The U.S. Capitol building is seen through flowers in Washington, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
April 24, 2019
By Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stephen Moore, the economic commentator that U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will nominate to the Federal Reserve Board, is drawing new fire from top Democrats for his comments denigrating, among other targets, women and the Midwest.
But Republicans, whose 53 to 47 majority in the U.S. Senate gives them the final say on whether Moore’s pending nomination is confirmed, have not weighed in since news surfaced this week documenting Moore’s long history of sexist remarks, some of which he says were made jokingly.
As a Fed governor, Moore would have a say on setting interest rates for the world’s biggest economy. Some economists and Democratic lawmakers have questioned his competence, citing his support for tying policy decisions to commodity prices and his fluctuating views on rates. This week though, it is his comments about gender and geography that are drawing criticism.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability,” Moore wrote in one column in 2014.
In 2000, he opined that “women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work.” The New York Times among others has documented many other instances where he expressed similar viewpoints.
It’s just added evidence that Moore is unfit for the Fed job, vice chair of the joint economic committee Carolyn Maloney told Reuters.
“Those include his reckless tendency to politicize the Fed as well as his bizarre and sexist comments about women in sports that came to light this week,” she said.
Republicans, she said, “should also take note that Moore has said capitalism is more important than democracy. That’s a dangerous comment that further confirms my belief that Moore shouldn’t be allowed on the Fed Board.”
Maloney earlier this month sent a letter urging Republican Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown to oppose Moore’s nomination. Crapo and Brown are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate banking committee, which would be Moore’s first stop in any confirmation hearings.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, have also publicly criticized Moore as well as businessman Herman Cain, who withdrew his name from consideration for the Fed this week amid mounting objections. Cain said he stopped the process because he realized the job would mean a pay cut and would prevent him from pursuing his current business and speaking gigs.
The Senate banking panel’s 13 Republican members, contacted by Reuters about their views on Moore’s suitability for the Fed role after his derisive commentary about women came to light, all either did not respond or declined to comment.
But Brown on Wednesday blasted Moore for comments he made in 2014 calling cities in the Midwest, including Cincinnati, the “armpits of America.” Brown demanded an apology.
“It would be your job to carefully consider monetary and regulatory policies that support communities throughout the country — even those you apparently consider beneath you,” Brown wrote in a letter to Moore. “Based on your bias against communities across the heartland of our country, it’s clear that you lack the judgment to make important decisions in their best interest.”
On Wednesday, Moore told Reuters his earlier remarks on women were not in accord with his current views.
“I DO regret writing that column 17 years ago and it does not reflect my feelings today,” he said, referencing a column on his dim view of women’s participation in the game of basketball.
His views on the Midwest also had improved, now that Trump is in office.
“I’m writing a column about Ohio right now as a matter of fact. Trump is making Ohio great again. It’s a wonderful renaissance. Was just in Cleveland a few weeks ago and the vitality is back.”
(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Former House Speaker John Boehner has a message for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich: Don’t bother challenging President Donald Trump for the Republican ticket in 2020.
“There’s this 38 percent of America that’s very big supporters of President Trump. And you know, they’re gonna show up and vote for him,” Boehner said during an appearance on CNBC host Chuck Todd’s podcast, “Chuck Toddcast,” per The Hill.
Kasich, a CNN senior political contributor, has been a prominent critic of Trump’s on everything from tax cuts to the immigration policy of family separation.
Asked if Trump has done anything he agrees with, Kasich said border control, lower taxes, and higher financial contributions from European allies are all needed. But the president has set too negative a tone when he’s not wrong, with an overall “dismal” record, Kasich said.
“Tariffs are a bad idea. Debt is a bad idea. Family separation is a bad idea. Demonizing immigrants is a bad idea. And breaking down our alliances is bad too,” Kasich told The Associated Press in December.
He ran a failed presidential primary campaign in 2016 and is considering his options for 2020.
“If you’re not around the hoop, you can’t get a rebound,” Kasich said during an interview with the AP. “So we’re hanging around the hoop, and we’re very serious about this. How would we not be?”
“It’s not like I wouldn’t do it,” he said of a potential run. “You can’t be afraid to do it.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao delivers a speech during the opening of LAAD, the biggest military industry expo in Latin America, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
April 24, 2019
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao said on Wednesday he will travel to China on May 16, staying for 10 days with stops in Beijing and Shanghai.
