06/06/2013 (2:10 am)
Service industries in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace in May as a pickup in orders showed companies are confident demand will be sustained after a second-quarter slowdown.
The Institute for Supply Management
Service industries in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace in May as a pickup in orders showed companies are confident demand will be sustained after a second-quarter slowdown.
The Institute for Supply Management
World stock markets were mixed Friday as investors digested a slew of disappointing data from the U.S. ahead of the release of a key measurement of the country’s economic outlook.
Investors were looking ahead to the Conference Board’s index of leading indicators for April, to be released later Friday. The index is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out. Analysts hope the figures will balance out several discouraging economic reports released Thursday, including a jump in unemployment aid applications to their highest level in six weeks.
Britain’s FTSE 100 fell marginally to 6,684.26. Germany’s DAX retreated 0.4 percent to 8,332.22. France’s CAC-40 was less than 0.2 percent down at 3,972.01. Wall Street, however, appeared ready to rally again: Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.1 percent to 15,225 and S&P 500 futures added 0.1 percent to 1,649.70.
Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7 percent to close at 15,138.12, reversing a lower open. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,180.80, pushed up by gains in BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company. The stock rose 1.9 percent on bargain-hunting. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.3 percent.
Benchmark in mainland China and Indonesia also rose while those in Taiwan, India, Singapore, New Zealand and the Philippines fell. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for public holidays.
Evan Lucas of IG Markets in Melbourne said market declines could be explained by investors cashing in their gains following strong rallies. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index has returned 45 percent so far this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 has delivered a terrific first four months. It’s up 16 percent.
“There is always an uneasy feeling underlying the markets when they start making all-time highs,” Lucas said.
Shares linked to gold, which has suddenly fallen afoul of investors like George Soros, dropped. Australia’s Newcrest Mining was down 2.3 percent. Lao Feng Xiang, a major, Shanghai-listed gold retailer, fell 0.5 percent.
Corporate earnings, which have been helping to power Wall Street to all-time highs, took a step back on Thursday after Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, reported a disappointing first-quarter profit and acknowledged a sales slump. Personal computer maker Dell posted dismal first quarter earnings.
Markets were also reacting to comments by John Williams, head of the Federal Reserve’s San Francisco branch, who told an audience that the Fed could end its bond-buying program this year. But Williams’ comments made clear that the Fed would only curtail its stimulus effort when the economy looked strong enough. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 both dropped Thursday, having closed at record highs the day before.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 21 cents to $94.95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 86 cents to $95.16 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2866 from $1.2907 late Thursday in New York. The dollar rose to 102.55 yen from 102.06 yen.
SAVAR, BANGLADESH—Bangladeshi police took six people into custody in connection with the collapse of a shoddily constructed building that killed at least 348 people, as rescue workers admitted Saturday that voices of survivors are getting weaker after four days of being pinned under the increasingly unstable rubble.
Still, in a boost for the rescuers, 29 survivors were pulled out Saturday, said army spokesman Shahinul Islam.
Most victims were crushed by massive blocks of concrete and mortar falling on them when the eight-storey structure came down on Wednesday morning — a time many of the garment factories that leased space in the building were packed with workers.
It was the worst tragedy to hit Bangladesh’s massive garment industry and focused attention on the poor working conditions of the employees who toil for $38 a month to produce clothing for top international brands.
Among those arrested Saturday were two owners of a garment factory. A Dhaka court ruled they can be questioned by police for 12 days without charges being filed.
Also detained are two government engineers and the wife of the building owner — who is on the run — in an attempt to force him to surrender. Late Saturday, police arrested another factory owner.
Violent public protests, which began Friday, continued sporadically in Dhaka and spread to the southeastern city of Chittagong where several vehicles were set on fire.
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Working round-the-clock since Wednesday through heat and a thunderstorm, rescuers finally reached the ground floor Saturday from the top of the mountainous rubble through 25 narrow holes they have drilled, said Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan, the head of the fire services.
“We are still getting response from survivors though they are becoming weaker slowly,” he said, noting rescue workers could now see cars parked at ground level. “The building is very vulnerable. Any time the floors could collapse. We are performing an impossible task, but we are glad that we are able to rescue so many survivors.”
He said the operations will continue overnight as chances fade of people surviving for a fifth day with possibly grievous injuries and the heat.
