A global financial body says governments worldwide must establish rules for virtual currencies like bitcoin to stop criminals from using them to launder money or finance terrorism.
The Financial Action Task Force said Friday that from next year it will start assessing whether countries are doing enough to fight criminal use of virtual currencies.
Countries that don’t could risk being effectively put on a “gray list” by the FATF, which can scare away investors.
Marshall Billingslea, an assistant U.S. Treasury secretary who holds the FATF’s rotating leadership, said, “We’ve made clear today that every jurisdiction must establish” virtual currency rules. “It’s no longer optional.”
The FATF described how the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have used virtual currencies.
Financial regulators worldwide have struggled to deal with the rise of electronic alternatives to traditional money.
US home sales fell in September to slowest pace in 3 years
U.S. home sales fell for the sixth straight month in September, a sign that housing has become a weak spot for the economy.
The National Association of Realtors says sales declined 3.4 percent last month, the biggest drop in 2 ½ years, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million. That’s the lowest sales pace since November 2015.
Hurricane Florence dragged sales in North Carolina, but even excluding the storm’s effects, sales would fallen more than 2 percent. Sales of existing homes have declined steadily in the past year amid rapid price increases, higher mortgage rates and a tight supply of available houses.
Sales fell 4.1 percent in September from a year ago. The drop may worsen in the coming months as mortgage rates have kept rising.
Global Government Body Warns Iran on Terrorism Financing
A global financial watchdog Force has given Iran until February to crack down on terrorism funding or risk deeper economic isolation.
The Financial Action Task Force said Friday it would effectively blacklist Iran if it doesn’t fulfill 10 promises made to pass and enforce laws against financing terrorist groups.
Iran has long-provided support to the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group and Palestinian armed groups, which Western countries view as terrorist organizations.
Worried about renewed U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran’s parliament voted this month to join a global convention against terror financing, but the bill hasn’t been ratified yet.
The FATF, an intergovernmental group based in Paris, gave Iran four more months to comply. If it doesn’t, the FATF could take measures further discouraging or hindering foreign investment in Iran.
P&G Profit Jumps 12%, Beating Forecasts
Sales of beauty products helped stabilize Procter & Gamble’s revenue during the first quarter and boost profit.
Profit for the world’s largest consumer products maker jumped 12 percent to $3.2 billion, or $1.22 per share. Revenue remained flat at $16.69 billion, with a 20 percent surge in beauty product sales offsetting lagging sales in other departments.
The stable sales and a gain from the dissolution of a partnership with Teva helped push overall profit higher.
Shares rose $3.92, or 4.9 percent, to $84.16 in premarket trading.
Stripping out one-time gains and costs, earnings were $1.12 per share, topping Wall Street expectations by 3 cents per share. Revenue also beat Street forecasts.
Fabric and home care products remained the company’s biggest moneymaker, with a 2 percent boost in sales to $5.49 billion. Baby, feminine and family care product sales fell 3 percent to $4.39 billion.
Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its outlook for 2019 of earnings per share growth between 3 and 8 percent.
P&G shares have dropped 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased nearly 4 percent. The stock has dropped 14 percent in the last 12 months.
Schlumberger: 3Q Earnings Snapshot
Schlumberger NV (SLB) on Friday reported third-quarter net income of $644 million.
The The Hague, Netherlands-based company said it had profit of 46 cents per share.
The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 45 cents per share.
The world’s largest oilfield services company posted revenue of $8.5 billion in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Ten analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $8.59 billion.
Schlumberger shares have declined 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased almost 4 percent. The stock has decreased 11 percent in the last 12 months.
American Express: 3Q Earnings Snapshot
American Express Co. (AXP) on Thursday reported third-quarter net income of $1.62 billion.
The New York-based company said it had net income of $1.88 per share.
The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.78 per share.
The credit card issuer and global payments company posted revenue of $10.14 billion in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.03 billion.
American Express expects full-year earnings in the range of $7.30 to $7.40 per share.
American Express shares have increased nearly 4 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed almost 4 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $102.85, an increase of 12 percent in the last 12 months.
StarKist Admits Fixing Tuna Prices, Faces $100M Fine
Authorities say StarKist has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing as part of a broad collusion investigation of the canned tuna industry.
Federal prosecutors announced the plea agreement Thursday and said the company faces a fine up to $100 million. Bumble Bee Foods last year pleaded guilty to the same charge and paid a $25 million fine.
Chicken of the Sea has not been charged because prosecutors say the company exposed the scheme and cooperated with the investigation.
Two former Bumble Bee executives and a former StarKist executive also each pleaded guilty to price-fixing charges.
Former Bumble Bee chief executive Christopher Lischewski has pleaded not guilty to a price fixing charge.
The three companies are accused of conspiring to keep canned tuna prices artificially high between 2010 and 2013.
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