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VIENNA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A Vienna court on Thursday handed lengthy sentences, including life in prison, to four of six men accused of helping a jihadist prepare a deadly shooting rampage in 2020. While police said the gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, who held Austrian and North Macedonian nationality, carried out the attack alone, the six defendants were accused of providing help beforehand. Two others received sentences of 20 and 19 years, the court said in a statement. The second defendant sentenced to life was Heydayatollah Z, 28, who lived with the attacker for weeks before the attack. The two defendants with the mildest sentences accepted the ruling, the court said, Of the remaining four, three plan to appeal and the other is considering it, added.
Donald Trump’s 2024 Campaign Fundraising Starts Slowly
  + stars: | 2023-02-01 | by ( Chad Day | Alex Leary | )   time to read: 1 min
Former President Donald Trump’s campaign started the year with about $6.8 million in cash on hand as he began his third run for the White House, new campaign finance reports show. Mr. Trump, the only declared major party presidential candidate of the 2024 election cycle, raised about $9.5 million in the roughly six weeks between the Nov. 15 launch of his campaign and the end of last year, according to the reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission and a campaign official.
Corporate finance executives looking to cut their debt costs this year are likely to find one popular tool isn’t as attractive as it was when the Federal Reserve was aggressively raising interest rates in 2022. Under a cross-currency swap, a company exchanges principal and interest payments on its debt into another currency. Swaps can lose their appeal to companies when the gap between interest rates in two countries, or central banks, narrows. Corporate advisers said they expect cross-currency swap volumes to decline in the months ahead, assuming market expectations for future rate increases hold steady. That rule made it easier for companies to use cross-currency swaps and recognize the interest savings on their financial statements.
WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched President Biden’s former office at a Washington think tank for classified documents in November, people familiar with the matter said, shortly after his aides earlier that month found such material and surrendered it to the National Archives. The search came after Mr. Biden’s lawyers agreed to let agents search his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, where aides on Nov. 2 discovered roughly a dozen documents marked classified. It couldn’t be determined whether investigators found any additional items in the search, which was reported earlier by CBS News.
Tuesday's filings with the Federal Election Commission suggest that Trump's fundraising was also sluggish, leaving him with a far smaller war chest than the more than $100 million Save America had on hand through early 2022. But the Save America group that served as his main fundraising arm was registered to fund other campaigns, not Trump's own. Last year Save America transferred some $60 million to a pro-Trump Super PAC group which is expected to support his presidential run. He also faces a series of legal risks, including a possible investigation into hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Most of that money was raised through another Trump fundraising group called the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which reported having an additional $3.8 million in the bank at the end of the year.
India's finance minister will present the annual budget to parliament on Wednesday. Bloomberg | Getty ImagesIndia's finance minister will present the annual budget to parliament on Wednesday. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the final full-year budget before the next general elections in 2024. Analysts expect the government to focus on continued fiscal consolidation for this year's budget, despite challenges. Nirmala Sitharaman, India's finance minister, speaks during a news conference at the National Media Center in New Delhi, India, on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.
A mutual fund led by a gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer is rare enough, but Joe Hudepohl's Eaton Vance Atlanta Capital Focused Growth is also outperforming the stock market over the past five years. Maybe it's the former athlete's discipline and slavish devotion to patient training that's helping Focused Growth earn handsome long-run returns. " But despite falling 20.4% last year, the Focused Growth fund still enjoys a five-year annual trailing return of 13.97%, according to Morningstar. One of those long-time holdings is health technology company Danaher , which Focused Growth (EAALX) first bought in 2011, according to Morningstar. Morningstar rates the fund with five stars despite its 1.03% expense ratio, and says Focused Growth lands in the second percentile of more than 1,000 large growth funds for its five-year performance.
U.S. Secret Service agents are seen in front of Joe Biden's Rehoboth Beach, Del., home on Jan. 12, 2021. The FBI is conducting a planned search of President Joe Biden's Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home as part of its investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents. The planned, consensual visit is the first publicly known time that the FBI conducted a search of the Rehoboth residence. The FBI searched the think tank office in mid-November after Biden's personal lawyers first found classified records there on Nov. 2. The FBI searched Biden's Wilmington home on Jan. 20.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is cozying up with GOP leadership after two years of being an outsider. Two years later, under Republican leadership, she's angling herself into positions of power. It's clear she's learned valuable lessons from two of her GOP colleagues, Rep. Lauren Boebert and former Rep. Madison Cawthorn. In spite of this, Gingrich ultimately gained prominence among the GOP, becoming the Republican whip and later speaker of the House. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia takes a selfie with Kevin McCarthy after his election as speaker of the House.