The building site was a hive of frenzied activity all day with soldiers, police and medical workers in lab coats working non-stop. Rescuers passed bottles of water and small cylinders of oxygen up a ladder leaning against the side of the building to be given to possible survivors inside.
They used bare hands and shovels, passing chunks of brick and concrete down a human chain away from the collapsed structure.
Nearby, Abul Basar wept as he awaited news of his wife, who worked in one of the garment factories. “My son says that his mother will come back some day. She must return!” he cried.
Every once in a while a badly decomposed body would be brought out, covered in cloth and plastic, to a spot where ambulances were parked. Workers furiously sprayed air-fresheners on the bodies to cover the stench.
The bodies were kept at a makeshift morgue at the nearby Adharchandra High School before being handed over to families. Many people milled around at the school, waving photos of their missing loved ones.
Junior local government minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak put the death toll at 348. Military spokesman Shahinul Islam said 2,429 survivors were accounted for, including 29 who were pulled out Saturday.
Junior Home Minister Shamsul Haque Tuku said police had arrested Bazlus Samad, managing director of New Wave Apparels Ltd payday loans., and Mahmudur Rahman Tapash, the company chairman. He told reporters that police had also detained the wife of Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, for questioning. The top three floors of the building had been illegally constructed without permits.
Authorities are still searching for Rana, a local politician, who hasn’t been seen publicly since the building collapsed. Negligence cases have been filed against him. Police in Bangladesh often detain relatives of missing suspects as a way to pressure them to surrender.
Military spokesman Shahinul Islam said officials arrested Aminul Islam, chairman of Phantom Apparels Ltd., late Saturday in Dhaka.
Dhaka police Supt. Habibur Rahman said Rana was a local leader of ruling Awami League’s youth front. His arrest, and that of the factory owners, was ordered by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Awami League leader.
Police said they detained Imtemam Hossain and Alam Ali, two engineers working for the Savar municipality, for questioning. They did not say what role they played in approving the design of the building but it was clear that the arrests amounted to a widening crackdown. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
A garment manufacturers’ group said the factories in the building employed 3,122 workers, but it was not clear how many were inside it when it collapsed.
Loblaw Inc. was one of the customers of the factories operating in the building, which provide products for Canadian giant’s Joe Fresh subsidiary.
Loblaw said Friday it was sending senior company officials to Bangladesh to meet with local officials to determine exactly what caused the tragedy and to offer assistance.
Police say they ordered an evacuation of the building on Tuesday after cracks in Rana Plaza were found, but the factories ignored the order and were operating when it collapsed the next day. Video before the collapse shows cracks in walls, with apparent attempts at repair. It also shows columns missing chunks of concrete and police talking to building operators.
Officials said soon after the collapse that numerous construction regulations had been violated.
The disaster is the worst ever for the country’s booming and powerful garment industry, surpassing a fire five months ago that killed 112 people and brought widespread pledges to improve worker-safety standards. Since then, very little has changed in Bangladesh, where low wages have made it a magnet for numerous global brands.
Bangladesh’s garment industry was the third largest in the world in 2011, after China and Italy, having grown rapidly in the past decade. The country’s minimum wage is the equivalent of about $38 a month.
Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. Altogether, they produced several million shirts, pants and other garments a year.
The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for several major North American and European retailers.
Britain’s Primark acknowledged it was using a factory in Rana Plaza, but many other retailers distanced themselves from the disaster, saying they were not involved with the factories at the time of the collapse or had not recently ordered garments from them.
FULTON, N.Y.—Carolee Sadie Ashby’s family has spent the past 45 years wondering who was driving the car that fatally struck the 4-year-old girl as she crossed a street in her upstate New York town on Halloween night.
Thanks to a retired detective’s Facebook post, authorities provided an answer Wednesday: A man who police say misled them when questioned about the girl’s death in 1968 and then sat on the secret for more than four decades.
Douglas Parkhurst, 62, has been identified as the driver of a car that failed to stop after hitting Carolee, according to the police department in Fulton, a town of 12,000 people where the accident occurred.
Parkhurst won’t be charged because the statute of limitations has expired, police said. A phone number for him has been disconnected.
The girl, her sister and a cousin were returning from a neighbourhood store after buying candles for the sibling’s 15th birthday when Carolee was hit. The other two weren’t hurt, but Carolee later died from her injuries.
