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EU fines banks over $1 billion over foreign exchange cartel


Job market sizzles for college grads, particularly STEM majors

In these coming days of pomp and circumstance, many of this spring’s college graduates, particularly those with tech backgrounds, will find a robust market for jobs. A decade after the Great Recession, when new college grads walked into an abysmal job market with long-lasting effects, the Class of 2019 is joining the workforce during an economic upswing, complete with historically low unemployment and rising wages. Tech positions dominated a Top 25 list of high-paying occupations for entry-level jobs, according to an analysis by Glassdoor, a salary and career website. That’s thanks in part to the value businesses place on STEM-related skills and education and the immense influence of advanced technology and engineering in corporate America. Wages grew 3.4 percent in the past year, the government reported in March, the biggest increase since the Great Recession. Earlier this month, the US Labor Department said unemployment fell to 3.6 percent, the lowest level since 1969. Businesses are struggling to fill their openings, giving workers leverage to demand higher pay and seek better paying jobs. — WASHINGTON POST


Home building up, starts down in April

US home construction rose in April, led by an uptick in single-family homes. The Commerce Department said Thursday that home-building rose 5.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million. But housing starts fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier, suggesting that would-be home buyers are facing a shortage of new houses. Construction of single-family homes increased 6.2 percent to 854,000 but was down 4.3 percent from a year earlier. Building of apartments and condominiums rose 2.3 percent to 359,000 and was up 1.4 percent from April 2018. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Amid rising sales, Walmart has a warning

Walmart had an unwelcome message for its shoppers Thursday: Higher tariffs on imports from China will mean higher prices. The comments came after the nation’s largest retailer reported its best sale performance at its established US namesake stores for the fiscal first quarter in nine years. It marked 19 straight quarters of same-store sales gains. Walmart declined to comment on what type of price hikes shoppers could expect and which products would get the biggest increases. But the specter of higher prices was also echoed by Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette. He told investors Wednesday that if a fourth round of tariffs takes effect, that could mean higher retail prices for both store label and national brands. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Cisco Systems gives upbeat forecast

Cisco Systems Inc. gave a bullish sales and profit forecast for the current period, a sign that corporations continue to spend on their computer networks despite concern that a trade dispute between China and the United States will slow global economic growth. Sales in the fiscal fourth quarter will increase 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent from the same period a year earlier, the San Jose, Calif.-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Cisco, whose equipment makes up the backbone of the Internet and corporate networks, has returned to growth by revamping existing products and adding software and services under a corporate makeover by chief executive Chuck Robbins. — BLOOMBERG


Rates fall for a third week

Long-term mortgage rates fell slightly this week, marking a third straight week of declines as a continued inducement to purchasers in the spring homebuying season. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage eased to 4.07 percent from 4.10 percent last week. By contrast, a year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.61 percent. The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans declined this week to 3.53 percent from 3.57 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Gannett rebuffs attempt by Digital First Media to remake its board

Shareholders of USA Today owner Gannett have rebuffed an attempt to overthrow its board. Gannett, which also owns dozens of other newspapers, said its slate of eight directors had beaten opposing candidates nominated by a media group vying to revive its previously rejected takeover bid for Gannett. The results were based on a preliminary count of a vote held Thursday at Gannett’s annual meeting. MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, had been angling to install directors that would support its offer to buy Gannett for $12 per share, or $1.36 billion. Gannett’s board rejected that bid as inadequate in early February, when the company’s stock was trading around $11. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Pinterest’s sales forecast disappoints following robust IPO

Pinterest Inc. gave an annual sales forecast that fell short of estimates, shaking the confidence of investors who had pushed the social-media company’s stock up more than 60 percent in its first month of public trading. The digital scrap-booking company said 2019 revenue will be $1.06 billion to $1.08 billion, compared with the average analyst’s projection of $1.09 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares fell 13 percent in extended trading. Pinterest makes money from advertising and markets itself as a way for brands and retailers to reach consumers at the inspiration phase of the shopping process. The company has been a bright spot in the tech industry’s rocky IPO season, in which highly anticipated public offerings from ride-hailing startups Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. have disappointed. Pinterest’s stock jumped 28 percent in its first day of public trading on April 18, and closed at $30.86 on Thursday, 62 percent higher than its IPO price.



Mnuchin aide in charge of Fannie, Freddie overhaul resigns

When Craig S. Phillips, a veteran Wall Street mortgage trader, agreed to join the Treasury Department as a top aide to Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2017, his mandate was to overhaul the way that American home loans are guaranteed and then traded by the federal government. More than two years later, with that ambitious agenda far from fruition, Phillips is returning to the private sector. Phillips told Treasury Department employees Thursday that he planned to leave the government next month, according to a person familiar with the conversation who was not authorized to speak publicly. He informed colleagues that he expected to return to Wall Street but had not lined up a new job. — NEW YORK TIMES


Barbie to be honored by fashion designers

Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Michelle Obama. Barbie? The Council of Fashion Designers of America will follow up those prestigious honorees of its Board of Directors’ Tribute Award with the ever-evolving doll. The council said in a statement Thursday the idea is to celebrate Barbie as a fashion icon, coinciding with her 60th anniversary. Among Barbie’s fashion collaborators: Oscar de la Renta and Jeremy Scott. Diane von Furstenberg, Bob Mackie, and Vera Wang have made special Barbies. — ASSOCIATED PRESS