FCC Chair: White House Called About Sinclair-Tribune Deal
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency, said Thursday that a White House official called to talk about a proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Tribune Media Co.
Ajit Pai told a Senate panel that Don McGahn, the White House counsel, called for a “status update” on the agency’s action on the deal.
He said McGahn “saw something in the news and wanted to know what our decision was,” but did not express an opinion.
The call came July 16 or 17, Pai said. Pai on July 16 had expressed “serious concerns” about the merger.
A White House official on Thursday confirmed that the call took place, but would not discuss substance of the call.
Tribune scrapped the deal on Aug. 9 and the company is now suing Sinclair.
President Donald Trump tweeted that FCC’s “disgraceful” action scuttled what would have been a “much needed” conservative voice among the “fake news” media.
World’s Biggest Shipping Company Cautions on Trade Tensions
Danish shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk says it swung to a profit in the second quarter but cautioned about uncertainty related to global trade amid U.S. sanctions on major economies.
Second-quarter revenue grew 24 percent to $9.5 billion, leading to a $26-million profit, compared with a $264-million loss a year earlier.
CEO Soeren Skou said Friday the company delivered “strong growth,” with the acquisition of German container shipping company Hamburg Sud “a positive contributor.” Profits were helped by higher bunker prices.
The Copenhagen-based group said full-year guidance “continues to be subject to uncertainties,” including further restrictions on global trade.
Maersk also decided to spin off its drilling unit, Maersk Drilling Holding A/S, and list it separately in Copenhagen. Shares in the parent company were up 4 percent to 8,966 kroner.
More Than 1,000 Google Workers Protest Censored China Search
More than a thousand Google employees have signed a letter protesting the company’s secretive plan to build a search engine that would comply with Chinese censorship.
The letter calls on executives to review ethics and transparency at the company.
The letter’s contents were confirmed by a Google employee who helped organize it but who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the debate.
The letter says employees lack the information required “to make ethically informed decisions about our work” and complains that most employees only found out about the project — nicknamed Dragonfly — through media reports.
The letter is similar to one thousands of employees had signed in protest of Project Maven, a U.S. military contract that Google decided in June not to renew.
Deere 3Q Fiscal Earnings top $910M
Deere & Co. (DE) on Friday reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $910.3 million.
On a per-share basis, the Moline, Illinois-based company said it had profit of $2.78. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains, were $2.59 per share.
The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.77 per share.
The agricultural equipment manufacturer posted revenue of $10.31 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $9.29 billion, beating Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $9.17 billion.
Deere shares have fallen 12 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 6 percent. The stock has risen 8.5 percent in the last 12 months.
US Rig Count Remains at 1,057; Texas Gains 3 Rigs
The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. held steady at 1,057 this week.
At this time a year ago there were 946 active rigs.
Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 869 rigs drilled for oil this week and 186 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.
Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained three rigs, Louisiana and Pennsylvania each increased by two and Oklahoma added one.
New Mexico lost three rigs and Alaska, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming each decreased by one.
Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Dakota and Utah were unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May 2016 at 404.
Nordstrom Fiscal 2Q Net Income Hits $162M
Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) on Thursday reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $162 million.
On a per-share basis, the Seattle-based company said it had profit of 95 cents.
The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 83 cents per share.
The department store operator posted revenue of $4.07 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $3.99 billion.
Nordstrom expects full-year earnings to be $3.50 to $3.65 per share, with revenue in the range of $15.4 billion to $15.5 billion.
Nordstrom shares have risen 10 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 6 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $52.11, an increase of 17 percent in the last 12 months.
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