The bank said this did not mean that foreign currency deposits were necessarily flowing from Russian banks to foreign ones, however, as some deposits were converted into roubles or used to buy real estate. Deposits held abroad by Russians have been on the rise since Moscow launched what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, with hundreds of thousands choosing to emigrate. According to the central bank's monthly statistics, the biggest inflow of deposits to foreign banks was recorded in September last year at more than $9 billion, the month when Moscow launch a partial mobilisation of troops. Banks' foreign currency loan portfolios shrank by 18.2% in 2022, the central bank said this week, or by $30.2 billion, as Moscow's 'dedollarisation' push accelerated. ($1 = 70.1455 roubles)Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Alexander MarrowOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
John Malone prepares for a victory lap
  + stars: | 2023-02-01 | by ( Jeffrey Goldfarb | )   time to read: +7 min
Now the cable cowboy’s Liberty Media (FWONA.O) empire is trotting out its trademark financial razzle-dazzle to try and wring additional value out of its assets. Malone, Liberty Media’s chairman, is as renowned for his dizzying array of specialized equity issues, spinoffs and splits as he is for the telecom and entertainment companies that have been subjected to the intricate machinations. It excludes broadcaster Discovery, spun off from Liberty Media in 2005, and international broadband provider Liberty Global (LBTYA.O), hived off a year earlier. A more logical starting point would be 2001, when Malone carved Liberty Media out of telecom giant AT&T (T.N). Likewise, Liberty Media’s accompanying shakeup of its tracking stocks stands to further spotlight the value of Formula One.
One of the more senior brokers told me that the most important lesson I could learn about the stock market was – drumroll, please – "Buy low. By the second week in March, the S & P 500 had dropped 12% and the Nasdaq Composite had fallen about 20%. In mid-June, the S & P had sunk 23.4% from its Jan. 3 peak of 4,796, and the Nasdaq had collapsed more than 30%. On Oct. 12, the S & P closed at 3,577, down 25.4% from its peak. Since the market low in October, about half of the cohort has climbed 20%.
The firm loaned Bed Bath & Beyond $375 million last year. The chain has said it is closing 87 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and five buybuy BABY stores, in addition to 150 closures announced last year. Bed Bath & Beyond said last week it defaulted on a loan, bringing it closer to bankruptcy. Sources have also told Reuters that Bed Bath & Beyond is considering skipping debt payments due on Feb. 1, a typical move that distressed companies take to conserve cash. Bed Bath & Beyond reported a loss of about $393 million after sales plunged 33% for the quarter ending Nov. 26.
Morning Bid: Mind the gap
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
The IMF cited "surprisingly resilient" demand in the United States and Europe, easing of energy costs and the reopening of China's economy. Still, it would be wise for investors to be mindful of a gap between expectations and reality. Flash GDP numbers are due from the euro zone, along with growth data for France and Italy. The Bank of England is set to raise rates by 50 bps to 4.0%, respectively. Money market bets show that the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to raise its policy rate by 25 basis points to 4.50%-4.75% on Wednesday.
"Samsung, in a roundabout way, is saying production will decrease slightly," said analyst Kim Yang-jae at Daol Investment and Securities. CHIP PROFIT TUMBLESEarlier on Tuesday, Samsung reported its lowest quarterly profit since 2014 and said persistent macroeconomic uncertainty will make for a tough first half of this year, though it expects demand to start recovering in the second half. At 4.3 trillion won ($3.49 billion), October-December operating profit was Samsung's lowest quarterly profit in eight years. Some analysts expect the chip business to book a loss in the first quarter, pulling overall profit below that of the fourth. In mobile, Samsung said fourth-quarter profit fell to 1.7 trillion won from 2.66 trillion won a year earlier, as a decline in low- and mid-end smartphone sales was greater than expected.
The 8.4 trillion yuan ($1.24 trillion) decrease in profits in 2022 followed a 34.3% rise in 2021. Frequent and widespread COVID disruptions hit production at industrial firms, hurting both supply and demand sides and putting huge upward pressure on costs, said Bruce Pang, chief economist at Jones Lang Lasalle. In 2022, profits at foreign firms slumped 9.5%, while those at private-sector firms shrank 7.2%, NBS data showed. Industrial profits data covers firms with annual revenue above 20 million yuan from their main operations. Liabilities at industrial firms rose 8.6% in 2022 from a year earlier, compared with 9.0% growth as of end-November.
The firm loaned Bed Bath & Beyond $375 million last year. The chain has said it is closing 87 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and five buybuy BABY stores, in addition to 150 closures announced last year. Bed Bath & Beyond said last week it defaulted on a loan, bringing it closer to bankruptcy. Sources have also told Reuters that Bed Bath & Beyond is considering skipping debt payments due on Feb. 1, a typical move that distressed companies take to conserve cash. Bed Bath & Beyond reported a loss of about $393 million after sales plunged 33% for the quarter ending Nov. 26.
