Business this week
Oct 26th 2013 |From the print edition
The European Central Bank announced that it will begin its review of the quality of assets held by 128 banks in November. The review will cover all asset classes and be incorporated into the European Banking Authority’s stress tests next year. The ECB wants big banks to have core capital ratios of 8%, rather than the 7% under current regulations.
Pick a number, any number
JPMorgan Chase and America’s Justice Department negotiated the final details of a settlement for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities that reportedly is going to cost the bank $13 billion. It may have to dig deeper still: details were also leaked of a separate settlement that JPMorgan is close to agreeing on with investors for $6 billion.
A federal jury in a civil case found Bank of America liable for fraud because of toxic home-loans its Countrywide Financial unit sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-backed mortgage giants, in 2007-08. Countrywide bundled the loans under a project it called “Hustle”.
America’s Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new rules to ease the ability of start-ups to raise money through crowd funding platforms on the internet. The rules would introduce limits on the amount that small investors can invest based on their income and net worth (up to 5% of annual income below $100,000, for instance), and on the amount that firms can raise.
Karnit Flug was appointed as the new governor of the Bank of Israel. Ms Flug was deputy to the previous governor, Stanley Fischer, and has acted as the central bank’s head since July. She is expected to continue the loose monetary policy that marked Mr Fischer’s tenure. In June the bank tapped Jacob Frenkel, an international financier, to be governor, but he withdrew from consideration.
It emerged that Raoul Weil, who used to run the wealth-management division at UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, was arrested while on holiday in Italy. The United Stateshas issued an extradition request for Mr Weil in relation to its probe of Swiss banks that allegedly help Americans evade tax. He is the biggest fish to be netted since the investigation began in 2008.
American employers added 148,000 jobs to the payrolls in September, somewhat short of the monthly average of 181,000 between January and August. The employment report’s publication was delayed by the government shutdown, which Standard & Poor’s reckons will cost the economy $24 billion. The data make it less likely that the Federal Reserve will announce an easing of its stimulus programme at its October meeting.
After nine consecutive quarters of contraction, the Spanish economy grew by 0.1% from July to September, according to a first estimate from the country’s central bank, thanks to a bounce in exports.
China’s economic growth rate picked up slightly in the third quarter, allaying fears, for now, of an acute slowdown. GDP rose by 7.8% in the quarter compared with the same period last year.
Apple, Microsoft and Nokia unveiled new tablets. The Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first tablet, and also its last before it merges fully with Microsoft. The pair already co-operate on mobile technology and may streamline their combined product range. Both struggle to compete with Apple, which brought out the iPad Air this week, a thinner and lighter version of its full-sized tablet.
苹果，微软和诺基亚都推出了新的平板电脑。Lumia 2520是诺基亚推出的首款平板电脑，也是其与微软完全合并前最后的产品。这两家公司已经在移动技术上展开合作，且有可能优化他们结合起来的产品范围。微软和诺基亚两家公司将就该产品与苹果本周推出的ipad Air （在原有尺寸的基础上变得更轻薄的一款机型）争夺市场。
Google’s share price surged above $1,000 for the first time after it issued solid quarterly earnings underpinned by a 26% jump in paid clicks from ads. The tech company joins just a handful of big firms with a share price over $1,000, though more could follow as companies now tend not to split their stock when the share price rockets.
The European Court of Justice ruled that the veto held by Lower Saxony over strategic management decisions at Volkswagen, which has its headquarters in the German state, did not breach EU rules. The European Commission brought the case, arguing that Germany had not complied with a previous ruling to dilute the “VW law”.
The café-culture revolution
Starbucks was roundly denounced on Chinese state television for selling lattes and cappuccinos at higher prices than in other countries, the latest in a string of criticisms directed at foreign companies operating in China. Coffee sales in China have grown by 90% over the past few years, making it the second-biggest market, after the United States, for Starbucks. It says the criticisms are unfair. Local factors, such as a 15% import duty on roasted beans, help push up the price of a cup of coffee.