Parkhurst was questioned at the time when police learned he had been in an accident that same night. He confirmed a crash, but said it occurred in a neighbouring town, police said. Although his claims that he had hit a guard post didn’t match up with the damage to his vehicle, Parkhurst wasn’t questioned again, police said.
The mystery endured for nearly a half-century.
Police checked out hundreds of leads over the years and reopened of the case in 2000, but the break came early last year after retired Fulton police Lt. Russ Johnson posted details of the case on a local history Facebook page. According to Fulton police, a former resident now living in Florida saw the posting and came forward with new information.
The woman, who police did not identify, told police that she was approached by a member of the Parkhurst family soon after the accident and asked to say she was with Parkhurst and his brother on October 31, 1968. The woman refused to do so and was never told why they wanted her alibi, but she assumed it was related to the accident, police said.
Her information prompted investigators to go to Parkhurst’s home and question him again, said Fulton police Sgt. Stephen Lunn Jr.
Over the course of several interviews, Parkhurst admitted he was drinking beer the night of the accident and was driving through Fulton with his brother passed out in the back seat when he hit something, Lunn said. Parkhurst told the investigators he believed at the time he had hit an animal, but now knows it was Carolee. He admitted that he initially lied when questioned about the accident in 1968, Lunn said.
Carolee’s mother, Marlene, and the sister she was walking with, Darlene McCann, still live in the Fulton area. Attempts to reach them Wednesday by phone and Facebook were unsuccessful.
BALI, Indonesia—Indonesian investigators were working to determine Sunday what caused a new Lion Air passenger jet to miss a runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 on board.
The National Transportation Safety Committee is examining the wreckage of the Boeing 737-800 that snapped in half before coming to a stop in shallow water Saturday near Bali’s airport, said Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan.
He said aviation authorities had removed the plane’s flight data recorder and were planning to tow the aircraft to a beach. Divers were searching for the cockpit voice recorder located in the tail. Experts were probing whether wind shear might have played a role.
All 101 passengers and seven crew members were safely evacuated from the budget carrier’s flight, which came from Bandung, the capital of West Java province. Some swam from the wreckage, others were plucked from the water by rescuers in rubber boats. Dozens suffered injuries, but most had been released from hospitals by Sunday.
“I couldn’t wait to land in Bali when the cabin suddenly turned dark. I heard a sound like an explosion and water was coming in,” recalled Irawati, a 60-year-old woman who uses one name, like many Indonesians.
“I heard people shouting frantically: ‘The plane crashed! Get out! Get out!’ I did not even have the energy to move my body,” she said. “I was so weak and frightened, and I was asking a flight attendant for help before I passed out.”
Irawati said from her hospital bed that when she regained consciousness the pilot and co-pilot were putting a life-jacket on her and helping her down a rubber ladder. She was then placed on a surfboard by rescuers. She suffered neck injuries.
Another survivor, Andi Prasetyo, said there was no warning of any problem.
“The cabin crew had already announced that we would be landing shortly, and I was so excited when I saw the ocean getting closer, but suddenly . . . it fell,” he said. “I can’t believe that the plane actually landed on the sea, and everything changed to dark. It was full of horrific screaming. None of us remembered about the life jackets under our seats. Everybody rushed to get out of the plane.”
Officials said there were three foreigners on board — two Singaporeans and a French national — all of whom suffered slight injuries.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday it was sending investigators to assist Indonesian aviation authorities in their probe because the Boeing aircraft was designed and manufactured in the U low rates payday advance.S.
The crash marked Lion Air’s sixth accident in 11 years, and has renewed questions about the safety of flying in Indonesia. The country has struggled to clean up its poor air safety record while improving oversight.
Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait said the plane crashed about 50 metres ahead of the runway. It was raining at the time.
He said the Boeing 737-800 Next Generation plane was received by the airline last month and was declared airworthy. The plane had landed in two other cities earlier Saturday.
Given the aircraft was new, a technical or mechanical problem would seem unlikely, Sydney-based aviation expert Tom Ballantyne said. He said it was fortunate the plane landed flat in shallow water rather than nosediving or hitting deep water, where it could have been submerged.
“I’m surprised. The airplane split in two upon impact,” he said, estimating it was likely travelling about 485 km/h.
