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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

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The head of South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics organizing committee, Cho Yang-ho, has resigned.

Cho Yang-ho said he wanted to focus on “urgent matters” with his business group, which includes the struggling Hanjin Shipping carrier, the Yonhap news agency reports.

Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s largest shipper by assets, is facing severe financial difficulties and Cho Yang-ho needed to focus his efforts on restructuring and stabilizing the company.

Photo LA Times

Photo LA Times

Cho Yang-ho is the chairman of the Hanjin conglomerate, which also controls the nation’s flag carrier Korean Air, a corporate sponsor of the 2018 Games.

According to reports, Cho Yang-ho, who took on the role in 2014, was nearing the end of his two-year term.

The Winter Games are due to take place in Pyeongchang in February 2018.

In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was confident South Korea’s preparations were “moving in the right direction”.

Cho Yang-ho said he had “truly put forward my very best efforts to work with every member of the organizing committee to prepare a successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018.”

He said he would “continue to support Pyeongchang through to the Games in 2018”.

In April, Hanjin Shipping said it would ask creditor banks to restructure its debt. It had debt of 5.6 trillion won ($4.92 billion) and a debt-to-equity ratio of nearly 850 percent as at the end of 2015, according to the company.

Australia stock market traded low on May 2 with the benchmark S&P ASX 200 finishing lower by 0.18% at 5,243 points.

Shares in Australia’s third largest lender, Westpac, closed down 3.54% on the Sydney stock market, after having lost as much as 5.7% earlier in the session.

Westpac reported a 3% rise in profits for the six months to March 2016.Australia Stock Exchange 2016

Earnings rose to A$3.9 billion ($2.96 billion), however industry analysts were expecting the figure to come in just above A$4 billion.

Westpac has attributed the shortfall to higher debt charges.

Also in Australia, the country’s Treasurer Scott Morrison will deliver the federal budget for 2016-2017 on May 3. According to local media, there will be tax cuts for business in the budget.

However, ahead of the budget, the country’s central bank – The Reserve Bank of Australia – will hold its annual meeting on interest rates.

The key lending rate in Australia is at a record low of 2%.

Japan stock market has started the week with sharp falls, as a surge in the yen hurt shares in big exporting companies.

The Nikkei 225 index ended 3.1% lower at 16,174 – higher than its low point for the trading session, but still the lowest close since April 12.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Toyota shares closed down 3.8%, Nissan Motor dropped 5% and Honda Motor shed 4%.

The yen shot up after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided not to launch fresh economic stimulus last week.

On April 29, the yen was at about 108 yen against the dollar. It strengthened a little on May 2 to around 106.31 yen.

In South Korea the Kospi ended May 2 session lower, by 0.8% at 1,978.15 points. And that is also a three-week low.

Markets in China and Hong Kong are shut on May 2 for the Labor Day holiday.

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Halliburton and Baker Hughes have abandoned their proposed merger after resistance from regulators in the US and Europe.

The deal would have seen a $34.6 billion takeover by Halliburton of Baker Hughes, creating a powerful rival to global leader Schlumberger.

The US companies are the second and third biggest oil services companies.Halliburton and Baker Hughes merger called off

That raised concerns about higher prices and reduced competition.

Baker Hughes stands to receive a $3.5 billion break-up fee as a result of the deal falling through.

Failure to satisfy regulatory concerns was not the only reason for abandoning the merger.

The fall in the oil price since the proposal was announced in 2014 changed the financial attractiveness of the cash and shares deal.

The DoJ filed a lawsuit to stop the merger in April, arguing it would leave only two dominant suppliers in the well drilling and oil construction services industry.

The European Commission also expressed concerns that the deal might reduce competition and innovation.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes have been hit by a fall in business as oil and gas giants rein back on projects and investments.

Last week, Baker Hughes reported a bigger-than-expected loss for Q1 of 2016.

In April, Halliburton announced 6,000 job cuts.

Puerto Rico has suspended a $422 million debt payment due on May 2 after talks to ease the state’s crisis ended without a deal, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has announced.

In a TV address, the governor said he had issued an executive order suspending payments.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla described it as a “painful decision”, but had been warning since last year that the island’s public debt of more than $70 billion was unpayable.

The US Congress has tried without success to agree a solution.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The governor said: “Let me be very clear, this was a painful decision.

