A great opening for the S&P, Warren Buffett's first tweet and a stiff sentence top our roundup of the morning's top business stories.
S&P 500 Tops 1,600
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index set a new record today, topping 1,600 following better-than-expected federal jobs numbers, Bloomberg News reports. A 0.6 percent gain pushed the S&P to 1,607.25 at 9:30 a.m. Copper surged 5.1 percent and zinc rose 1.1 percent. Treasury yields recovered from yesterday’s year low, rising to 1.7 percent.
Europe Faces Deepening Recession.
The European Commission has downgraded its forecast for the area’s economy, predicting growth will fall by 0.4 this year in a report issued today, Bloomberg News reports. In February, the commission had anticipated a 0.3 percent contraction.The euro-area economy shrank by 0.6 percent in 2012 and is headed for a historic second consecutive year of recession.The negative growth has push unemployment to crisis levels on the continent.
Inside Trader Receives 4 ½-Year Sentence
Todd Newman, the former Diamondback Capital Management portfolio manager, was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison on Thursday for insider trading in the stock of Dell Inc and Nvida Corp. He was ordered to forfeit $737,724 and to pay a $1 million fan. “This is a serious crime…that does have an impact across an economy and across a society,” announced U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan before imposing his sentence. Prosecutors had requested that Newman reimburse Diamondback as much as $12.9 million. Sullivan reserved judgment on the matter. The firm, which closed in December, was seeking $39 million to recoup costs from its ties to the investigation, which caused clients to withdraw nearly three-fourths of the more than $5 billion of assets it once managed. The firm also previously agreed to pay $9 million to settle civil charges, Reuters reported.
“Warren is in the House”
Bill Clinton isn’t the only newcomer to Twitter. Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, has signed on and within 10 minutes of his first tweet under @WarrenBuffett (“Warren is in the house”), attracted 10,000 followers. Three hours later, Reuters reports, more than 140,000 were following him. As for Buffett himself, was following no one after his first three hours on the social network. This weekend, Buffett will preside over Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha. The meeting is expected to attract more than 35,000 investors.
Shell CEO’s Tenure Runs Out of Gas
Peter Voser, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell will step down in the first half of 2014. Voser, 54, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and that he was seeking a “change in lifestyle,” the BBC reports. Voser was appointed chief executive in July 2009. Shell first quarter profits were up 3.5 percent from last year. Voser is widely credited for turning around the company, the BBC said, and the news came as a surprise to investors.
The Magic Has Gone Out of Bangladesh for Disney
The Walt Disney Company has stopped production of branded merchandise in Bangladesh, in response to the spate of fatal factory accidents last fall, CNN reports. The company directed vendors and licensees in March to transition production out of the “highest-risk countries” such as Bangladesh, which has been plagued by workplace disasters, including, most recently, the collapse of a factory building that killed more than 400 people. Last November, a fire at the Tazreen Fashions Factory in the capital city of Dhaka killed 112 people. Disney is also halting production in Ecuador, Venezuela, Belarus and Pakistan by April 2014.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.