“It was coming into land and hit the water very hard. It’s a miracle nobody was killed,” Ballantyne said.
It was unclear whether human error may have played a role in the accident, and Sirait said the pilot was experienced, logging 10,000 flying hours. However, Indonesian aviation analyst Ruth Simatupang, a former investigator at the National Safety Transportation Committee, suspects a miscalculation involving the landing.
“Something was obviously wrong with the pilot, and wind shear is a possibility that could lead to an unstable approach,” she said. Sudden changes in wind speed or direction can lift or smash aircraft into the ground during landing.
The pilot and co-pilot will be grounded for two weeks for tests to ensure they were healthy during the flight and for questioning by investigators. They have undergone alcohol and drug testing, and the preliminary results were negative, Herry Bakti Gumay, a Transportation Ministry official, said Sunday. In the past two years, three pilots, one co-pilot and a flight attendant from Lion Air have been arrested for illicit drug use.
The Bank of Israel kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a third month, as policy makers focus more on climbing domestic home prices than on the pace of recovery in the global economy.
Governor Stanley Fischer and the monetary policy panel held the rate at 1.75 percent, the lowest in almost three years, the Jerusalem-based bank said on its website today. Sixteen of the 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the decision, while the remainder predicted a quarter-point cut.
NEW YORK • Yoga wear maker Lululemon Athletica is reporting fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations.
But the Canadian company said Thursday that its decision this week to pull its popular black yoga pants off the shelves because the fabric showed off too much of their wearers will dent their financial results for this year.
On Monday, Lululemon announced that it pulled the pants from its stores and online after it found out that the fabric used to make them was too sheer.
Its results for the fourth quarter — which covered a period that had ended before it stopped selling the pants — topped analysts’ estimates. Its shares rose 67 cents to $64.55 in premarket trading Thursday.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. said that it foresees first-quarter earnings between 28 cents and 30 cents per share. It reported earnings of 32 cents per share a year ago. The company expects the recall will pull its earnings down by 11 cents to 12 cents per share.
Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of 39 cents per share.
The retailer also reiterated some of the updated first-quarter forecasts it gave on Monday. This includes expectations for first-quarter revenue between $333 million and $343 million, down from an earlier estimate of $350 million to $355 million. Analysts had previously forecast revenue of $352.1 million.
Lululemon also maintained that first-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year is now expected to rise between 5 percent and 8 percent. The company previously predicted an 11 percent increase. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Lululemon provided fiscal 2013 guidance, saying it anticipates earnings between $1.95 and $1.99 per share on revenue in a range of $1.62 billion to $1 no fax payday loans.64 billion.
Wall Street predicts earnings of $2.16 per share on revenue of $1.68 billion.
The company’s see-through black Luon pants is the latest in a series of quality glitches that threatens to alienate the retailer’s hardcore fan base, which has so far been more than willing to shell out $100 for pants and other athletic garments. These legions of followers have helped Lululemon, founded in 1998, become a billion-dollar business.
Lululemon insists that the problem with the Luon pants didn’t occur because it changed specifications for the clothing or switched suppliers. It warned that taking the pants off the shelves could lead to short supplies.
The Luon pants, made from a combination of nylon and Lycra fibers, are one of the retailer’s product staples and account for about 17 percent of all women’s pants in its stores. The company is offering customers’ full refunds or exchanges.
On Thursday Lululemon reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose 49 percent to $109.4 million, or 75 cents per share, from $73.5 million, or 51 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts forecast earnings of 74 cents per share.
Revenue for the period ended Feb. 3 climbed 31 percent to $485.5 million from $371.5 million. Wall Street expected $482.2 million in revenue.
Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 10 percent.
For the year, Lululemon earned $270.6 million, or $1.85 per share. That compares with $184.1 million, or $1.27 per share, in the prior year.
Annual revenue increased 37 percent to $1.37 billion from $1 billion.
Revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 16 percent.
Walking up to crowds, shaking hands with surprised bystanders in the street, mixing his formal speeches with off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis stamped his own style on the papacy Sunday.
His humor and down-to-earth manner captivated many of 150,000 people who filled St. Peter’s Square in Rome to overflowing, and he embraced the crowd in a way that had to give his security staff palpitations.
`’Brothers and sisters, `Buon giorno,’” Francis said in Italian in his first welcome from the window of the papal residence, setting an informal tone that has become the defining spirit of his young papacy.