“We would have preferred to have had a legal framework to restructure our debts in an orderly manner.”

Alejandro Garcia Padilla acknowledged before the weekend that if the payment was not made, it was likely to spark legal action from creditors. A further debt payment of $1.9 billion is due in July.

Puerto Rico officials have held talks with groups holding some of its $4 billion in bonds to try to restructure the debt.

Some creditors have argued that the territory has exaggerated its crisis and that economic reforms would improve the island’s finances.

Congress is in recess until the week of May 9.

“If Congress fails to authorize a mechanism to restructure our debt, the 3.5 million American citizens who live in Puerto Rico will continue to suffer,” Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said.

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Low crude oil prices and weak refining margins have hit ExxonMobil and rival Chevron’s profits in Q1 of 2016.

ExxonMobil reported a profit of $1.8 billion, a sharp decline from $4.94 billion for the same period in 2015 and its lowest quarterly profit since 1999.

Revenue dropped 28% to $48.7 billion, but it had strong results from its petrochemicals division.

Chevron has reported a quarterly net loss of $725 million.

That compared with a net profit of $2.57 billion for the same period in 2015 and was worse than analysts had expected.

Chevron CEO John Watson said: “We are controlling our spend and getting key projects under construction online, which will boost revenue.”

ExxonMobil shares rose 1.4% in New York on April 29, while Chevron fell 0.6%.Oil prices fall below 28

Meanwhile, oil prices hit their highest levels of the year on April 29, driven up by lower US production and a weak dollar.

Brent crude was up 12 cents at $48.26 a barrel in afternoon trading, while US oil rose 57 cents to $46.60.

US oil production has continued to fall in recent months, easing concerns about oversupply, while the dollar has lost almost 2% of its value against other global currencies in the past week.

A weaker US dollar typically contributes to a rise in oil prices, because oil is priced in dollars. When the dollar weakens against other currencies, oil becomes cheaper to buy, pushing up demand.

However, the latest rise in oil prices may be limited by a future increase in Middle East production, according to a note released by Deutsche Bank.

Iraq and the UAE are likely to raise production after maintenance issues are resolved, Deutsche indicated, and Saudi Arabia may also increase production significantly.

However, this may be tempered by events in Latin America, where Venezuela is struggling to maintain its crude output, according to a report from Eurasia Group.

Eurasia Group reported that low oil prices over the past two years have meant Venezuela’s government is running out of cash to keep its state-owned oil pumps operational.

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Ford has reported a record profit in Q1 of 2016 following strong sales in Europe and moving more pick-up trucks and SUVs in North America.

The automaker’s profits for Q1 rose to $3.8 billion, compared with $2.1 billion for the same period in 2015.

The stronger performance in Europe helped Ford to outpace Detroit rival General Motors.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the company had an “absolutely terrific start to the year”.

Shares rose 3.2% in New York, but are still 11% lower than this time last year.Ford profits Q1 2015

The company’s European business made a pretax profit of $434 million in Q1 2016 – higher than the total for all of last year – and substantially better than a $42m loss for the same period in 2015.

By comparison GM made a $6 million loss in Europe during the first quarter of 2016, better than the $239 million loss in 2015.

Ford remained the region’s best-selling commercial vehicle brand, reflecting the popularity of the Transit and Ranger lineups.

In North America, the automaker’s F-150 trucks and SUVs were a major contributor to the company’s profit growth.

Pretax profit in North America rose to $3.1 billion, outpacing GM’s $2.3 billion and more than double the $1.5 billion for Q1 of 2015.

Earlier this month the automaker said it had set up a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, in a bid to combat growing competition from the technology sector.

Ford has been investing in driverless cars and earlier this year tested a self-driving vehicle in the snow.

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Amazon’s profit surged to $513 million in Q1 of 2016, helped by a 28% jump in sales.

The company’s sales hit $29.1 billion for Q1 of 2016, helped by rising sales of its Kindle reading devices and Fire tablet computers.

Both sales and profits were higher than analysts had been expecting and Amazon shares jumped in after hours trading.

Amazon reported strong growth in customers for its Prime service, which includes free delivery and TV shows.

The results were a positive sign for investors who had been rattled by disappointing earnings from Apple and Microsoft.Amazon Prime Air drone testing

Amazon’s cloud services unit was an important source of sales growth.

