Fed Cuts Bond Buys, Sees Growth Pickup (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would reduce its bond purchases to $45 billion a month and it was starting to see a growth pickup in recent weeks after a harsh winter that hit the U.S. economy. The Fed is effectively in watch, wait and plan mode. The $10 billion cut in monthly bond purchases, the fourth this year, was widely expected by investors and represents a continuation of the policy strategy laid out in the past few months by Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who took over in February, and former Chairman Ben Bernanke.
U.S. Economy Starts Year With a Whimper (WSJ)
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It marked the second-worst quarterly performance since the recession ended in mid-2009…Harsh weather likely slowed first-quarter business investment and discretionary consumer spending. It could have even blocked exports—which notched their sharpest decline since the recovery began—from reaching ports.
Moguls Winfrey, Geffen, Ellison Weigh Bid for Clippers (Bloomberg)
Winfrey, the former talk-show host turned network owner, is discussing a joint bid for the Clippers with fellow billionaires David Geffen, the ex-music industry executive, and Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Hall of Fame basketball player and part owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, said he was interested. “I will be owning an NBA team at some time,” Johnson said yesterday at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “It has to be the right situation. Is the Clippers the right situation? Of course, it’s one of the premier franchises. Despite what we think of him, he’s done a good job with the business,” Johnson said of team owner Donald Sterling. “So we’ll just have to see.”
Buffett Pressures Coca-Cola Over Executive Pay (WSJ)
Coca-Cola likely will revise its executive-compensation plan before it goes into effect next year, bowing to pressure from billionaire investor Warren Buffett, according to people familiar with the matter. The potential changes come as a surprise after voting shareholders approved Coke’s plan last week—and Mr. Buffett declined to vote against it. Mr. Buffett aired his reservations about the plan privately in recent weeks to Coke Chief Executive Muhtar Kent in three conversations, including at a dinner in Mr. Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Neb., according to some of the people familiar with the matter.
Accounting Group Taps Michael Bloomberg, Mary Schapiro (WSJ)
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, which sets voluntary accounting standards for publicly traded companies, is expected to announce the appointments Thursday. Mr. Bloomberg will serve as chair of its board and Ms. Schapiro as vice chair.
Mayor Rob Ford ‘ready to take a break’ (Toronto Sun)
Mayor Rob Ford says he’s “ready to take a break” from the mayoral election campaign to “go get help.” The decision to immediately step away from the campaign — while staying on the ballot — came after the Toronto Sun exclusively obtained a new raunchy audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing in an Etobicoke bar. The Globe and Mail also published a report that a new video surfaced of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking what has been described as crack-cocaine early Saturday morning. Ford told the Sun columnist Joe Warmington that he realizes “it’s time” and that he “wants” to “deal with his issues.” He said he is being urged to not leave the mayoral race by people around him. The audio recording, covertly taped by a patron of Sullie Gorman’s Monday night, captures the mayor being unruly as he’s ordering booze at the Royal York Rd. bar, complaining about his wife Renata and making lewd comments about mayoral contender Karen Stintz. “I’d like to f—–g jam her (Stintz), but she doesn’t want … I can’t talk like this…I’m so sorry,” Ford is heard saying on the recording. “I forgot there’s a woman in the house.” According to one witness, Ford was seen buying shooters and tequila and trying to fight with patrons Monday. “He was really wasted,” said the witness. “And he was acting like a real ass.” [...] The mayor said he didn’t recall saying any of the things on the recording, but confirmed he was at Sullie Gorman’s that night. “I wouldn’t say that — I wouldn’t say the word, ‘jam,’ — that’s not my terminology,” he said in a phone interview with Warmington Wednesday afternoon. “I am appalled (at what I said). I’d like to verify this (audio) first. Of course, I’m just joking around. Clearly, that’s what I mean.” [...] Ford is heard using threatening language: “Give me a shot right now or I’ll f—–g break your legs. I want another one.” A few moments later, he says, “If you don’t give me a shot I’m going to knock your f—–g teeth out.” Read more »