At 4.3 trillion won ($3.49 billion), October-December operating profit was Samsung's lowest quarterly profit in eight years. Revenue fell 8% to 70.5 trillion won. Some analysts expect the chip business to book a loss in the first quarter, pulling overall profit below that of the fourth. Memory chip rivals Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and SK Hynix Inc (000660.KS) had already said they would slash investment in 2023. Investors will be watching for whether Samsung avoids mentioning a direct chip production cut - as is its usual stance - or rather gives a clear signal of production cuts given the severity of the memory chip down-cycle.
Samsung Electronics' Q4 profit falls 69% as device demand drops
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
[1/2] Samsung signage is seen in a store in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., Nov. 22, 2021. The world's biggest maker of memory chips and smartphones said October-December operating profit fell to 4.3 trillion won ($3.49 billion), its lowest quarterly profit in eight years, from 13.87 trillion won a year earlier. That compared with the company's own estimate of 4.3 trillion won earlier this month. Revenue fell 8% to 70.5 trillion won. ($1 = 1,232.6000 won)Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Christopher CushingOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
But Mr. Musk’s Twitter feed is often an echo chamber. 48 hours of Elon Musk’s tweets Circles representing Musk’s tweets are sized by the total retweets, likes, replies and quote tweets in response to what he posted. A chart of Mr. Musk’s original tweets, replies and quote tweets over a two-day period in November. A website tracking Mr. Musk’s private jet movement suggested that he traveled away from San Francisco around that time. Shareholders are now also seeking billions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit after Mr. Musk’s takeover proposal never materialized.
Cash is king in Lebanon as banks atrophy
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( Maya Gebeily | )   time to read: +4 min
SummarySummary Companies Cash economy replaces once lauded-banking sector'Impossible' for state to collect taxes in cash economy - traderWest frets over money laundering, terrorism finance - diplomatCHTAURA, Lebanon, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The money exchange shop in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley was buzzing with business. Cash is now king in Lebanon, where a three-year economic meltdown has led the country's once-lauded financial sector to atrophy. Even the largely paralysed Lebanese state is moving towards the cash economy: the finance ministry has considered requiring traders to pay newly-increased customs tariffs partly in cash. Paul Abi Nasr, CEO of a textile company, said the cash economy made it "practically impossible" to enforce taxes "because everything can simply stay outside of the banks". "The transformation to a cash economy means the collapse of the economy," said Mohammad Chamseddine, an economic expert at Lebanese research group Information International.
FBI agents searched the office President Joe Biden used after his vice presidency in Washington, D.C., in mid-November after his lawyers first discovered classified documents there earlier that month, two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News. Biden's personal lawyers said Justice Department investigators found more than half a dozen additional documents, some marked classified, in the search. The documents discovered range from his Senate tenure to his time as vice president under former President Barack Obama. Former President Donald Trump is also facing a special counsel investigation for failing to turn over classified documents. Last week, it was also reported that Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, also had classified documents in his home in Indiana.
Morning Bid: 'Soft landing' or 'no landing'?
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( )   time to read: +5 min
As U.S. Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee kicks off its two-day policymaking meeting, the economic news from around the world brightened considerably. China's economic activity swung back to growth in January after three months of contraction, according to official business surveys released on Tuesday. The euro zone economy confounded forecasts for a quarterly contraction of gross domestic product in the final three months of 2022. Eurostat estimated GDP in the bloc rose 0.1% in Q4 despite consensus expectations for a fall of 0.1%. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.
McDonald’s finds inflationary happy place
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters Breakingviews) - McDonald’s (MCD.N) is having a good time at the bottom of the price food chain. The Chicago-based burger purveyor on Tuesday said that same-store sales rose 12% year-over-year in the last three months of 2022. That has helped restaurants grow, but McDonald’s is particularly benefitting. That’s despite McDonald’s touting the benefit of “strategic menu price increases” this quarter; the company previously said its U.S. prices should be up over 10% for the full year. How long this can continue probably depends on other options staying pricier – but for now, the nugget-maker has found its happy place.
Human Rights Watch noted that it had also issued three reports last year accusing Russian forces of using antipersonnel mines in multiple areas across Ukraine since they invaded the country on Feb. 24, 2022. "Russian forces have repeatedly used antipersonnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn't justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons," he said. Human Rights Watch said use of antipersonnel mines also violates international humanitarian law because the devices cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants. Polishchuk told Human Rights Watch that Ukraine's forces strictly adhere to international humanitarian law and the 1997 antipersonnel mine convention. "Human Rights Watch documented PFM mine use in nine different areas in and around Izium city and verified 11 civilian casualties from these mines," it said on Tuesday.
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