HSBC optimistic on progress
HSBC is making good progress on its turnaround plan and showing “significant traction” on factors it can control, although the eurozone crisis and increased regulation are creating stiff headwinds, its chief executive said yesterday. “We’ve made encouraging progress for getting the bank into shape. We’ve identified where we want to be in the future — first and foremost in our two home markets of the UK and Hong Kong — and 20 priority growth markets,” CEO Stuart Gulliver told reporters on a conference call. HSBC said it had made “material progress” and is on track to meet its target of getting return on equity above 12 percent and to cut costs by US$3.5 billion a year.
Economy back to recession
Spain’s GDP shrank by 0.3 percent in the first quarter after contracting at the same rate in the final three months last year, confirming a return to recession, according to final statistics published yesterday. The figures confirm preliminary data issued in April by the National Statistics Institute (INE), underscoring the precarious state of the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy, which is battling a record high 24.4 percent unemployment rate. An INE statement said that weaker domestic demand, including household consumption and public spending, had undermined growth as Spain struggles with austerity measures.
Shareholders sue JPMorgan
Shareholders of JPMorgan Chase & Co have filed two lawsuits against the biggest US bank, accusing it and its leaders of taking excessive risk and causing a monumental US$2 billion trading loss. One suit was filed by California shareholder James Baker. A second was filed by shareholder Arizona-based Saratoga Advantage Trust’s financial services portfolio. Meanwhile, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Wednesday the bureau has launched a preliminary investigation of JPMorgan following the US$2 billion trading loss at the bank. Mueller’s comment at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was the first on-the-record confirmation of the probe.
LG unveils new Optimus
South Korea’s LG Electronics yesterday unveiled a new version of its Optimus smartphone with greater memory and a more powerful battery, in an attempt to catch up with its rivals. The company said the Optimus LTE 2 — which will be released in the domestic market “soon” — offers as much memory as a notebook computer, allowing consumers to use several applications simultaneously. A new battery gives 40 percent more running time on a single charge than the Optimus LTE 1 released in October last year. LG gave no timetable for overseas sales of the LTE (Long-Term Evolution) phone, which uses a faster mobile network that is available mainly in South Korea, Japan, the US and parts of Europe.
Adidas sues copycats
Adidas AG has sued to stop a US sporting goods retailer and a skateboarding equipment maker from selling sneakers with three parallel diagonal stripes, a design it said looks too much like its own. The world’s second-largest sporting goods company claimed that sneakers made by World Industries Inc and sold by Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp are knock-offs that infringe many Adidas trademarks. Adidas first used the three-stripe motif in 1952 and began trademarking it in the US in 1994.