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Thursday, 29 January 2015


A ConocoPhillips gas station in Boulder, Colorado.

ConocoPhillips dividend squeeze tests 2012 split

29 January 2015

The $77 bln oil driller is more exposed than larger rivals to lower crude prices after ditching its refinery arm three years ago. That translates into a Q4 loss of $39 mln and big cuts in planned 2015 spending. Dividends will stay high for now, but growth may suffer as a result.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

U.S. insider trading cops risk pasting from bench

29 January 2015

Prosecutors’ aggressive view of the law has already irked appeals judges, and the Supreme Court may be next. A case on the definition of an illegal tip could give Justice Scalia his long-sought chance to rein in Wall Street watchdogs. Their loss would be a win for clearer rules.

The sun rises behind the entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.

Facebook investment largesse manageable - for now

28 January 2015

Boss Mark Zuckerberg splashed out so much on new projects that his firm’s Q4 operating margin fell by a third. But the social network’s top line grew 49 pct thanks to more users and mobile income. That’s a reasonable dynamic, assuming Zuckerberg is picking the right ventures.

U.S. Federal Reserve

Fed keeps head when all about are loosening theirs

28 January 2015

The U.S. central bank added a hint of “international” concern to its latest statement. Yet American growth is stronger than in markets where policymakers are easing further. The Fed is still poised to raise rates gradually – as long as overseas events don’t infect its home turf.

Ford logos are seen at the assembly line of a Ford car factory

Ford slowdown is more pit stop than problem

29 January 2015

The carmaker’s pre-tax margin slipped to just 4.3 pct in 2014 – and that excludes one-off hits. Revenue declined, too. Such dips are typical, though, when launching new models. Dealing with currency headwinds and autonomous vehicles will present a more enduring challenge.

A worker ties down a giant Ronald McDonald balloon after inflation for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

New McDonald's boss has the right ingredients

28 January 2015

Steve Easterbrook may be a veteran of the Golden Arches. But the company’s onetime Europe chief also spent two years running more hip UK chains PizzaExpress and then Wagamama. That’s the experience McDonald’s needs to adapt to changing consumer tastes and revive sales.

Petrobras P-56 semi-submersible production platform

Petrobras will test even Brazil's believers

28 January 2015

Long-delayed results by the $50 bln state oil giant failed to include an audit or scandal-related writedowns. The festering problem casts a cloud over national reforms by Finance Minister Joaquim Levy, who impressed the Davos crowd. Petrobras bonds, however, may be worth a look.