The cloud business rents data storage space and software services to companies, and is Amazon’s fastest growing unit.

Amazon’s revenue rose 64% year-over-year, reaching $2.5 billion.

Investors have been watching Amazon’s cloud operation closely, particularly after one of its biggest customers, Apple, announced it would be moving some of its business elsewhere.

Since the start of 2016 Amazon has added new televisions shows and films to its Prime service, which helped to attract new users.

In April, the company introduced options to pay monthly for the service.

The plan is part of an effort to compete with video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon also attributed the increased number of Prime members to the expanded list of products eligible for free two-day shipping.

It did not detail sales of devices like the Kindle and Fire table, but did say that the division has seen growth.

“Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” CEO Jeff Bezos said.

According to new figures, the US economic growth slowed to an annual pace of 0.5% in Q1 of 2016.

That was a sharp fall from the 1.4% rate of growth in Q4 of 2015 and the slowest pace in two years.

The slowdown, which was bigger than most economists forecast, has been blamed on a fall in domestic demand and a strong dollar that has put a brake on exports.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

With shoppers buying less, businesses have been reluctant to order new stock.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the US economy, increased at a rate of 1.9%, down from 2.4% in the previous quarter.

Business investment fell by 5.9% – the biggest quarterly decline since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.

Oil and gas exploration fell by a record 86% as energy companies cut back on spending following the dramatic slide in oil prices.

Although cheaper oil has given consumers more spare cash, it has also cut the profits of businesses dependent on the oil industry.

Despite the economy slowing, unemployment fell below 5% in January, and April 29 jobs report is expected to show steady growth in employment numbers.

On April 28, the Federal Reserve said that “labor market conditions have improved further even as growth in economic activity appears to have slowed”.

Japan stock market traded low as the yen surged after the Bank of Japan decided against any extra monetary easing.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept interest rates unchanged despite coming under pressure to take further action.

The central bank had introduced negative rates in January but this failed to provide a much needed boost for the economy.Bank of Japan QE decision 2015

The Nikkei 225 index finished 3.6% lower at 16,666.05. New economic data also showed a slip back into deflation while industrial production expanded.

Japan has for years been trying to boost its economy and end a period of stifling deflation.

One way to try to achieve this is by monetary policy, which is one of PM Shinzo Abe’s three key “Abenomics” policies to turn around the economy.

However, even negative rates – meaning commercial banks will be charged if they deposit money with the central bank – have not trickled down to get banks to lend more and companies and people to invest or spend more.

Inflation is still far off the 2% target.

The BoJ’s decision to hold rates also sent the yen currency soaring, which is likely to have a negative effect on the crucial export sector.

The yen rose nearly 2% against the dollar, with one dollar worth 109.33 yen.

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Facebook has posted a 195% jump in profit in Q1 of 2016 as the company continued to generate new advertising income.

The social network reported $1.5 billion in earnings for Q1 2016, compared to $512 million in Q1 2015.

As well as enticing advertisers to new products like live video, Facebook boosted sales on existing services.

The company also proposed a new class of shares, which will allow founder Mark Zuckergerg to sell his shares without losing control of Facebook.

It said the move will “encourage Mr. Zuckerberg to remain in an active leadership role at Facebook”.

Photo Facebook

Photo Facebook

Facebook shares rose over 9% in after-hours trading.

Sales for Q1 2016 reached $5.3 billion up from $3.5 billion in Q1 of 2015.

Mobile advertising made up 82% of Facebook’s overall advertising revenue, up from 73% at the same time last year.

Total monthly active users (MAU) increased 15% from a year earlier to 1.65 billion, which was ahead of analysts expectations.

On a call with investors, the social network said it intended to continue buying other companies, but only those offering services that could be “ubiquitous”.

Facebook has invested heavily in other companies – in 2012 it paid $1 billion for the photo-sharing site Instagram.

However, it is hard for investors to judge the success of such deals, as Facebook has not detailed earnings from acquired companies.

The announcement of the new share structure comes four months after Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced they would give away 99% of their wealth.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan made the announcement after the birth of their daughter Max in December.

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Greece handed over the Olympic flame to the Brazilian authorities during a ceremony in Athens.

The Olympic torch will arrive in Brazil next week and then will travel around the country ahead of the games in August.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes says the Olympic park is almost ready but there are concerns about delays to some projects.