Earlier Sunday, he made an impromptu appearance before the public from a side gate of the Vatican that startled passers-by and prompted cheers as he shook hands and kissed babies. He then went back inside to deliver a six minute homily _ brief by church standards _ at the Vatican’s tiny parish church, St. Anna.
Francis started speaking at the window even before the stroke of noon _ the appointed time for the weekly papal address _ when the window of the papal study in the Apostolic Palace is usually flung open. The shutters were opened for the first time since Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, gave his last Sunday blessing on Feb. 24. Four days later, Benedict went into retirement, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.
Francis, the first pope from Latin America, was elected Wednesday and has been staying in a hotel on the Vatican’s premises until the papal apartment is ready.
“The pope is down-to-earth. He is a people person and it is amazing,” said Emanuel Anatsui from Britain. “He is going to do wonderfully for the church.”
After Mass, Francis again put his security detail to the test as he waded into an intersection just outside St. Anna’s Gate. Francis stepped up to the crowd, grasping outstretched hands. The atmosphere was so casual that several people even gripped Francis on the shoulder.
“Francesco! Francesco!” children shouted his name in Italian. As he patted one little boy on the head, he asked “Are you a good boy?” and the child nodded.
“Are you sure?” the pope quipped.
At one point he glanced at his watch and turned to an aide _ as if to ask `’How much time do I have?”
The pope then ducked back inside the Vatican’s boundaries to dash upstairs for the address to St. Peter’s Square.
Only occasionally looking at the text clutched in his hand, Francis told the crowd that he wanted to talk about mercy, saying he was inspired by a book about forgiveness that he was reading. Citing the author, an elderly German cardinal, and praising him as a `’top-notch” theologian, Francis quipped: `’Don’t think I’m making publicity for my cardinals’ books!” drawing a roar of laughter from the crowd.
Francis said mercy can `’change the world” and make it “less cold and more just.”
He spoke only in Italian _ ending with “buon pranzo” (Have a good lunch) _ a wish that triggered nods of approval from the crowd in Rome, where a leisurely Sunday family lunch is a cherished tradition.
But Francis did tweet in English and other languages, saying: “Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me.’”
Past pontiffs have used the Sunday window greetings to offer brief reflections and wishes in several languages.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Francis would likely stick with Italian, a language he’s comfortable with for spontaneous remarks. Lombardi left open the possibility the 76-year-old pope would use other languages in future public appearances.
During his window speech, Francis also talked about of his family’s roots in the northwestern Piedmont region of Italy. He told the crowd that by naming himself as pope after St. Francis of Assisi, an Italian patron saint, he was `’strengthening my spiritual time with this land, where, as you know, my family has its origins.”
The crowd was cheering wildly when Francis appeared, but fell into rapt silence when he began to speak. Some people’s eyes welled up. Many people waved the blue-and-white flag of Argentina, the pope’s homeland. Some people held their children aloft or on their shoulders to get a better look.
“We are so proud. He is Argentine, but also belongs to the rest of the world,” said Ivana Cabello, 23, of Argentina.
Angela Carreon, a 41-year-old Rome resident originally from the Philippines, ventured that Francis “looks like John Paul II. “
“I hope he is like him,” she said. “He has a heart.”
The globe-trotting Polish-born John Paul, who died in 2005, loved to charm the crowds.
Several hundred extra traffic police were deployed Sunday to control crowds and vehicles for Francis’ first window speech as well as the annual Rome marathon. Bus routes were rerouted and many streets were closed off to channel the curious and the faithful up the main boulevard from the Tiber river to St. Peter’s Square.
Giant video screens were set up so the huge crowd could get a close-up look at Francis, and dozens of medical teams were on hand for any emergencies. In the last hour before noon, a large backup had formed of people trying to squeeze through three openings in the fence ringing the front of the square. But by the time Francis appeared, all had calmly found a viewing spot.
Among Francis’ first formal meetings is an appointment Monday with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. That will provide an opportunity to see if the new pope’s easygoing manner still holds _ the two have been on opposite sides for many years. As Buenos Aires archbishop, Francis had lobbied hard against the government’s move to legalize gay marriage and make contraceptives available for free.
On Tuesday, Fernandez will join other world leaders and senior international envoys, including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and the president of Jesuit-run Georgetown University, for Francis’ formal installation as pope.
