Unemployment rates rise in most US states in July
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in July and fewer states added jobs, echoing national data that show the job market may have lost some momentum.
The Labor Department said Monday that unemployment rates increased in 28 states. They were unchanged in 14 and fell in eight states — the fewest to show a decline since January.
Nationwide, hiring has been steady this year but slowed in July. Employers added 162,000 jobs, the fewest since March. The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 per cent, a 4 1/2 -year low, from 7.6 per cent.
Fed says big banks must improve financial cushions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says the nation’s largest banks need to do a better job of determining how much capital they need to cushion against a future crisis.
The Fed says a study shows that banks have made progress in preparing for stresses like those brought by the 2008 financial crisis. But it says banks must go further by accounting for specific risks that relate to their business activities.
The Fed has been conducting annual stress tests on the biggest banks since 2009. The next round will include the 18 largest banks and an additional 12 firms that will participate for the first time next year.
The report comes as President Barack Obama is meeting with banking regulators for a status report as the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis approaches.
Hedge fund titan Phil Falcone to settle with SEC
NEW YORK (AP) — Hedge fund titan Phil Falcone and his firm, Harbinger Capital Partners, will pay $18 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges over Falcone’s use of firm money and other accusations, regulators said Monday.
Falcone and his firm must also admit wrongdoing, a departure from many recent SEC settlements that have allowed financial firms and employees to neither admit nor deny guilt. Falcone is also barred from the securities industry for five years.
This was not Falcone’s first attempt to settle the SEC charges. At a closed meeting last month, SEC commissioners rejected another settlement proposal. It was also worth $18 million, but it did not require admission of guilt and would have banned Falcone from the industry for only two years.
Saks 2Q performance misses analysts’ estimates
NEW YORK (AP) — Saks Inc.’s weak second-quarter earnings are raising concerns that a slowdown in spending is reaching into affluent circles.
Saks reported Monday that its second-quarter loss widened, burdened by some higher expenses and charges. The luxury retailer also faced higher markdowns of some goods and misjudged the timing of a key seasonal clearance sale.
Saks joins other luxury retailers, including Ralph Lauren Corp. and Coach Inc., in reporting weak sales during the spring and early summer. Last week, Wal-Mart Stores and Macy’s Inc. were among major retailers catering to low-income to upper-middle-income shoppers that posted sluggish results and offered bleaker outlooks.
Campaign seeks to push Seattle minimum wage to $15
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. Now, there’s a push in Seattle, at least, to make it $15.
That would mean fast food workers, retail clerks, baristas and other minimum wage workers would get what protesters demanded when they shut down a handful of city restaurants in May and others called for when they demonstrated nationwide in July.
So far, the City Council and mayoral candidates have said they would consider it in the famously liberal city. One said, however, that it may not be soon.
Creditors file objections to Detroit bankruptcy
DETROIT (AP) — Individual creditors who fear losing their pensions and paying more for health care were among those who began filing objections on Monday to Detroit’s request for bankruptcy protection, the largest municipal filing in U.S. history and a move aimed at wiping away billions of dollars in debt.
Federal Judge Steven Rhodes set Monday as the eligibility objection deadline in the bankruptcy petition by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
Attorneys for creditors — including bond holders, insurers, banks, employee pension funds, individuals and companies that provided services — have until just before midnight to file objections electronically. City residents filing for themselves began dropping off their objections Monday morning at the court.
Energy imports, yen swell Japan trade deficit
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s trade deficit ballooned in July as the cost of imports surged because of a cheaper yen and energy needs.
The Finance Ministry reported Monday a trade deficit of 1.02 trillion yen ($10 billion) for July, almost double a year earlier.
Japan, once known for giant trade surpluses, has posted trade deficits for 13 straight months. The trade deficit was the biggest ever for the month of July since comparable records began in 1979, the ministry said.
Exports jumped 12 per cent while imports surged nearly 20 per cent. The dollar has risen in recent months, a plus for exports. But that also makes imports more expensive when translated into yen.
Weakening the yen is a key part of the Japan revival strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office last year. Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, has stagnated for the better part of two decades. A weak currency is a boon for exports, and is lifting the earnings of some of Japan’s best known companies such as Toyota Motor Corp.
French government predicts rosy future (in 2025)
PARIS (AP) — Full employment, plenty of cheap housing, a new Industrial Revolution and Police 3.0. Those are the French government’s predictions for the year 2025.
Leaders in the Socialist administration, who are under criticism for the struggling economy and rising joblessness, met Monday to discuss the way forward. Grappling with an 11 per cent unemployment rate, high taxes, and a declining industrial sector, they looked to better times in the future — the distant future.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 70.73 points, or 0.47 per cent, to close at 15,010.74. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 9.77 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 1,646.06. The Nasdaq composite index also fell, losing 13.69 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 3,589.09.
Benchmark oil for September delivery fell 36 cents to close at $107.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.07 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $2.93 a gallon. Natural gas rose 10 cents to $3.46 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Brent crude, which is used to price imported crude used by many U.S. refineries, fell 50 cents to $109.90 a barrel for October delivery on the ICE Futures exchange in London.