The impeachment proceedings against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff mean there is uncertainty as to who will be in power during the Olympic Games.

Photo Yahoo News

Photo Yahoo News

Brazil’s unemployment has also risen to about 10% as the economy has contracted for the second year in a row.

Rights group Amnesty International has also criticized the number of killings by police in the city’s shantytowns, known as favelas, where residents were “living in terror”.

Officers have killed 11 people in the favelas so far this month, Amnesty said, and were behind 307 such deaths last year.

Nevertheless, the head of Rio’s organizing committee Carlos Nuzman said the city was “ready to make history” as the flame was handed over to the Brazilians.

The Olympic torch will arrive on May 3 in the capital Brasilia after a short stopover in Switzerland.

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Mitsubishi Motors’ domestic orders for its vehicles have halved since the Japanese automaker revealed last week that it had been falsifying fuel efficiency tests.

Company president Tetsuro Aikawa said the situation was “very serious” but said he had no plans to resign immediately.

Tetsuro Aikawa said he did not know if sales abroad had been affected yet.

Mitsubishi shares have more than halved since the scandal broke.

Investors are worried that Mitsubishi Motors – Japan’s sixth-largest automaker – will face fines and compensation claims.

Last week, Mitsubishi admitted that it had falsified fuel economy data for four “minicar” models sold only in Japan.Mitsubishi fuel test 2016

The inaccurate mileage tests involved 157,000 of its eK wagon and eK Space, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for Nissan. All were sold in Japan only.

On April 26, Mitsubishi admitted to manipulating test data for the past 25 years, far longer than initially thought.

The company’s board has formed a panel to investigate the case, and US regulators have also launched an investigation into whether car models complied with their fuel economy rules.

At a news conference on April 27, Mitsubishi Motors said that because of uncertainty about the potential damage to its brand it could not make forecasts for the financial year 2016-2017.

However, Tetsuro Aikawa was able to announce better-than-expected results for the year ending in March 2016.

Mitsubishi Motors reported that its operating profit rose 1.8% to 138.4 billion yen ($1.2 billion) while revenue increased by 4% to 2.27 trillion yen.

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Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors has admitted to rigging some fuel consumption tests since 1991.

The admission follows last week’s revelation that Mitsubishi had falsified fuel economy data for more than 600,000 vehicles sold in Japan.

Mitsubishi Motors VP Ryugo Nakao said at a press conference in Tokyo on April 26: “For the domestic market, we have been using that method since 1991.”

The number of models affected was not yet known, Ryugo Nakao added.

The company’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, said an inquiry was continuing, suggesting that more irregularities could be found.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

“We don’t know the whole picture and we are in the process of trying to determine that. I feel a great responsibility,” he said.

Mitsubishi hares fell a further 10% in Tokyo on April 26, bringing the slide since the scandal erupted to almost 50%.

Tetsuro Aikawa said he did not know why employees resorted to falsifying fuel economy tests to make mileage figures seem better.

The automaker had repeatedly promised to come clean after a huge scandal 15 years ago that involved a systematic cover-up of vehicle defects.

The inaccurate mileage tests revealed last week involved 157,000 of its eK wagon and eK Space, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for Nissan. All were sold in Japan only.

The main attraction of the “minicars”, which have tiny 600cc engines – not much bigger than a large motorcycle – is their frugal fuel consumption and their tax breaks.

Mileage fraud breaks Japan’s fuel efficiency laws and possible penalties were unclear due to the uncertainties about the outcome of an investigation, the transport ministry said.

Mitsubishi has set up a panel of three external lawyers report on the scandal within three months.

Production and sales of all the models in question have been halted.

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Since the emergence of computers in the 20th century, advances in technology have played a major role in changing the way we do things, including the way we make money.

 

These days, we have what investors call Robo-Advisers. Do not fret about the name; there is nothing metallic about these advisers. These are basically software programs created to make investment decisions for investors. How cool is that-knowing that you now do not have to pay expensive fees for investment advisory?

 

Robo-Advisers are only beginning to gain popularity in the UK, but in the US, it’s a common term. Robo-Advisers work by providing investment advice to investors based on their individual profiles. Tired of getting that template advice from your investment manager at a premium? Robo-Advisers are developed using complex algorithms that take into consideration various investing factors which may affect an investor’s decision.Robo advice

 

Units Established for Robo-Advice Firms

 

Last year, UK’s financial regulators discussed in depth about the subject of Robo-Advisers and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) recently revealed that it will set up a specialised unit for Robo-Advice firms.

