Tag: Business Standard

Wall Street hits record high on Trump tax talk

US stocks hit record highs shortly after the open on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump said he would release a major tax reform plan in the coming weeks.

Trump’s promise of a “phenomenal” tax plan helped reignite a post-election rally, which had stalled in recent weeks on concerns over his protectionist stand and the lack of clarity on his policies.

The biggest theme for investors is that Trump’s tax plan will move quickly and he has always maintained that it is going to be very aggressive, said Uriel Cohen, founder of Alpine Global in New York.

“No one wants to miss a large pop when that news does come out.”

Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of a key House of Representatives committee, laid out his plan to roll back Wall Street and consumer protection rules, which were put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, according to a staff memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Banks, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan, were slightly higher. The S&P 500 financial index rose 0.31 per cent, giving the broader index its biggest boost.

Goldman Sachs rose 0.78 per cent and was the top stock on the Dow.

The dollar index was up 0.3 per cent to a three-week high of 101.01. Gold was down 0.3 per cent.

Oil prices rose 1.5 per cent after news that Opec members’ initial compliance with last year’s production cut deal reached a record high.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1438 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 55.34 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 20,227.74.

The S&P 500 was up 4.65 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 2,312.52 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 10.07 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 5,725.25.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with energy’s 1 per cent rise leading the gainers.

Activision Blizzard surged 13.7 per cent and gave Wall Street the biggest boost to the S&P 500. The videogame maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a $1 billion share buyback program.

Sears Holding jumped 31 per cent to $7.27 after the struggling retailer said it would cut debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year.

Mead Johnson was up 4.7 per cent after Reckitt Benckiser finalised a $16.6 billion deal to buy the infant formula maker.

Skechers USA was up 17.8 per cent after its fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,770 to 837. On the Nasdaq, 1,396 issues rose and 859 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 75 new highs and nine new lows.


100,000 visas revoked under Donald Trump’s travel ban

Over 100,000 visas have been revoked since US President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban a week ago, media reports said.

According to the Washington Post on on Friday, the attorney revealed the data during a hearing in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two Yemeni brothers who arrived last Saturday at an Dulles airport near Washington D.C. but were sent back to Ethiopia due to the controversial order issued.

“The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” Xinhua news agency quoted Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents the brothers.

For people like the Yemeni brothers, the US administration appears to be attempting a case-by-case reprieve. They and other plaintiffs in lawsuits around the US are being offered new visas and the Donald Trump opportunity to come to the US in exchange for dropping their suits.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, when asked about the case during his daily briefing, said he had no information about it.

The White House has downplayed the order’s effects on people in transit after chaos and protests erupted at airports around the country last Friday.

Under the executive order Trump signed on January 27, refugees from all over the world will be suspended US entry for 120 days while all immigration from so-called “countries with terrorism concerns” will be suspended for 90 days.

Countries included in the ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Last Sunday, thousands of protesters rallied before the White House, at more than 30 US airports and in big cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.

‘Angel’ singer Taher Shah has a Valentine’s Day ‘gift’ for you

Call it good news or bad, Taher Shah is coming up with a special gift for you!

After taking the world on a stir with ‘Eye to Eye’ and ‘Angel’, Taher is back with a Valentine’s Day ‘gift’ for his fans.

The Pakistani singer, known for making unique and absurd music, recently announced on Twitter that he will release a song this Valentine’s Season.

“Valentine’s Day gift of honor coming soon for Valentine’s Day worldwide angelic fans. Stay tuned,” the tweet said.

Shah shot to fame with his first song, ‘Eye to Eye’ that quickly became an internet sensation and attracted a lot of attention, followed by his second song, ‘Angel’ (2016) that (surprisingly) also won an award in the US.

Later in December, Shah left Pakistan after receiving death threats from people not known to him.

Trump questions University of California’s funding after protests

The US President raised questions about whether the University of California should continue receiving federal funds after demonstrators at the Berkeley campus forced the cancellation of a speech by Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos.

“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Donald Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday.

The 33-year-old Yannopoulos is a vocal far-right supporter of Trump and self-proclaimed Internet troll. His comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

He was forced to cancel a speech on Wednesday at UC-Berkeley when protests against his appearance turned violent.

Writing on his Facebook page, Yiannopoulos said he had been evacuated from the Berkeley campus when “violent leftist demonstrators” put up barricades, set fires University of California and threw rocks and fireworks at the building’s windows.

Hundreds of protesters gathered on Wednesday afternoon at Berkeley and some of them clashed with police.

Once Yiannopoulos’s speech was cancelled, the gathering turned into a celebration with music and dancing as police looked on.

Yiannopoulos, a controversial British writer, works as an editor for Breitbart News, a media outlet run until last August by Steve Bannon, who is now the chief strategist for Trump at the White House.

Biggest US takeover in China in decade hangs on board spat

Air Products & Chemicals has hit a bump as it attempts the largest US takeover of a Chinese firm in more than a decade, stymied by an extended boardroom battle at Yingde Gases Group.

A divided board of the Hong Kong-listed firm failed to agree on a panel needed to review the offer, but has asked Air Products to proceed with due diligence to avoid further delays, Yingde said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The world’s biggest producer of hydrogen offered International News to pay at least HK$5.50 a share, valuing Yingde’s equity at about $1.3 billion.

