Economy and business digest

March 22, 2013
stocks
Dow, Nasdaq end week down slightly

U.S. stocks rose Friday on optimism that a deal to bail out Cyprus would be reached but ended lower for the week for just the second time this year.

Nike shares jumped 11.1 percent to $59.53 and hit a record intraday high at $60.23, a day after the athletic-shoe maker reported stronger-than-expected results. The news lifted consumer discretionary stocks, with the S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector index ending up 1.2 percent, leading the S&P 500 higher.

The S&P 500 ended the week down 0.2 percent, which was just its second weekly decline of the year, as investors were alarmed that Europe’s debt crisis would again roil markets over Cyprus’s financial troubles.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 90.54 points, or 0.63 percent, to end at 14,512.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 11.09 points, or 0.72 percent, to finish at 1556.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 22.40 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 3245.00.

For the week, the Dow dipped just 0.01 percent, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.1 percent.

— Reuters

treasury
Bankers may face fines for evasion help

The Treasury Department plans to hold bankers personally responsible and will subject them to fines if their banks help countries such as Iran evade economic sanctions.

The shift is in line with recently declared intentions to hold individual bankers liable for failures to prevent laundering of drug money and other criminal proceeds, a Treasury spokesman told Reuters.

“Although sanctions enforcement cases involving financial institutions have typically concluded with civil penalties at the corporate level, individuals can and do face liability . . . when they are personally responsible for sanctions violations, and Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control will take appropriate enforcement action in these circumstances,” Treasury spokesman John Sullivan said this week.

Treasury’s OFAC is responsible for administering the U.S. sanctions regime and can fine parties that violate it. While the office has levied big financial penalties against banks — most recently Britain’s HSBC and Standard Chartered — it has not exercised its authority to penalize individual bankers. The office lacks authority to directly pursue other penalties, such as jail time.

In the future, where there is evidence suggesting specific bankers were “directing” sanctions-evading activity at an offending bank, OFAC will seek to hold those individuals responsible, Sullivan said. If warranted, it will refer to the Justice Department for possible prosecution cases involving individual bankers, he said.

— Reuters

Also in Business

l  Airfares to some of the most popular U.S. and international destinations rose by 25 percent or more last year, and June was the most expensive month to travel, according to the Web site
Kayak.com. “We found that overall airfare increased 17 percent across the board from 2011 to 2012,” said Maria Katime, a Kayak spokeswoman. The costs of flights from North America to Lima soared 33 percent, London fares were up 30 percent, and tickets to New Orleans, Madrid, Munich and Sydney jumped 28 percent.

l  JPMorgan Chase board said
Jamie Dimon should remain the bank’s chairman and chief executive after it halved his pay for failing to properly supervise a unit that generated a record trading loss last year. Calls for Dimon, 57, to give up the chairmanship have been building since the bank disclosed more than $6.2 billion in losses on derivatives trades and failures in risk controls last year.

l  BP will buy back $8 billion of shares from investors after completing the sale of 50 percent of Russian oil producer TNK-BP. BP’s first buyback since 2008 will return the original amount invested in the venture 10 years ago, the London-based company said in a statement Friday.

l  A bankruptcy judge in Manhattan said the newspaper publisher Journal Register can sell its assets to an affiliate of its current owner. The decision clears the way for 21st CMH Acquisition to buy the assets for $114 million in secured debt and $6 million cash.

l  Boeing said on Friday that it would lay off about 800 machinists this year as it reduces its workforce on its 747 and 787 airplane programs. The reductions are part of a long-term plan and don’t necessarily signal any shifts in production rates for either airplane, the company said. All 800 people being laid off are represented by the International Association of Machinists. A union spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

— From news services

Coming Next Week

l  In Sunday Business: Sears and J.C. Penney: What happens when Wall Streeters take over big retailers.

l  On Monday: Earnings announcements by Dollar General, Kayak Software.

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