 

This move was confirmed in the regulator’s recent annual business plan; it revealed that it had accepted recommendation by the FAMR (Financial Advice Market Review) to develop a specialised unit for firms interested in launching Robo-Advice platforms.

 

Since last year several investment advice firms have launched Robo-Advice platforms while banks are also believed to be showing real interest in Robo-Advisers. This paradigm shift has not escaped criticism from wary investors as some worry about the risks involved in using such a platform to cater for their investment needs.

 

These fears were recently echoed by FCA Chair John Griffith when he said that the regulator was fully aware of the risks and potential rewards of Robo-Advisers.

 

‘Technology can drive down the cost of accessing products and services, and can push up the quality of service,” said Griffith, commenting on FCA’s recent annual business plan. ‘But it can present challenges to markets and regulators alike, including resilience, cyber-crime and financial exclusion.’

 

Not a Replacement for Comprehensive Investment Advice

 

This also implies that while costs are bound to be lower on Robo-Advice platforms, it would be premature to assume that Robo-Advisers will replace traditional investment advisers in their entirety.

 

As such, investment advisory and management firms like Fisher Investments UK, which primarily deal with wealthy investors, will still be very important because they offer professional advice that cannot be put in an algorithm.

 

This can be in the form of extended experience in the market as well as varying opinions from the advisory team. Therefore, Robo-Advisers can do some of the things that traditional investment advisers do, but they certainly cannot do everything.

 

With Robo-Advice, an investor fills in to the platform certain details about his/her investment profile including age, investment income, annual income, and risk appetite, among others from which the system draws conclusion on the best investments for the individual. As such, you could say that Robo-Advice works pretty much like WebMD, where patients input their health/injury profile to receive guidance on potential treatments. However, you never really get a prescription.

 

The same thing applies to Robo-Advice, the information you provide is used to generate leads on investments opportunities, but it never really invests on your behalf.

 

Conclusion

 

In summary, there are genuine concerns about the reliance on Robo-Advisers, but given the fact that these platforms are operated by fully regulated firms, it means that investors can at least be comfortable with their authenticity.

 

However, it is also good to note that Robo-Advice cannot be taken on face value and then directly implemented in an investment portfolio. Investors need to take into consideration all factors that may affect their investments decisions including those that cannot be put in a Robo-Adviser algorithm.

Sony closed down 6% in April 25 trade after the company announced at the end of the last week that it would postpone its earnings release date to next month.

The delay was due to uncertainty over the supply chain from two earthquakes which recently hit southwest Japan. Sony was initially scheduled to release its earnings this week.

In the broader Japanese market the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.8% down at 17,439.30 points.

Investors continued to selloff shares of Mitsubishi Motors, which closed down 4.8% on April 25.Mitsubishi fuel test 2016

Last week, Mitsubishi Motors shares plunged by more than 40% over three days, after the car maker admitted to rigging fuel efficiency tests.

The Japanese automaker is expected to announce annual results on April 27, but media reports have suggested it may skip its earnings forecast – which was originally scheduled for the same day.

Traders in Japan were also cautious ahead of an important Bank of Japan (BoJ) meeting where the lender might decide on more monetary easing.

Japan’s central bank will on April 28 decide on its interest rate which currently is negative as an attempt to spur growth.

In Korea, the Kospi index finished the day flat at 2,014.55 points.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed lower by 0.8% to 21,304.44, while the mainland’s Shanghai Composite also closed lower by 0.42% to 2,946.67.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed on April 25 for the Anzac Day holiday.

There is a long list of companies reporting quarterly earnings this week.

In the US they include tech giants Apple and Facebook, online retailer Amazon, and Dunkin Donuts.

From the auto sector, Ford Motor is due to report its quarterly results.

Over in Asia, South Korea’s Hyundai as well as Japan’s Honda Motor and Mazda Motor update investors on their earnings.

Brazil has recovered $125 million siphoned off to foreign bank accounts by corrupt officials, politicians and businessmen.

The record figure recovered in 2015 is eight times more than what was repatriated over the previous decade, the Justice Ministry has reportedly said.

