US output, home sales weak
Manufacturing output barely rose last month and contracts to buy previously owned homes recorded their largest drop in nearly three-and-a-half years, the latest signs the economy’s momentum ebbed as the third quarter ended. Manufacturing production edged up 0.1 percent last month after advancing 0.5 percent in August, the Federal Reserve said on Monday. Separately, the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, plunged 5.6 percent to the lowest level since December last year.
Current account surplus up
The current account surplus expanded last month from the previous month on trade gains and stronger service industry earnings, the Bank of Korea said yesterday. The current account, the broadest measure of the country’s trade with the rest of the world, showed a surplus of US$6.57 billion last month, up from a revised US$5.68 billion in August. Earlier this month, the central bank said the nation’s current account surplus was likely to hit a record-high of US$63 billion for the full year.
Infosys faces visa fines
The US government plans to punish Indian outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd with the largest immigration fine ever for seeking visas fraudulently for workers at big clients in the US, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Infosys is accused of putting workers on visitor visas rather than work visas. The former are much easier and cheaper to obtain than the latter. The fine is expected to be about US$35 million, the paper said, quoting people close to the matter.
UBS posts profit in Q3
Swiss banking giant UBS AG reported a third-quarter net profit of 577 million Swiss francs (US$644 million), compared with losses of SF2.1 billion in the same period last year. However, Switzerland’s largest bank says it may not be able to reach its profit goals for 2015 because of Swiss regulatory demands that it hold more capital for risks from litigation. UBS said in a statement yesterday it had third-quarter charges of SF586 million for litigation, regulatory and other related matters, and sees more regulatory challenges ahead.
Lawsuits hurt Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank yesterday said that its third-quarter bottom line was hit by “substantial litigation charges” and falling profits in investment banking. Germany’s biggest lender said in a statement that its net profit tumbled 94 percent to 41 million euros (US$56.5 million) in the period from July to September, way below analysts’ expectations. Group net revenues were down 10 percent at 7.74 billion euros. The group put the litigation charges in the third quarter at 1.2 billion euros.
BP profit plunges 34%
British energy giant BP yesterday said that its net profit slid 34 percent to US$3.5 billion in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago. The group’s replacement cost profit — which excludes changes in the value of oil inventories — dropped to US$3.18 billion. Production fell 2.3 percent, while BP was also hit by lower refining margins. The company said that charges as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in 2010 currently stood at US$42.5 billion.