Archive for September, 2010

Stock index futures dip ahead of payrolls (Reuters)

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 | Finance News

(Reuters) – Stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.21 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.17 percent and Nasdaq100 futures flat at 0725 GMT (3:25 a.m. ET).

The Labor Department is due to release the August employment report at 1230 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast 100,000 jobs were lost in the month compared with 131,000 lost in July. The unemployment rate is seen at 9.6 percent, compared with a 9.5 percent rate in the prior month.

The nonfarm payrolls will probably show a hit from a combination of the fading boost from census hiring, a reluctance by firms to add staff and relentless layoffs at cash-strapped state and local governments.

Economic indicators on tap for Friday also include the Institute for Supply Management's services sector report, while on the earnings front, Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) is the only S&P 500 company scheduled to post quarterly results Friday.

Tech shares will be in focus after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), the world's No.2 handset maker, expects to sell up to 25 million smartphones this year, exceeding its earlier target, and aims to double shipments next year, media reports said on Friday.

On the M&A front, Canada's Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) agreed to buy gold miner Andean Resources Ltd (AND.TO) for $3.2 billion, trumping a competing offer from rival Eldorado Gold Corp (ELD.TO) (EAU.AX).

BP Plc (BP.L)(BP.N) said on Friday the cost of dealing with its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had risen to $8 billion and that it was a fortnight away from sealing the well for good.

Video game maker Take-Two Interactive Inc (TTWO.O) on Thursday smashed Wall Street expectations for its fiscal third quarter and raised its forecast for the current fourth quarter, citing strong sales for its "Red Dead Redemption" title. Shares of Take-Two traded in Frankfurt (TTWO.F) were up 18 percent.

H&R Block Inc (HRB.N) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss as the No. 1 U.S. tax preparer cut costs in the face of stiff competition from Intuit Inc (INTU.O) and said it expects to sell about 150 more offices before the next tax season.

European shares were up 0.2 percent in morning trade, while Tokyo's Nikkei average rose 0.6 percent, as more positive data reassured investors about the health of the global economic recovery.

U.S. stocks rose on low volume on Thursday as data showed improvement in housing and the job market a day ahead of the critical monthly payrolls figures. The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) added 50.63 points, or 0.49 percent, to 10,320.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) rose 9.81 points, or 0.91 percent, to 1,090.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) gained 23.17 points, or 1.06 percent, to close at 2,200.01.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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‘Crocodile Dundee’ to return to US amid tax fray (AP)

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 | Finance News

SYDNEY – Actor Paul Hogan, star of the "Crocodile Dundee" movie trilogy, has been cleared to return home to the United States after he was barred last month from leaving Australia because of a disputed tax bill, his lawyer said Friday.

The 70-year-old Australian-born actor, who currently lives in Los Angeles, arrived in Sydney on Aug. 20 to attend his mother's funeral and was served with an Australian Taxation Office order barring him from leaving Australia until he settles a multimillion dollar tax bill, lawyer Andrew Robinson said last week.

On Friday, Robinson said after a "cordial and cooperative" meeting between Hogan's lawyers and tax officials, an agreement was reached that will allow Hogan to return to the U.S.

"While the Commissioner and Mr. Hogan remain in dispute on more general taxation issues, Mr. Hogan continues to protest his innocence and denies any wrongdoing," Robinson said in a statement.

The tax office refuses to comment due to a policy of not discussing individual cases.

Australian tax and crime investigators have fought Hogan in a five-year legal battle in Australian and U.S. courts to investigate evidence he used offshore bank accounts to conceal earnings after his low-budget "Crocodile Dundee" movie became an international hit in 1986.

Hogan has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with tax evasion.

In an interview Tuesday with the television show "A Current Affair," Hogan said he couldn't disclose the exact bill for legal reasons, but said he was unable to afford even 10 percent of it.

"I actually came out here at the request of the Australian Crime Commission at my own time and expense to assist them with their inquires," he said in the interview. "If I was a tax evader, which I'm not, I must be the dumbest one in the world, because they gave me five years notice that they have seized every piece of paper that my tax advisers and lawyers and accountants have ever had. I kept coming back here."

Hogan lives in Los Angeles with his wife, "Crocodile Dundee" co-star Linda Kozlowski, and their 12-year-old son Chance.

The actor shot to fame in the U.S. after he appeared in an Australian tourism TV ad in the mid 1980s, in which he cheerfully offered to "slip an extra shrimp on the barbie."

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BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill costs hit $8 billion (Reuters)

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 | Finance News

LONDON (Reuters) – BP Plc said on Friday the cost of dealing with its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had risen to $8 billion and that it was two weeks away from sealing the well for good.

BP also indicated that there had been no major uptick in the amount of money being handed out to those affected by the spill, under the new independent compensation system, established in a deal with the White House.

On average, since August 23, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, a $20 billion fund headed by former government pay Czar Ken Feinberg, paid out around $3.5 million per day, broadly in line with the amount paid before BP handed over responsibility for administering claims.

Some investors had feared Feinberg could take a more generous approach to paying out damages.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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