Thirteen of Europe's 130's biggest banks have flunked the European Central Bank's stress-test. Read about this and more of the morning's top business news stories.
ECB Flunks 13 European Banks
The European Central Bank reports 13 of Europe's 130 biggest banks have flunked an in-depth review of their finances and must increase their capital buffers against losses by $12.5 billion. The banks have two weeks to tell the ECB how they plan to increase their capital buffers, USA TODAY reports. The 13 banks include Greece's Eurobank and National Bank of Greece, Cyprus' Hellenic Bank of Cyprus, Ireland’s Permanent TSB, and Portugal’s Banco Comercial Portugues, Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banca Carige, Banca Popolare di Milano and Banco Popolare di Vicenza. Franco-Belgian Dexia, Austria's Oesterreichischer Volksbank Verbund, and Slovenia's Nova Ljubljanska Banka and Nova Kreditna. In all, 25 banks were found to need stronger buffers in case of a financial crisis, but 12 have already made up their shortfalls during the months in which ECB’s review was conducted.
Pending Home Sales Steady in September
Pending home sales rose slightly in September and are now above year-over-year levels for first time in almost a year, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The Pending Home Sales Index, an indicator based on contract signings, edged upward 0.3 percent to 105 in September from 104.7 the previous month, and is now 1 percent higher than September 2013. This is the fifth consecutive month the index is above 100. The biggest barrier to buying a home, the highest percentage (roughly 15 percent) of surveyed realtors said, was tight credit conditions.
“Ouija” Scares Up $20 Million in Opening Weekend
Long in development, Ouija, based on the spirit board game from Hasbro, was the No. 1 movie at the box office in its opening weekend, scaring up $20 million. “John Wicke,” a revenge actioner starring Keanu Reeves, was ruuner-up with $14 million. Rolling in at No. 3 was “Fury” with $13 million. Far from gone, “Gone Girl” came in at No. 4 with $11. Rounding out the top five is the critically acclaimed new animated film, “The Book of Life” with $9.8 million.
Price of Gas Continues to Drop
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the average for regular grade gas is $3.08 per gallon, a drop of 18 cents per gallon in the last two weeks. Mid-grade averages $3.31 and premium $3.47. Retail diesel averages $3.67. Lundberg said that gas price have dropped 65 cents since its peak in May and is 29 cents below what it was at this time a year ago. In the Lower 48 states, San Francisco had the highest average price at $3.45 per gallon, while Memphis, Tenn., had the lowest average at $2.73.
CVS Won’t Accept Apple Pay
Pharmacy chain CVS Health announced over the weekend it wouldn’t accept payments made through the recently launched Apple Pay system. Other chains who have not adopted the new system include Rite Aid, Walmart, Best Buy and Target. The issue, USA TODAY reports is a conflct between Apple Pay and a mobile payment system called CurrentC that is being developed by a retailer-owned mobile technology company called Merchant Customer Exchange. Walmart and Best Boy are two companies who are partners in MCX. The advantage of CurrentC is that it works with existing checkout terminals, while Apple Pay requires that most retailers purchase new equipment to communicate with the NFC chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Salesforce Making Healthcare Bid
Reuters reports exclusively that San Francisco-based Salesforce Inc. is ramping up its investment in healthcare in its bid to carve out a $1 billion annual business. This would represent about a fifth of its current annual sales. The company expects to make inroads “despite entrenched competition and its own false starts in the sector,” sources told Reuters. A LinkedIn search shows Salesforce has recruited over a dozen people from the health and medical device sectors. The company will reportedly reveal more about its plans in November.