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Less firing doesn't equal more hiring

Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com
Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 | 5:35 PM ET
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Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.

Jobless wringing hands over deflation?

Notes:

Is inflation rearing its ugly head? No. In fact, if things keep going as they have been, we could soon be wringing our hands over deflation, which would make it near impossible for businesses to raise prices. The Commerce Department says its index for prices of consumer purchases has fallen by 0.1 percent, the first decline since the dark days of early 2009. On a brighter note, jobless claims fell near to a six-year low last week. But the economy will have to perk up to hit the Federal Reserve's expectation of 2 percent to 2.3 percent growth for the year, and some analysts doubt that will happen.

Quotes:

"The Fed is looking for a pickup [in growth] for the second half of the year. ... We remain skeptical as to whether we are going to see that pickup."—Jeffrey Cleveland, senior economist at Payden & Rygel

"Lower claims, which is less firing, doesn't mean hiring."—CNBC's Steve Liesman


It's a sad, sad world

Notes:

Congress is at loggerheads, job growth is a mere trickle and incomes are stagnant. What's it all add up to? Americans are in an economic funk that does not bode well for the key driver of business growth, consumer spending. CNBC's All-America Economic Survey for the third quarter shows 61 percent of those polled downbeat on the current state of the economy and pessimistic about the future. That's a 5-point rise from the second quarter, and the highest level of pessimism in two years. There was an 18-point drop in the percentage of white-collar workers who believe the economy will get better over the next 12 months.

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon
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JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan's 'Make it go away' bill keeps growing

Notes:

That staggering $3 billion to $7 billion figure reported yesterday for a possible JPMorgan Chase settlement? Well, today the number is $11 billion, due to an extra $4 billion to help out consumers hurt by the housing and mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan is trying to settle a raft of investigations and lawsuits over bad mortgage securities it sold some years back, and CEO Jamie Dimon met this morning with Attorney General Eric Holder.

Larry Ellison celebrates after Oracle Team USA  won a semifinal match race during the America's Cup World Series last August in San Francisco.
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Larry Ellison celebrates after Oracle Team USA won a semifinal match race during the America's Cup World Series last August in San Francisco.

How will Larry Ellison ever afford next America's Cup?

Notes:

As most executives know, when things are going well, shareholders are happy to lavish compensation on their CEO. Not so when performance starts to falter, and the issue continues to simmer wherever shareholders feel their CEO is doing better than they are. As Oracle's performance has weakened, with shares up just 2 percent this year, versus 18 percent for the S&P 500, shareholders have started to grumble about Larry Ellison's $77 million pay package, and a showdown may come at the software giant's Oct. 31 annual meeting. One big shareholder has warned it might vote to unseat directors if they don't address the pay concerns. Shareholders rejected the company's policies in a non-binding "say-on-pay" vote last year.

Quote:

"The Oracle board has stubbornly refused to take shareholder criticisms to heart."—Major shareholder CtW Investment Group, in a letter to the Oracle board

CEO Thorsten Heins with the BlackBerry 10 in January.
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CEO Thorsten Heins with the BlackBerry 10 in January.

BlackBerry merger arbitrage

Notes:

You know something's wrong when a stock trades for less than an acquirer has offered for it. That's what's happened to BlackBerry, now trading around $8 as doubts swirl around its deal to go private for $9 a share. Many analysts think the deal, with BlackBerry's largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, is unlikely to go ahead. Making matters worse, wireless carrier T-Mobile says it will stop stocking BlackBerry devices in its stores.

Quotes:

"We believe the Fairfax initiative is unlikely to come to fruition and see the next valuation floor for the stock at $5."—Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu

"They had a fantastic and dominant position in 2007. They didn't adapt to the changing consumer, who now wanted games and... social services on their phones.... They've sort of lost their way."— Dan Wagner, chairman and CEO of Powa Technologies

—Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com

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