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  • Bankrupt British loans official resigns, embarrassing PM Cameron

    Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago

    By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - The head of a British government agency that hands out billions of pounds of loans to local authorities has resigned after failing to reveal he was bankrupt, Prime Minister David Cameron's office said on Sunday. Cameron appointed Tony Caplin, a former senior official in his ruling Conservative party, to head the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) last year. The PWLB is in charge of distributing infrastructure loans to local authorities across Britain and controls a loans portfolio of up to 60 billion pounds ($100.85 billion). More »Bankrupt British loans official resigns, embarrassing PM Cameron

  • Social Security to resume benefits statement mailings

    Reuters - 17 hours ago

    By Mark Miller CHICAGO (Reuters) - Paper Social Security benefits statements, which used to be mailed out every year and then fell victim to budget cuts, are going to make a partial comeback. Starting this September, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will resume mailings at five-year intervals to workers who have not signed up to view their statements online, an agency spokesman told Reuters. The statements will be sent to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60, he said, adding the agency would continue to promote use of the online statements. The SSA stopped mailing most paper statements in 2011 in response to budget pressures, and saved the SSA $70 million annually - about 50 cents per mailed statement. More »Social Security to resume benefits statement mailings

  • Smartphone or Sex: Which Would You Rather Give Up? (Infographic)

    Entrepreneur - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 12:25 PM EDT

    More Americans report they would rather forgo sex than a mobile phone, and almost 70 percent of Americans say they check their mobile phone even when it hasn't made any indication of a message arriving. More »Smartphone or Sex: Which Would You Rather Give Up? (Infographic)

  • Women edge into Gulf boardrooms as economies, societies shift

    Reuters - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 8:37 AM EDT

    By Mirna Sleiman DUBAI (Reuters) - Amina al-Rustamani, a member of a prominent UAE family, raised eyebrows among friends and relatives when she started her career in Dubai 13 years ago as an electrical engineer, becoming one of few females in the Middle East to enter the profession. She is now chief executive of TECOM Investments, part of a conglomerate owned by the ruler of Dubai which manages a complex of nine business parks and spearheads the emirate's economic ambitions in information technology, science and education. Almost unimaginable just a generation ago, Rustamani's rise to the highest level of business in a Gulf Arab country underlines a shift in the business environment that is allowing the gradual entry of women into boardrooms and other positions of economic power in the region. "There's always this challenge to fit in and excel but once you prove that you are competent, you will earn society's respect," said Rustamani, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering from The George Washington University in Washington DC. More »Women edge into Gulf boardrooms as economies, societies shift

  • Crowdfunding Live: How One Spark Ignites Ideas

    Entrepreneur - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 4:00 PM EDT

    In-person events for financial prospecting provide benefits that online platforms don't: gathered masses, a pool of dedicated dollars and a chance to receive immediate project feedback. More »Crowdfunding Live: How One Spark Ignites Ideas

  • Wal-Mart takes on money transfer companies with new service

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 1:38 PM EDT

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc is launching a money transfer service in a direct challenge to the dominance of Western Union Co. and MoneyGram, aiming to broaden the financial services it offers to low-income customers and increase store traffic. Wal-Mart said on Thursday that Euronet Worldwide Inc's Ria Money Transfer subsidiary would begin running the service, called "Walmart-2-Walmart," next week. The new service, which Wal-Mart says will charge lower fees than those currently offered by competitors, will enable shoppers to send and receive cash from family members and friends at more than 4,000 U.S. discount stores. Wal-Mart, which will not offer the service online or in its international stores, hopes consumers will turn around and spend at least some of that money at the stores. More »Wal-Mart takes on money transfer companies with new service

  • GE industrial profit boost underscores strategy, shares up

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:46 PM EDT

    General Electric Co posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits on Thursday, as strength in its businesses selling gas turbines, jet engines and oil industry equipment offset weakness in healthcare and transportation. "The big story is the organic revenue growth," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns GE shares. "It really shows the return to an industrial emphasis is paying off, and where the company is focusing." The results underscored GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt's strategy to focus the company even more on manufacturing of large industrial products as he reduces the company's dependence on its GE Capital finance unit. Immelt is also seeking to improve profit margins and slash administrative costs at the 307,000-employee company. More »GE industrial profit boost underscores strategy, shares up

  • Lending Club's New Front: Loans for Braces and Your Kid's Kindergarten Tuition

    Entrepreneur - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:05 PM EDT

    The peer-to-peer lending site announced today that, with its acquisition of Springstone Financial, it would be expanding its reach in consumer finance. More »Lending Club's New Front: Loans for Braces and Your Kid's Kindergarten Tuition

  • Germany's SAP braced for continued currency crunch

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 9:49 AM EDT

    By Harro Ten Wolde FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German business software maker SAP warned on Thursday that it expects the negative impact of the strong euro to worsen after reporting lower than expected first-quarter results. The warning comes as SAP grapples with a short-term squeeze from its shift to web-based cloud computing, prompting it to push back its profit target as it waits for subscription income to gather pace and increases investment to keep up with the fast-growing market. SAP said its software and software-related service revenues would fall 6 percentage points in the second quarter if exchange rates remain at March levels, while the hit for operating profit excluding special items would be 8 percentage points. That compares with a first-quarter impact of 5 percentage points on both software and software-related service revenues and operating profit. More »Germany's SAP braced for continued currency crunch

  • Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:49 AM EDT

    By Hamid Shalizi KABUL (Reuters) - A leading Taliban peace negotiator has been placed under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates, officials said on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Hamid Karzai's efforts to jump-start a nascent Afghan peace process before leaving office. Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, has been missing for over a week, according to the Afghan government, disappearing after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February. "Mutassim ... one of the key Taliban leaders and who supported Afghan peace initiative, was put under house arrest in the UAE where he lived," the Afghan High Peace Council, a body formed by Karzai to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, said on Thursday. "The Afghan government has made requests to the UAE authorities to lift all the restrictions," it said in a statement. More »Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan

  • Google misses revenue target, ad prices slide

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:13 AM EDT

    By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's first-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets and margins narrowed as the price of its ads continued to decline, underscoring the challenges Internet companies face as the world shifts toward mobile devices. Shares of Google were down 3 percent to $539.80 in afterhours trading on Wednesday, after initially sliding roughly 6 percent on the news. The number of "paid clicks" by consumers on Google's ads increased by 26 percent in the first quarter, disappointing some analysts who had hoped for stronger volume growth. And the average "cost per click" declined 9 percent, extending a downward trend as mobile advertising, typically cheaper than traditional online ads, make up a bigger slice of its business. More »Google misses revenue target, ad prices slide

  • Instant View: GE industrial earnings rise, shares tick higher

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 7:21 AM EDT

    GE, which is increasingly focusing on its traditional manufacturing businesses over its finance unit, posted an 8 percent increase in industrial revenue, even as overall company revenue fell slightly short of Wall Street's target. They have still three quarters to get above zero in terms of what they guided for the year." PERRY ADAMS, NORTHWESTERN BANK, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN, MANAGES GE SHARES "They beat expectations by a penny, but it definitely was a mixed bag. More »Instant View: GE industrial earnings rise, shares tick higher

  • A star abroad, India central bank boss riles bond traders at home

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 4:24 AM EDT

    By Neha Dasgupta MUMBAI (Reuters) - Since taking the helm of India's central bank, Raghuram Rajan's agenda to reform markets has put the noses of Mumbai bond traders firmly out of joint by upending practices that provided them with a relatively secure rate of return. Benchmark 10-year bond yields have risen more than half a percentage point since Rajan took office on September 4, as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sharply restricted bond purchases and announced an unexpected shift in the focus of monetary policy to consumer inflation from wholesale prices. While the dealing community in India's financial capital concedes that Rajan's reforms are necessary for the longer term, many traders complain that he has gone too far too quickly, and without consulting the markets. Their gripes stand in contrast with the high-profile central bank chief's glowing global reputation as a capable technocrat who has been instrumental in guiding the rupee through its worst turmoil since India's balance of payments crisis in 1991. More »A star abroad, India central bank boss riles bond traders at home

  • Argentina's fight with bondholders reaches U.S. top court

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 1:06 AM EDT

    By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday wades into Argentina's multi-billion dollar legal fight with bond investors who turned down two debt restructuring offers after the country's 2002 default. The relatively narrow case that the nine justices are due to hear concerns whether the investors can force banks in New York with which Argentina does business to disclose information about the country's non-U.S. assets as the investors seek repayment. A bigger case, in which Argentina is challenging a court judgment ordering it to pay $1.33 billion to the so-called "holdout" bond investors or face a potential default if it refuses to do so, waits in the wings. Argentina has been battling for a decade with the bondholders led by hedge funds NML Capital Ltd, a unit of billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp, and Aurelius Capital Management. More »Argentina's fight with bondholders reaches U.S. top court

  • Guinea-Bissau run-off vote pits ex-finance minister Vaz against Nabiam

    Reuters - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:00 AM EDT

    By Bate Felix and Alberto Dabo BISSAU (Reuters) - Jose Mario Vaz, Guinea-Bissau's former finance minister, will face Nuno Gomes Nabiam, a candidate seen closest to the army, in a May 18 presidential run-off due to complete the country's return to civilian rule. The presidential and parliamentary vote is meant to offer the nation a fresh start after decades of instability since independence from Portugal. Its last vote in 2012 was abandoned after the military seized power between rounds of voting. ... More »Guinea-Bissau run-off vote pits ex-finance minister Vaz against Nabiam

  • U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:38 PM EDT

    By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday urged the Indian government that emerges from ongoing elections to follow economic policies that encourage investment, saying Washington would like to see bilateral trade grow to $500 billion a year. Nisha Biswal, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said future economic growth in South Asia hinged on India as the region's growth engine. However, Biswal said that while Indian leaders had targeted $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over five years to close gaps preventing growth in manufacturing, policies still inhibited foreign investment. She said India ranked a poor 134 out of 189 countries as a place to invest and start a business. More »U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government

  • Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 7:54 PM EDT

    By Stephanie Nebehay and Christian Lowe GENEVA/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Foreign ministers from East and West will try to defuse the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in Geneva, once frequently the scene of Cold War negotiations, but will risk being upstaged by Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, prospects of significant progress at the four-way talks appear slim. By contrast, what Putin says during his annual "hotline" session with the Russian people may have far greater influence on events in Ukraine's rebellious east. Thursday's talks will bring the ministers of Russia, Ukraine and the United States together with the European Union's foreign policy chief to discuss a crisis in which Kiev is struggling to reassert its authority in eastern towns largely controlled by armed pro-Russian separatists. More »Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis

  • Bank of America's financial crisis costs become a recurring nightmare

    Reuters - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 7:29 PM EDT

    Bank of America Corp's financial crisis hangover is lasting longer than expected, leading some investors to wonder if the massive litigation expenses being incurred have become a recurring cost of doing business instead of being dismissed as one-time items. The bank on Wednesday posted $6 billion of litigation costs for its first quarter, far exceeding the $3.7 billion of settlement costs that investors had previously known about. Since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Bank of America has announced some $50 billion of settlements, before taxes. Litigation expenses in four of the five quarters since the start of 2013 have exceeded $1 billion. More »Bank of America's financial crisis costs become a recurring nightmare

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