Mourao, a former general who is seen as a moderate in the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, has recently become embroiled in a nasty war-of-words with the president’s sons, who are both influential lawmakers.
In comparison with Bolsonaro, who often criticized China’s large role in Brazil’s economy during his presidential campaign, Mourao has taken a more pragmatic approach toward his country’s top trading partner, seeking to maintain commercial ties.
Mourao’s visit to the world’s second-largest economy should mark the reactivation of the Sino-Brazilian Bilateral Cooperation Commission. Additionally, there is also hope that new meat export permits may be announced during the visit, according to Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Yang Wanming.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Tom Brown)
FILE PHOTO: An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Sheila Dang and Akanksha Rana
(Reuters) – AT&T Inc’s first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street estimates on Wednesday after it lost subscribers in nearly all of its main businesses except wireless, where it paid heavily to gain customers through price promotions.
AT&T lost a net 544,000 premium TV subscribers, a category that includes DirecTV satellite and U-verse television customers. Analysts had expected a loss of 385,000 customers across DirecTV and U-verse, according to research firm FactSet.
Pay-TV providers have struggled to keep customers as viewers move to streaming services like Netflix Inc. AT&T has launched its own streaming service, but that too lost customers in the quarter.
Total revenue for the quarter rose nearly 18 percent to $44.83 billion but fell short of expectations of $45.11 billion.
Revenue in AT&T’s wireless business was hurt by aggressive smartphone promotions. The company has tried to reduce its dependency on its phone business, which now brings in roughly 40 percent of total operating revenue, by adding media content through its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
“Altogether, AT&T’s collection of assets remains challenged,” Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research, said in a note on Wednesday. AT&T’s business wireline segment saw declines in the top and bottom line, and even WarnerMedia trends “were just okay,” Chaplin wrote.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit, which includes Turner and premium TV channel HBO, reported revenue of $8.38 billion in the quarter, but that was short of analysts’ estimates of $8.45 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The company added a net 80,000 phone subscribers, beating analysts’ forecast of a loss of 44,000 subscribers, as it leaned on the smartphone promotions to combat competition in a saturated U.S. market.
But Mobility, AT&T’s largest segment and which includes its wireless business, had revenue of $17.57 billion during the quarter, missing estimates of $17.65 billion, as those promotions hurt revenue for the unit.
AT&T shares were down 3.9 percent at $30.84 on Wednesday.
Postpaid phone churn, or the rate of customer defections, was 0.93 percent during the first quarter, up from 0.84 percent in the previous year.
AT&T’s entertainment segment, which includes satellite TV provider DirecTV, has been in continuous decline. Revenue from the segment fell nearly 1 percent to $11.33 billion.
AT&T also continued to lose subscribers for its DirecTV Now streaming service, which shed a net 83,000 customers during the quarter as viewers abandoned the service after their introductory price promotion plans ended.
“AT&T’s first-quarter earnings give a clear signal that the company is willing to compromise on growth in the short term as it struggles to cut its heavy load of debt,” said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at Investing.com.
“And it’s a wise thing to do considering the market is very concerned about the company’s balance-sheet risk.”
PAYING DOWN DEBT
AT&T’s Latin America segment had revenue of $1.7 billion during the quarter, down from $2 billion in the year-ago quarter. AT&T said the segment lost $551 million due to foreign exchange pressures.
The carrier has focused on paying down its debt after the purchase of Time Warner. The company paid off $2.3 billion during the first quarter, and net debt now stands at $169 billion.
On Tuesday, AT&T announced it would sell office space at Hudson Yards in New York City for $2.2 billion, which it plans to use to pay down debt.
AT&T previously received $1.43 billion by selling its stake in streaming service Hulu back to the company.
Verizon Communications Inc, an AT&T rival, raised its 2019 profit forecast and beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, although it lost more phone subscribers than analysts had expected.
Net income attributable to AT&T fell to $4.1 billion, or 56 cents per share, from $4.66 billion, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned 86 cents per share, in line with estimates.
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Paul Simao)
The first Republican to announce a GOP 2020 primary challenge to President Donald Trump says “we would be much better off with a President Mike Pence.”
“For the good of the country, if he had the self-awareness that Richard Nixon had, sense of shame is too strong a word, but self-awareness is probably too soft a word, he would resign,” former Massachusetts Gov. Weld told MSNBC’s “The Last Word” on Tuesday night. “The truth is: We would be much better off with a President Mike Pence than a President Donald Trump.”