Officials say their policy of negotiating plea bargains with suspects has helped them recover assets.

Much of the money had been diverted from the state oil company Petrobras.Petrobras job cut 2016

Dozens of Brazilian executives and politicians have been arrested or are under investigation on suspicion of overcharging contracts with Petrobras as part of an inquiry known as Operation Car Wash.

According to authorities, part of the diverted money had been used to pay for bribes and electoral campaigns.

It is believed the scheme had cost Petrobras $2 billion.

By contrast, between 2005 and 2014, Brazilian officials managed to recover $15 million, local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported.

From the amount repatriated in 2015, $95 million was linked to the Car Wash investigation.

The money had been diverted to Switzerland and returned to Brazil, the report said, adding that most of it was expected to be returned to Petrobras.

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Fiat Chrysler has announced it is recalling more than 1.1 million cars worldwide over fears they may roll away after drivers get out.

There have been as many as 41 injuries because drivers mistakenly believed they had put the automatic cars in “park”.

The recall covers cars and SUVs whose gearshifts could be confusing to drivers.Fiat Chrysler recall 2015

More than 850,000 vehicles in North America are affected, along with just over 250,000 elsewhere.

The affected models include 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014/15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

Fiat Chrysler said it would update the vehicles to automatically prevent them from moving, even if the driver fails to put the vehicle in park. The company did not say when the fix would become available to owners.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in February it had reports of 314 complaints, including 121 crashes after vehicles rolled away. Some hit buildings, drivers or other cars and many incidents occurred soon after the vehicles were bought.

Injury reports included three complaints of a fractured pelvis, and four others requiring some form of hospitalization.

An NHTSA spokesman said the agency would monitor the recall to ensure it took place as quickly as possible.

Fiat Chrysler said it began equipping the Charger and 300 with a new gearshift design for the 2015 model, while the Grand Cherokee was updated for the following year.

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Volkswagen has announced it set aside more than double provisions for the diesel emissions scandal to €16.2 billion.

In 2015, VW told shareholders that €6.7 billion had been set aside for potential costs or recalls.

The increased sum included the cost of fixing cars that violate air pollution standards, buying back vehicles and legal costs.

The move comes as German carmakers agreed to recall 630,000 diesel vehicles to tweak engine software.

German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said Mercedes Benz, Opel and Porsche as well as VW and Audi would adjust settings that increased levels of emissions such as nitrogen dioxide in some diesel cars.

Shares in Daimler fell 4.6% in Frankfurt after the Mercedes owner said it had begun an internal investigation into its diesel emissions testing at the request of the US Justice Department.VW buy back deal US

Daimler said net profit for Q1 of 2016 fell by a third to €1.4 billion, held back by costs associated with the launch of the new E-Class range. The bigger-than-expected decline came despite a 2% rise in revenue to €35 billion as sales rose 7% to 683,885 vehicles.

VW CEO Matthias Muller said he could not put a figure on the total cost of the emissions scandal until a final deal was reached with US authorities.

Nor could the company release preliminary findings from an investigation it commissioned from law firm Jones Day until reaching an agreement, it said.

VW still faced the DoJ fines as part of an expected civil settlement, as well as possible criminal charges.

On April 21, a US court disclosed details of a deal between VW and the DoJ for more than 500,000 American owners of its diesel cars affected by the emissions cheating.

The deal will involve buybacks and “substantial” compensation for owners of mostly two-liter vehicles.

The increased emissions provision pushed VW to an annual pre-tax loss of €1.3 billion, compared with a profit of €14.7 billion the previous year.

VW expected group sales to fall by up to 5% in 2016.

Chief financial officer Frank Witter said: “We are again operating in an exceedingly challenging environment in which global demand for new vehicles is declining, exchange rates and interest rates remain highly volatile and competition in many of our markets is intensifying.”

VW shares closed down 1.7% in Frankfurt on April 22 and are more than 40% lower than at this time last year.

Volkswagen has reached a deal with the US authorities in the diesel emissions scandal.

The German giant will offer “substantial compensation” and car buy-back deals as part of the settlement.

Final details of the packages offered will be announced in June, but a court had given VW and regulators until April 21 to reach a deal in principle.

In 2015, US regulators discovered that VW cars were fitted with software that could distort emissions tests.

The automaker subsequently said 11 million cars worldwide were affected.