Associated Press writers Daniela Petroff and Karl Ritter contributed to this report.
That’s when the Federal Reserve will announce the results of its review of the capital plans banks submitted for 2013.
While the Fed is expected to back most of the plans, analysts say a number of regional banks will be among the standouts.
In part one of the Fed’s stress tests last week, all but one of the 18 banks it analyzed were found to have sufficient capital reserves to survive a downturn similar to the 2008 recession.
A total of nine banks in the group have already been returning capital in the form of either share buybacks or dividends. Of these, , Fortune 500), ) and , Fortune 500) are the most likely to increase payouts this year, according to Evercore Partners analyst Andrew Marquardt.
, Fortune 500), ) and , Fortune 500) are expected to maintain their current capital plans, or have slightly smaller payouts, he added.
Overall, the banks most likely to return capital are those that have been able to grow earnings and strengthen their balance sheets, said Marty Mosby, a banking analyst at Guggenheim Securities.
“The high quality banks didn’t have the overhang issues coming out of the recession and were in a better position to recover earnings faster and deploy capital sooner,” he said.
Mosby said , Fortune 500) and , Fortune 500) both fit this description, but he also pointed to , Fortune 500) as a good candidate to boost buybacks and dividends. Last year, the Minneapolis-based bank reported a 16% jump in net income to $5.6 billion, helped by a boost in lending and deposits.
, Fortune 500) could surprise investors with a buyback plan that gets approved, said Nomura Securities analyst Glenn Schorr. The Atlanta-based bank had its capital plan shot down last year.
PNC is another regional bank that performed well on the Fed’s initial stress test, but the Pittsburgh-based financial services company has said it doesn’t plan to buy back shares this year. That’s because it’s holding onto excess capital to make acquisitions, including its purchase of ) U.S. unit, RBC Bank.
Schorr said all seven of the regional banks he covers had capital ratios well above the 5% minimum in the Fed’s stress tests, and he expects the stocks to trade higher following the Fed’s announcement. But not by much.
Meanwhile, one of the nation’s biggest banks made its plans public after the first round of stress tests.
, Fortune 500), which fell short in last year’s stress test, said last week that it did not plan to increase its quarterly dividend of 1 cent per share, but it would like to buy back more than $1.2 billion of its own stock this year. Most analysts think Citi will get Fed clearance.
, Fortune 500) is also expected to have its relatively modest capital plan approved, which could ease concerns about additional capital needs as BofA continues to struggle with the fallout from the housing bubble.
In a change from previous years, the Fed will allow banks to resubmit capital plans if they fail to pass muster. But it is unclear if any banks will utilize the so-called mulligan, notes Marquardt, who added that banks would have to ask for more modest buybacks or dividends in revised plans.
Daily deals site LivingSocial confirmed layoffs of 400 employees on Thursday, about 10% of its global workforce.
The job cuts were mostly spread across the U.S., with a handful overseas, said spokesman Andrew Weinstein. The majority of the layoffs were in the sales, editorial and customer service departments, he said.
LivingSocial is moving much of its customer service from its Washington, D.C., headquarters to Tuscon, so some job openings will be available in that area. Sales and editorial, however, have simply been “streamlined.”
“We’ve gone through two years of hypergrowth, from roughly 450 employees to 4,500,” Weinstein said. “The space has gone through such growth that we needed to catch our breath.”
The company’s president of international operations, Eric Eichmann, is also stepping down, in a move that Weinstein said wasn’t related to Thursday’s layoffs.
The job cuts “will free up additional resources for the company to invest in some of the critical things in our business, like mobile efforts,” he said.
LivingSocial’s purge come one month after Amazon reported a worse-than-expected loss, due in part to its investment in LivingSocial. , Fortune 500) took a whopping $169 million writedown on its $175 million investment.
Daily deal critics have gotten louder as ), the company that sparked the craze, faces ongoing problems. Its shares are down nearly 80% year-to-date as the company struggles to prove its long-term viability. Rumors are rampant that Groupon’s board may be looking to oust founder and CEO Andrew Mason.
LivingSocial is trying to wave off suggestions that Thursday’s layoffs are a sign that daily deals are doomed.
“We think this actually puts us on the right path for long-term growth and profitability,” Weinstein said.