Weld warned against Democrats impeaching President Trump, because “those boils over at the White House are dying to have impeachment proceedings initiated so that Mr. Trump can scream like a stuffed pig.”
“It’s just going to give him such a delicious talking point the last few months before the election,” Weld told host Lawrence O’Donnell.
Weld is ready to challenge President Trump in a Republican primary for the 2020 presidential candidacy, although Ohio Republican John Kasich and Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan are weighing a run as well.
Weld admitted he will not bother campaigning in the deep red southern states, but he will focus on the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and California.
“It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity, and opportunity for all,” he said at the time. “There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province, China December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
April 24, 2019
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Wednesday amid signs that global markets remain adequately supplied despite a jump to 2019 highs this week on Washington’s push for tighter sanctions against Iran.
Brent crude futures were at $74.13 per barrel at 0456 GMT, down 38 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $65.93 per barrel, down 37 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their previous settlement.
Crude oil prices for spot delivery rose to 2019 highs earlier in the week after the United States said on Monday it would end all exemptions for sanctions against Iran, demanding countries halt oil imports from Tehran from May or face punitive action from Washington.
The spot price surge has put the Brent forward curve into steep backwardation, in which prices for later delivery are cheaper than for prompt dispatch.
Stephen Schork of the Schork Report energy newsletter, said the shift to backwardation in the past four months was “a sign that the market’s underlying fundamentals have shifted away from a spot market that is well supplied to a market where demand is beginning to overtake supply.”
U.S. sanctions against oil exporter Iran were introduced in November 2018, but Washington allowed its largest buyers limited imports of crude for another half-year as an adjustment period.
With Iranian oil exports likely declining sharply from May as most countries bow to U.S. pressure, global crude markets are expected to tighten in the short-run, Goldman Sachs and Barclays bank said this week.
Despite the tight spot market, analysts said global oil markets remained adequately supplied thanks to ample spare capacity from the Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russian and also the United States.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), a watchdog for oil consuming countries, said in a statement on Tuesday that markets are “adequately supplied” and that “global spare production capacity remains at comfortable levels.”
The biggest source of new oil supply comes from the United States, where crude oil production has already risen by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since early 2018 to a record of more than 12 million bpd early this year, making America the world’s biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“Total oil supplies from the United States are expected to grow by 1.6 million bpd this year,” the IEA said.
Commercial inventories in the United States are also high.
U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 6.9 million barrels in the week to April 19 to 459.6 million, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin)
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Source: The War Room
FILE PHOTO: A Wells Fargo logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
April 23, 2019
By Imani Moise
DALLAS (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co shareholders voted to elect all of the company-nominated directors during a rowdy meeting on Tuesday in which more than a dozen attendees were kicked out for heckling executives and board members.
Though protesters and activists dominated most of the meeting, the shareholder vote reflected growing investor confidence in management. All the directors were elected with no less than 95 percent approval, according to the preliminary tally. A year ago, directors were elected with 89 percent approval.
The majority of the San Francisco-based bank’s 12 board members joined Wells Fargo after the bank became mired in scandal in late 2016 for opening potentially millions of unauthorized accounts. Board Chair Betsy Duke and interim Chief Executive Allen Parker faced questions about why investors should vote for the five directors who were at the bank at the time of the wrongdoing.
Last month, proxy research firm Institutional Shareholder Services advised “cautionary support” of directors who were at the bank prior to 2017.
About 15 activists were kicked out of the meeting for interrupting Parker’s remarks, as part of coordinated demonstrations by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). Parker had repeatedly asked them to wait for the question-and-answer segment before having security evict them.
“One of the wonderful things about shareholder democracy is that we have meetings like this,” said Parker as the activists were escorted out.
NACA CEO Bruce Marks, who has a history of protesting at bank shareholder meetings, helped members buy individual shares so they could attend the meeting, he told Reuters.
The group, a non-profit mortgage broker, plans to attend Bank of America Corp’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday to thank the bank for committing billions of dollars to low- and moderate-income mortgages.
The demonstrators spoke about fair lending practices, African American homeownership and fake accounts. Some called Wells Fargo executives “frauds” and said the bank could not be trusted.
Wells Fargo’s annual meetings have drawn protesters every year since its fake account scandal in 2016. Since the initial revelations, regulators and the bank have uncovered problems in each of the bank’s primary business segments. The scandals at the fourth-largest U.S. lender have resulted in billions of fines and penalties and claimed two CEOs after Tim Sloan announced his resignation last month.