Details of the preliminary agreement were announced in a California court. US district court Judge Charles Breyer said the settlement would include a buyback offer for nearly 500,000 2.0-litre vehicles.VW buy back deal US

He did not give details of how much car owners would offered in compensation, but said the deal between Volkswagen, the US government and private lawyers would be “substantial”.

Judge Charles Breyer said VW would also pay into an environmental fund and commit other money to promote green car technology.

The company told its shareholders in 2015 it had set aside $7.3 billion to help defray the potential costs of a recall or regulatory penalties, but that figure could rise. The company faces as much as $20 billion in fines for Clean Air Act violations alone.

VW installed software in the diesel engines to detect when they were being tested and cheat the results. Some models could have been pumping out up to 40 times the legal limit of the pollutant, nitrogen oxide, regulators disclosed.

The company’s lawyer, Robert Giuffra said: “Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America.”

The agreements are “an important step forward on the road to making things right,” he added.

VW said in a statement that it “intends to compensate its customers fully and to remediate any impact on the environment from excess diesel emissions”.

The automaker said a deal in principle had been reached with the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

VW added that it had “reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks”.

The deal announced on April 21 covers mostly 2-liter vehicles.

Judge Charles Breyer said he expects an agreement between VW and regulators covering about 90,000 larger vehicles and SUVs to be addressed “expeditiously”.

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The Olympic torch for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro has been lit in southern Greece.

Actress Katerina Lehou performing the role of high priestess lit the torch by using the sun’s rays.

The flame will be taken by various runners on an international relay that will culminate at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5.

The ritual was established 80 years ago for the Berlin Games, based on a ceremony in Ancient Olympia where games were held for more than 1,000 years.

Katerina Lehou offered a mock prayer to Apollo, the old Greek god of light and music, at April 21ceremony.

Wearing a long pleated robe, the actress knelt solemnly to the ground and lit the torch within a few seconds by using a concave mirror to catch the sunlight.

Photo NBC News

Photo NBC News

Katerina Lehou then delivered the flame to Greek world gymnastics champion Eleftherios Petrounias, the first runner in a torch relay that will conclude at the opening ceremony in Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

The chief organizer of the 2016 Olympic Games, Carlos Nuzman, promised to “deliver history”. He said the Olympics would unite Brazil, which is beset by political and economic crises.

“[The torch lighting] brings a message that can and will unite our dear Brazil, a country that is suffering much more than it deserves in its quest for a brighter future,” Carlos Nuzman said in his speech.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was forced to cancel her trip to ancient Olympia because of the impeachment threat she faces.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the flame was “a timeless reminder that we are all part of the same humanity” despite the difficulties that Brazil is facing.

“Rio de Janeiro… will provide a spectacle to showcase the best of the human spirit. In just a few weeks the Brazilian people will enthusiastically welcome the world and amaze us with their joy of life and their passion for sport,” Thomas Bach said.

Before the flame arrives in South America it will begin a six-day relay across Greece, passing through the town of Marathon – which gave its name to the long distance race – as well as a camp for refugees and migrants in Athens, the International Olympic Committee has said.

The torch is due to arrive in Brazil on May 3 for a relay across the country, traveling through hundreds of cities and villages in every Brazilian state.

The Olympic torch will be carried by about 12,000 bearers.

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A Mitsubishi Motors office in Japan has been raided by authorities following the revelation that the automaker had falsified its fuel economy data.

The officials searched Mitsubishi’s plant in Okazaki.

Mitsubishi has admitted that employees altered data to flatter mileage rates on more than 600,000 vehicles.

A government spokesman said they were treating it as an “extremely serious case” and that it had ordered Mitsubishi to submit a full report.

The authorities have set April 27 as the deadline for Mitsubishi Motors to hand over the report on the inaccurate testing.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said: “Based on [the findings from] the raid, and a report from the company, we would like to reveal the extent of the inaccuracies as soon as possible.

“We will deal with the situation in a strict manner and would like to make sure of the safety of cars.”Mitsubishi fuel test 2016

The Okazaki office is Mitsubishi’s second largest plant in Japan and is a manufacturing hub as well as a research facility.

The inaccurate tests involved 157,000 of Mitsubisi’s own cars and 468,000 vehicles produced for Nissan.