The success of the bid now hinges on the speed at which Yingde proceeds with further talks on the back of the prolonged boardroom struggle. A former chief executive officer and chief operating officer, who were stripped of their executive powers but are still on the board, have been fighting to regain management control of Yingde. The two factions have called for a special meeting on March 8 to vote on the removal of the other group.

“Yingde’s current management seems united against the two dissident directors,” said Justin Tang, a director of global special situations at Religare Capital Markets in Singapore. “Air Products’ possible bid may be delayed by the board fighting.”

Reflecting shareholder anxiety over the situation, Yingde’s stock closed at HK$4.72 on Friday in Hong Kong, 14 per cent below Air Products’ offer. It has rallied 21 per cent since the details of the preliminary bid were announced on January 20.

How the Oracle of Omaha decides on his breakfast

Every morning, billionaire Warren Buffett drives down to his office in Omaha, Nebraska, in his 2014 Cadillac XTC. “One of the good things” of the five-minute-trip is the McDonald’s where he has breakfasts.

This is one of the opening scenes in HBO’s feature-length (90 minutes) documentary on 84-year-old Buffett, often called the “Oracle of Omaha” because of the crowds of Berkshire Hathaway investors who come to listen to him talk on money.

The documentary, Becoming Warren Buffett, directed by Peter Kunhardt, will debut on 30 January. A trailer can be seen on YouTube, featuring the scene of Buffett getting his breakfast from McDonald’s.

Kunhardt has made a hand-off film, writes CNN, letting the billionaire tell his own tale, while including voices from his life and extraordinary career.

Buffett, now worth about $67 billion, “took control of a small, struggling textile maker in 1965 and created a conglomerate now valued at over $400 billion – behind only Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft. The stock is up more than 12,000-fold on his watch,” according to Barron’s.

The man is no less fascinating than the businessman – and the documentary is more personal than business, reports Reuters. Both Buffett and his siblings recall the influence of their parents. Their mother was mathematically inclined and troubled by chronic headaches, at times, lashing out at the children. Their father was idealistic and served in the US Congress.

One of the matters on which Trump seems quite forthcoming is “love”, claiming, according to the Reuters report: “If you try to give it out, you get more back. If you try to hang onto it, you lose it.”

The report also provides an insight into his relationship with his first wife, Susan. “Susie really put me together,” he says in the film. Kunhardt relies on Susan’s only televised interview, in 2004 with TV host Charlie Rose, to provide nuggets of information that only a spouse can provide. “Physical proximity with Warren doesn’t mean he’s there with you,” says Susan in that interview. His current wife, Astrid Menks, 60, also plays an important role in his life every day. The Latvian, who once worked as a cocktail waitress, decides what her husband will have for breakfast. She “puts $2.61, $2.95, or $3.17 into a dashboard cup for him every day, and that determines what he orders at the [McDonald’s] drive-through,” reports Barron’s. “On that day, it’s $2.95, which means a Sausage McMuffin with egg and cheese. ‘The market is not doing so well today,” he says, ‘so I’ll pass on the $3.17 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.’ When he gets to the office, he washes it down with his favourite beverage, a Coke.”

‘America first’ divides Trump, Silicon Valley

Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg and his Google counterpart, Sundar Pichai, have slammed US President Donald Trump over his executive order to ban refugees and immigrants from some Muslim-majority countries.

“Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat… We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help.”

In a note to employees on Friday, Pichai said more than 100 Google staff were affected by the order. “It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” he wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”

Alphabet Inc’s Google delivered a sharp message to staff travelling overseas who may be impacted by a new executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump: Get back to the US now.

The comments underscore a growing rift between the Trump administration and several large US technology companies, which include many immigrants in their ranks and have lobbied for fewer immigration restrictions. Trump signed an executive order Friday prohibiting entry by people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya the period, while the government determines what information it needs to safely admit visitors.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive on Friday afternoon ordering the Customs and Border Control agency to enforce the order, the New York Daily News reported. Late Friday, some green card and visa holders were already being blocked from boarding flights to the US, the newspaper said.

Zuckerberg, referring to his wife Priscilla Chan, whose family were refugees from China and Vietnam, wrote, “We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That’s who we are. Had we turned away refugees a few decades ago, Priscilla’s family wouldn’t be here today,”


“These issues are personal for me even beyond my family. A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented. They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live Mark Zukerberg, work and contribute here. I hope we find the courage and compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place for everyone,” he said.

Zuckerberg, who has long championed immigration, wrote that his great grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland.

Some Google employees were travelling abroad and were trying to get back to the US before the order took effect. The company asked them to reach out to Google’s security, travel, and immigration teams for assistance, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.

The people asked not to be identified talking about internal company communications.

The employees in question normally work in the US but just happened to be abroad either on work assignments or vacations. The concern is that even if Google staff have valid visas, they may still be at risk if they’re from one of the seven countries and they’re outside the US when the order kicks in, the person also said.

“We are advising our clients from those seven countries who have green cards or any type of H-1B visa not to travel outside the US,” said Ava Benach, a partner at immigration law firm Benach Collopy LLP, while noting that the order takes effect immediately.

“No one is really sure whether a green card holder from these seven countries can return to the US now. It’s fairly clear that an H-1B visa holder can’t,” Benach said.

The H-1B lets US companies employ graduate-level workers from other countries in technical occupations such as technology, engineering and science source Press trust of india.