Board Chair Duke said at the meeting Tuesday a search for an external candidate is underway and that the board would not comment on the search process until a selection is finalized.
Shareholders also approved executive pay and other management proposals. Two shareholder proposals that were rejected called for transparency about incentive pay and closing of the median gender pay gap.
(Reporting by Imani Moise; editing by Richard Chang and Lisa Shumaker)
FILE PHOTO: Employees work at a harvest machine assembly line at the AGCO Agricultural Machinery Plant in Ribeirao Preto, northeastern region of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
April 23, 2019
By Marcelo Teixeira
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – U.S. agricultural machine maker AGCO Corp said on Tuesday it would launch its flagship Fendt line of equipment in Brazil later this year, targeting large soybean farmers in the vast center-west region.
AGCO will first bring the German-made line of Fendt Vario high-power tractors to Brazil’s grain heartland, the company’s South America chief Luís Felli said at a presentation in Sao Paulo.
Next year AGCO plans to launch sales of Fendt’s biggest-yet planters and harvesters that will be produced in two plants in Brazil, looking to lure the largest-scale farming groups, he said.
Felli said most items were designed in Brazil specifically for the needs of grain producers in the center-west states such as Mato Grosso and Goiás, where much of the country’s soybean and corn is produced.
“Everybody nowadays wants to produce two crops per year in Brazil. The windows for harvesting and planting are small. You need to gain speed, and these equipment will give you speed,” he said.
Fendt South America division will be headquartered in Sorriso, right along at the key BR-163 grain-shipping road, in the northern part of Mato Grosso state. It will sell 40-line planters that carry seeds and fertilizer and can be folded to be transported to other areas.
“The largest planters of that kind until today had 17 lines, so this could make a big difference in a large farm,” Felli said.
According to him, if conditions are right, precision planters could go as fast as 12 kilometers per hour (km/h) in the field, compared to 5 km/h for a conventional planter.
AGCO will also sell Fendt harvesters with up to 50-feet long platforms and internal storage for as much as 220 60-kg bags of soybeans (485 bushels).
Felli says Brazil has at least 10,000 farmers with 5,000 hectares or more each, a large scale farming not seen anywhere else, boosting sales potential for large, powerful machinery.
The company has invested 150 million reais ($38.30 million) so far to bring the Fendt line to South America.
(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Richard Chang)
FILE PHOTO: A Cargill logo is pictured on the Provimi Kliba and Protector animal nutrition factory in Lucens, Switzerland, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
April 23, 2019
By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) – Four of the largest U.S. beef-packing companies were accused in a lawsuit on Tuesday of violating federal antitrust law by conspiring to drive down prices they paid ranchers for cattle, even as retail beef prices hovered near record levels.
Tyson Foods Inc, Cargill Inc, the JBS USA unit of Brazil’s JBS SA and National Beef Packing Co were accused of colluding since Jan. 2015 to suppress the price of “fed” cattle, which is cattle raised specifically for beef production, with a goal of improving margins and profitability.
The 104-page complaint by the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF) and four cattle-feeding ranchers was filed in Chicago federal court, and seeks compensatory, punitive and triple damages.
It resembles litigation in the same court in which companies, including Tyson and JBS, have been accused of conspiring to fix prices of broiler chickens and pork.
Tyson said the lawsuit was “baseless,” and that as in the chicken and pork lawsuits there was no merit to the claim it colluded. “Tyson wants its suppliers to succeed,” it added.
The other defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the complaint, Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef conspired to suppress prices through such tactics as importing foreign cattle at a loss, closing slaughter plants, and reducing slaughter and purchase volumes.
The conspiracy “encouraged an apprehension amongst producers that they might not be able to ‘get their cattle dead’” unless prices were cut, and led to an artificial 7.9 percent average reduction in fed cattle prices, the complaint said.
Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef controlled more than 81 percent of the market for U.S. fed cattle in 2017, with more than $48 billion of beef sales in that fiscal year, the complaint said.
The lawsuit is meant to “prevent the Big 4 packers from capturing the U.S. cattle market from independent U.S. cattle producers,” R-CALF Chief Executive Bill Bullard said in a statement provided by the group’s lawyers. “We hope U.S. cattle ranchers can be compensated for years of significant losses.”
The case is Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America et al v Tyson Foods Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 19-02726.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Bill Berkrot)