The issue affected models including Mitsubishi’s ek Wagon and eK Space, as well as Nissan’s Dayz and Dayz Roox.

All are “mini-cars” with 660cc petrol engines and are popular in Japan but have found little success in other markets.

Shares of Mitsubishi Motors were not traded on April 21 as no buyers could be found to match investors wanting to sell.

Instead, the Tokyo Stock Exchange set an indicated closing price of 583 yen, a 20% drop from yesterday’s close of 733 yen.

Shares in Mitsubishi had already fallen 15% on April 20, when news of the falsified data first emerged.

Mitsubishi had struggled for years to regain consumer trust after a defects scandal in the early 2000s that covered up problems such as failing brakes, faulty clutches and fuel tanks that fell off vehicles.

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Volkswagen has reached a deal with the US authorities under which the automaker could offer to buy back up to 500,000 diesel cars in the US.

VW has also agreed a compensation fund for owners.

The German car giant is expected to reveal the deal to a Federal judge in San Francisco on April 21.

A VW spokeswoman, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department declined to comment.

The company could also offer to repair diesel vehicles if US regulators approve a fix at a future date, reports said.VW buy back deal US

In March, US District Judge Charles Breyer gave VW until April 21 “to announce a concrete proposal for getting the polluting vehicles off the road.”

Judge Charles Breyer said in March the “proposal may include a vehicle buy back plan or a fix approved by the relevant regulators that allows the cars to remain on the road with certain modifications.”

In September 2015, the EPA found that VW cars being sold in the US had a “defeat device” – or software – in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, and change the performance to improve results.

Some models could be pumping out up to 40 times the legal limit of the pollutant nitrogen oxide.

In March, VW CEO Matthias Muller said that a deal with US authorities over its emissions scandal could take longer and cost more than expected.

Matthias Muller warned that the €6.7 billion set aside to cover the costs of the scandal might not be enough.

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors has admitted falsifying fuel economy data for more than 600,000 vehicles sold in Japan.

The company has admitted that tire pressure figures were falsified by employees to flatter mileage rates.

Almost 470,000 vehicles that Mitsubishi made for Nissan were affected and the issue was uncovered after Nissan found inconsistencies.

The announcement sent shares in Mitsubishi down more than 15% in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi bosses, including the company’s president Tetsuro Aikawa, bowed deeply at the start of a press conference on April 20 in Tokyo.

“The wrongdoing was intentional. It is clear the falsification was done to make the mileage look better. But why they would resort to fraud to do this is still unclear,” Tetsuro Aikawa said.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Although he was unaware of the irregularities, the company’s president said: “I feel responsible.”

The inaccurate tests involved 157,000 of Mitsubishi’s own cars and 468,000 vehicles produced for Nissan.

The issue affected models including Mitsubishi’s ek Wagon and eK Space, as well as Nissan’s Dayz and Dayz Roox.

All are “mini-cars” with 660cc petrol engines and are popular in Japan but have found little success in other markets.

Mitsubishi Motors is Japan’s sixth-largest car maker and sold more than one million vehicles in 2015.

The issue was reported to Japan’s transportation ministry and Nissan told dealers to stop selling the affected vehicles. It was considering ways to help owners of the affected cars.

Shares in Mitsubishi Motors closed down 131 yen at 733 yen in Tokyo – their biggest one-day fall in nearly 12 years.

This is the first time that a Japanese automaker has reported misconduct involving fuel economy tests.

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Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors shares have fallen more than 15% after it said an unspecified number of its cars had failed fuel tests.

Mitsubishi will hold a news conference in Tokyo at 5pm local time about the issue.

The company’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, will attend the briefing.Mitsubishi fuel test 2016

Mitsubishi shares closed down 131 yen at 733 yen in Tokyo – their biggest one-day fall in nearly 12 years.

NHK said the faulty tests could affect about 600,000 Mitsubishi-produced cars, including some vehicles it makes for rival Nissan.

Mitsubishi sold more than one million vehicles in 2015.

“One of our models was found to have failed part of a fuel economy test,” a company spokesman said.

In 2014 South Korean auto makers Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia, agreed to pay $350 million in US penalties for overstating their vehicles’ fuel economy ratings. They also resolved claims from car owners.

The Mitsubishi revelation follows last year’s emissions scandal at Volkswagen in which the German automaker was found to have installed devices in some models that fooled tests.