Manufacturing output rises
Manufacturing output bounced back last month in the latest signal of strength in an economy that is showing clear momentum despite the headwind from government austerity. While other reports on Friday showed a surge in gasoline prices caused a spike in consumer inflation last month and eroded consumer sentiment earlier this month, the impact on the economy was likely to be limited and temporary. “It appears that real economic growth is on an upswing,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. Factory production increased 0.8 percent last month after falling 0.3 percent in January, the Federal Reserve said. The gain was broad based and double what economists had expected.
Zuckerberg top boss: survey
Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg on Friday was ranked top chief executive in a Glassdoor survey of what current and former employees think of how top bosses are leading companies. Zuckerberg had a near-perfect approval rating, with 99 percent of Facebook workers endorsing the way he is running the firm, according to Glassdoor, an online community devoted to careers and workplaces. Glassdoor gathered employee reviews during the past year for the annual ranking of chief executives. SAP AG co-chiefs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe were ranked just a hair behind Zuckerberg, while Google Inc co-founder and chief executive Larry Page was in 11th place with a 95 percent approval rating. Amazon.com Inc chief executive Jeff Bezos and Apple Inc chief executive officer Tim Cook ranked 16th and 18th respectively, each endorsed by about 93 percent of their workers.
Drew blames staff for losses
Ina Drew, the former JPMorgan Chase & Co executive who earned millions while in charge of the unit that made the disastrous “London whale” trades, refused on Friday to accept responsibility for the US$6.2 billion in losses revealed last year. Testifying before a US Senate panel, the former chief investment officer instead pointed a finger at the traders and managers below her. Blame-shifting proved to be a theme of the hearing held by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, even as Chairman Carl Levin hit Drew and other current and former JPMorgan executives hard over past statements he believed to be inaccurate. Drew made US$29 million in 2010 and 2011, and Achilles Macris, who supervised the trading book at issue and reported to Drew, made US$32 million during the same period.
BP asks to halt spill payouts
BP PLC asked a judge to halt some payments under the US$8.5 billion Gulf of Mexico oil-spill settlement, claiming the administrator is misinterpreting damages claims and increasing the cost to the company. As a result of policy decisions on certain business economic-loss claims by court-appointed administrator Patrick Juneau, “BP is already exposed to hundreds of millions of [US] dollars in fictitious ‘losses’ that were never contemplated by the agreement,” London-based BP’s attorneys said in papers filed in federal court in New Orleans. “Although the ultimate exposure is at this time inestimable, it grows daily and could cost BP billions,” the lawyers said.