What next for the Fed's stimulus program? Investors are expecting a sign this week. Read about this in our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
Stocks Decline in Advance of Fed Meeting
July is going out like a lamb, market-wise, as Stocks fell on Monday in advance of this week’s closely-watched Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting that will conclude Wednesday with a report on the Fed’s first estimate of U.S. economic growth for the second quarter. Wary investors will be scrutinizing the statement for an indication on the Fed’s actions concerning its stimulus program. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.86 points, at 15,521.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 6.32 points at 1,685.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 14.02 points at 3,599.14. Investors will also be watching the July jobs report, another key market report. A Reuters poll of economists on July 22 forecasts September as the most likely time for the Fed to begin tapering its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.
Hudson’s Bay Adds Saks to Its Shopping List
Hudson's Bay Co., Canada’s biggest department store chain, operator of department store chains Lord & Taylor in the United States and The Bay in Canada, said Monday it would buy luxury retailer Saks for about $2.4 billion. The acquisition would create a “North American upscale retailing behemoth,” Reuters reports, that combines the Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor and the more upscale Saks Fifth Avenue brands. The 320 stores will be located in some of the biggest and most populous U.S. and Canadian cities. In the latest fiscal year, Saks reported annual revenue of $3.15 billion, up more than 4 percent from the previous year but still below the $3.28 billion in the year ended in January 2008. Saks' net income fell nearly 16 percent to $62.8 million in the latest year, Reuters reports.
JPMorgan Chase & Co Charged with Market Manipulation
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in an enforcement notice Monday that New York-based JP Morgan Chase & Co manipulated electricity prices in California and the Midwest in 2010 and 2011, The Associated Press reports. The notice could be a prelude to a settlement Tuesday with the largest U.S. bank, which is expected to pay around $400 million to end the investigation, according to reports. The energy regulators accuse JP Morgan & Chase Co’s Houston-based subsidiary, JPMorgan Ventures energy Corp of using “manipulative bidding strategies” to squeeze excessive payments from the agencies that run the power grids in California and the Midwest, AP reports.
Third-quarter U.S. Government Borrowing Down
The Treasury Department said Monday the U.S. Government expects to borrow $209 billion in the third quarter, approximately $14 billion below previous forecasts. The Treasury reported an assumed end-of-September cash balance of $95 billion. A projection from May said the government would borrow $223 billion in the third quarter, but payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allowed for a higher cash balance. For the fourth quarter, Treasury projects borrowing of $2134 billion and a cash balance of $80 billion.
NLRB Says Employers Cannot Limit Employees on Social Media
A recent memo from the National Labor Relations Board states that restrictive social media policy by an employer can be a violation of federal labor laws. Law360.com obtained the memo, which related specifically to a grocery store chain which blocked workers from taking photos or videos of the store premises and posting them on-line. The memo stated that social media communication is an extension of the rights of employees to discuss their workplace conditions outside of the office and cannot be infringed upon by the employer. The NLRB refused to comment about the memo.
JetBlue Reports Drop in Second-Quarter Income
JetBlue Airways Tuesday reported that second-quarter income dropped from last year’s total of $52 million to $36 million this year, missing Wall Street expectations. CEO Dave Barger said the sluggish economy and continuing maintenance costs affected his company’s second quarter returns. The average fare during the period dropped about $2 each way. JetBlue shares fell 17 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $6.48 in trading before Tuesday's opening. Revenue rose 4.5 percent, to $1.34 billion, but analysts expected $1.35 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.