rallied to a one-month high of 101.76 on Wednesday.
Revenue in the security business, which offers firewall protection and breach detection systems, rose 14 percent to $528 million. To offset sluggish demand for its traditional lineup of switches and routers, Cisco has been focusing on areas such as security, the internet of things and cloud computing. Cisco said it expected an adjusted profit of 57 cents-59 cents per share for the current quarter.
Advertising sales, which accounts for half of the company's total revenue, fell 2.8 percent to $1.80 billion partially due to fewer NFL Thursday night football games this quarter as well as lower-than-expected ratings for those games. On a call with analysts Wednesday, CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said that CBS was in talks with the NFL about new formats to speed up games to help with ratings, but he said CBS would not cut ads. "If there are ways to do advertising in different ways, we are looking at that," Moonves said.