Standard Chartered Seeks To Steady Ship (WSJ)
Standard Chartered PLC on Wednesday cheered investors by saying it has no plans to sell new shares but laid out a bleak view for future growth after profit fell sharply in 2014. Chief Executive Peter Sands , who is stepping down in June, said the bank would boost its capital strength this year by selling businesses and severing ties with some low-return clients, making it unnecessary to launch a share sale as some shareholders have feared.
Premature to talk about third Greek bailout: EU's Juncker (Reuters)
"We are going to focus on implementing what was agreed in the Eurogroup," Juncker told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "It is premature to talk about a third programme. That is speculation that is best avoided." Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Wednesday that Greece was unlikely to be able to return to capital markets by June, when an extension of its bailout expires, so it will probably need further support from European partners.
Private Equity Payouts Leave the Rest of Wall St. in the Dust (Dealbook)
The big private equity firms were able to generate large amounts of cash last year by selling their holdings during a buoyant stock market, providing hefty payouts to their founders. Henry R. Kravis, a co-founder of K.K.R., received about $220 million. Leon D. Black, the chief executive and co-founder of Apollo, took in $331 million. The bulk of these payouts came in the form of dividends, or “distributions” in private equity parlance. Mr. Schwarzman, for example, received $570.5 million of distributions on his 45 percent stake in Blackstone’s partnership shares. But the private equity chieftains stand out not only for the size of their earnings. They also stand out for the way they pay taxes. While Mr. Blankfein and other bank chief executives are taxed at ordinary rates on their salaries and bonuses, Mr. Schwarzman and his rivals pay the 23.8 percent federal capital gains tax rate on the bulk of their earnings. This is because most private equity profit derives from income on the firm’s investments, a source known as carried interest, or carry.
Vanguard and BlackRock Plan to Get More Assertive With Their Investments (WSJ)
Vanguard is urging boards to be “substantially independent of management” and warns that it won’t sit idly by on corporate-governance issues, according to a letter from its chief executive sent to several hundred public companies over the past two days. Meanwhile, BlackRock, in newly revised voting guidelines, signaled for the first time that it may oppose U.S. board members’ re-election over issues such as overly lengthy tenures and poor attendance even over short periods, or if it feels a board’s makeup is insufficiently diverse.
Man who posted flyers looking for a girlfriend reveals he has had 118 ‘hook-ups’ so far (NewsAU)
...when New Yorker Dan Perino wanted to settle down amid Manhattan’s brutal dating scene, he took an inventive approach. The actor and part-time web designer made a flyer with his picture and contact details along with the words “looking for a girlfriend” and “this is not a joke” and plastered it across his local neighbourhood. Now six months on, the 51-year-old has become a national celebrity and posted more than 40,000 pictures of his face around New York, in an unusual approach to dating that has seen him score hundreds of dates and 118 ‘hook-ups’ so far. “It’s been going great” he told news.com.au. “I’ve had ... hook-ups with 118 girls, but the dating is a lot more than that.” And in case you’re wondering what ‘hook-ups’ means, Perino was blunt: “sex”.
Lumber Liquidators rallies after analyst calls fears ‘overblown’ (NYP)
The stock plunged 25 percent Monday following a CBS news report that the company’s flooring made in China tested for high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. “It didn’t highlight victims, had no feed back from regulators and relied on anonymous Chinese factory workers making accusatory statements,” Janney analyst David Strasser wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. He raised his rating to “buy” from “neutral” and kept his price target of $47. The stock closed Monday at $38.83 — its lowest level in two years — following a string of setbacks for the company.
Fed's Evans, citing low inflation, wants no rate hikes until 2016 (Reuters)
"Given uncomfortably low inflation and an uncertain global environment, there are few benefits and significant risks to increasing interest rates prematurely," Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Rotary Club. "I think we should be patient in raising interest rates."
China Corruption Crackdown Deals Macau a Rough Hand (WSJ)
The slump at the world’s biggest casino hub deepened in February as gambling revenue in Macau plunged 49% from a year earlier, rocked by China’s crackdown on corruption. The drop to 19.54 billion patacas ($2.45 billion) marks the ninth-straight month of shrinking revenue in the Chinese territory. February’s slide eclipsed a previous record drop in December, when it declined 30%.
Teacher who told pupil 'I shagged your maw' is struck off register (STV)
Michael Rankin, a former youth coach with Greenock Morton, has been struck off for a string of offensive outbursts at pupils. He told a pupil at Ardrossan Academy in Ayrshire that he "shagged" his "maw". Rankin also said: "Every time I shag your mum, she makes me a sandwich – that’s why I’m fat." The technology teacher was proved to have repeatedly used inappropriate language in front of pupils as young as 13 in 2012 and 2013. He was hauled in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and has now been struck off after a hearing. The panel ruled that Rankin will not be able to apply for re-registration as a teacher due to the "seriousness of the conduct"...While watching a sex scene in the film Bend it like Beckham where a car bounces up and down, Rankin told another pupil: “That’s me and your mum in the back.” The same student said Rankin also said: "You can give this present of a mirror to your mum but I already gave her a present last night."