Stanford University has announced that its rich endowment will not make any direct investment in coal companies, becoming the 12th and most prestigious university to divest under pressure from foes of fossil fuels.
“Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small but constructive step while work continues at Stanford and elsewhere to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in a statement.
Stanford doesn’t disclose its holdings. As of Aug. 31, 2013, its endowment was worth $18.7 billion.
Stanford’s move comes after protests last week by climate activists at other leading universities. Seven students at Washington University in St. Louis were arrested after demanding that Gregory H. Boyce, chief executive of Peabody Energy, resign from the university’s board of trustees, and a student was arrested at Harvard University after a half-dozen students tried to blockade the office of Harvard President Drew Faust.
Bill McKibben, founder of the anti-global warming Web site 350.org, said in a statement, “Stanford, on the edge of Silicon Valley, is at the forefront of the 21st century economy; it’s very fitting, then, that they’ve chosen to cut their ties to the 18th century technology of digging up black rocks and burning them.”
Stanford has also been pressed from within; its board of trustees includes Tom Steyer, a wealthy former hedge fund head who has devoted himself to promoting policies that might slow climate change.
— Steven Mufson
Shares of Twitter sank nearly 18 percent to a new low for the year in frenzied trading Tuesday as early investors sold stock in the microblogging service for the first time after a six-month “lock-up” expired. The company lost more than $4 billion of its market value.
The stock closed at $31.85. On a consolidated basis, more than 130 million shares changed hands — 10 times the daily average volume for the last 50 days.
The lock-up agreement that expired this week applied to about 470 million shares, or 82 percent of Twitter’s equity, held by insiders, venture capitalists and other investors. Twitter allowed one batch of shares to be sold in February, but that lockup governed only about 10 million shares, most of which were held by non-executive employees.
Twitter’s shares have been trading at all-time lows since April 29, when the company disclosed sagging usage metrics. Concerns about user growth and engagement levels have wiped out about half of Twitter’s market value, more than $18 billion, since late December, even though the company has hit revenue targets in the two quarters since it went public at $26 a share.
● The chief operating officer of the Federal Housing Finance Agency is facing a felony charge of threatening to kill the agency’s former top official, according to District police and Superior Court records. Richard Hornsby last week threatened to shoot Edward J. DeMarco, former acting director of the FHFA, and then kill himself, according to an April 29 police report. DeMarco, 53, who retired from the agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on April 30, was taken to a secure location while Hornsby, 58, was arrested.
● Ben S. Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, has a book deal. Bernanke’s agreement is with publisher W.W. Norton for a book that will cover his years at the Fed and his response to the financial crisis. Norton said the work, currently untitled, is scheduled for release in 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed for the book, which was the object of a multi-day auction among publishers. Bernanke was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, who brokered a seven-figure deal for Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan.
● General Motors is recalling nearly 60,000 Saturn Aura midsize cars because the automatic transmission shift levers can show the wrong gear. The automaker said it has known about the problem for more than two years. The malfunction, caused by failure of the transmission shift cable, has led to 28 crashes and four injuries but no deaths during the past seven years, GM said. An Aura can roll away unexpectedly because the driver may think the car is in “Park” when it’s in another gear.
● Whole Foods Market cut its 2014 same-store sales and earnings forecast for the third time amid rising competition in the natural and organic grocery sector that it dominates, and shares tumbled almost 15 percent. Whole Foods’ new 2014 forecasts call for earnings per share in the range of $1.52 to $1.56, down from $1.58 to $1.65. Same-store sales, a major gauge of performance for retailers, rose a weaker-than-expected 4.5 percent for the fiscal second quarter. Net income was flat at $142 million, or 38 cents per share, compared with a year earlier.
● Subway is testing hummus and thinner slices of deli meats. Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer, said in interview that the chain began testing hummus as a topping in early April. In a separate interview, Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca said the chain started testing thinner slices of deli meat in December. In the test, which is taking place at restaurants in Illinois, DeLuca said franchisees are putting 12 slices of meat on a foot-long sandwich, instead of eight.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: First-quarter productivity.
● Earnings: Duke Energy, King Digital Entertainment, Mondelez, Tesla, 21st Century Fox.