The Cable

Antigua Daily Observer – Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine has assured the public across the region that there is “no immediate concern” over the $10 million in losses recorded for 2016, arguing that yearly losses are reducing.

 

Antoine also advised that the ECCB is not a profit making institution, and therefore the losses are not as alarming as they may seem at first glance.

 

“The Central Bank has made losses for the last three years– $18 million in 2014, $12 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2016. The good news is that we’re actually seeing a reduction in those losses. “There is no immediate concern. The central bank is not in the business of making profit,” the governor said.

 

According to him, the “principal reason” for the losses was because of the “low interest rate environment” in the global market. “We earn our income principally by investing our reserves in the international markets and use the interest income from those reserves to take care of our expenses.

 

“As a result of these low rates we’ve seen losses in recent times,” Antoine explained. He added, “We are beginning to reverse that and we expect that before long the bank will return to profitability.”

 

The governor was speaking at the press conference following the 85th meeting of the ECCB Monetary Council in Antigua & Barbuda recently.

 

When OBSEVER media asked if the ECCB should diversify its investment portfolio Antoine said “no”.

 

 

“We invest in very safe securities because of the backing of the EC dollar. Now the safer the securities, the lower the interest rates because it’s a risk reward paradigm.

Wall Street was little changed on Tuesday morning as investors assessed a host of corporate earnings reports and braced for the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

 

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting later in the day to decide whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike.

 

The central bank, which will announce its decision at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, is not expected to pull the trigger on interest rates in the near term as inflation remains below its 2 percent target and global growth continues to sputter.

 

Traders have priced in an 18.7 percent chance of a rate increase in September and a 42.8 percent chance in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

 

Investors are also awaiting earnings from key companies such as Apple (AAPL.O) and Twitter (TWTR.N), which are set to report results later in the day.

Strong economic data, an improvement in quarterly earnings and low expectations of a rate hike have spurred Wall Street to record highs in the past two weeks.

"Earnings continue to beat expectations on an adjusted basis but I think the markets will wait to hear what central bankers have to say tomorrow," said John Brady, senior vice president at R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.

 

"While investors do not seem to care that earnings have been lower, the U.S. equity market remains the tallest midget in the crowd," Brady added.

 

Of the 129 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings as of Monday, 68 percent topped analysts' estimates. In a typical quarter, 63 percent of companies beat expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

 

At 9:40 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 5.55 points, or 0.03 percent, at 18,498.61. Three of its six components that reported results, including Verizon (VZ.N) and 3M (MMM.N), were lower on weak results.

 

The S&P 500 index .SPX was up 2.2 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,170.68.

 

The Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 8.66 points, or 0.17 percent, at 5,106.29.

 

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.5 percent rise in technology stocks .SPLRCT.

 

McDonald's (MCD.N) shares dropped 3.4 percent to $123, after the restaurant chain's comparable sales missed analysts' expectations. The stock weighed the most on the Dow.

 

 

Texas Instruments (TXN.O) shares rose 6.6 percent after its current quarter forecast beat analysts' estimates. The stock provided the biggest boost to the S&P.

It’s official.

 

Sagicor Financial Corporation has completed its headquarters move from Barbados to Bermuda, at least on paper.

 

In a brief statement Thursday, the company announced that “further to the grant of approval by its shareholders at a meeting held on June 8, 2016, the company has continued as an exempted company under the laws of Bermuda with effect from July 20, 2016 under the name Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited”.

 

The company first announced its intention to relocate in January last year, following Standard & Poor’s downgrade of Sagicor Life’s rating from BB+ to BB-, and Sagicor Finance Ltd’s US$150 million ten-year senior unsecured notes to B from BB-.

 

This came on the heels of the lowering of Barbados’ sovereign rating to B from BB- by the same international ratings agency, less than two weeks prior.

 

Company officials had also announced that three jurisdictions – Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and Bermuda – were chosen as the most favourable jurisdictions to redomicile. However, after careful research by experts, Bermuda was chosen.

 

Sagicor is a leading provider of financial services in the Caribbean. Operating in 22 countries, including the USA and Latin America, Sagicor has total assets of US $6.4 billion and $739 million in capital.  The Sagicor Group offers a wide range of products and services including life insurance, pensions, annuities, group and individual health, banking and asset management.

 

 

A widely held publicly- traded company with over 36,000 shareholders, the company is currently listed on the stock exchanges of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and London.

Sprint Corp (S.N) reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue on Monday as big discounts helped it attract more postpaid subscribers, and the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier said it had enough money to fund its business this year.

 

Analysts and investors had raised questions about Sprint's financial position after majority owner SoftBank Corp (9984.T) agreed earlier this month to buy UK chipmaker ARM Holdings Plc (ARM.L) for $32 billion.

 

"We expect that we will have adequate sources to provide all the capital necessary to fund the business and repay the debt maturities due in FY 16," Chief Financial Officer Tarek Robbiati said on a conference call with analysts.

 

Sprint, whose shares rose more than 18 percent in early trading, reported 173,000 postpaid wireless additions in the three months ended June 30 - the biggest increase for any first quarter in nine years.

 

That compared with a net loss of 12,000 subscribers in the same period last year.

 

The quarter also had the lowest postpaid phone churn in the company's history, Chief Executive Marcelo Claure said in a statement. Postpaid phone user churn, or the rate at which subscribers defect to other networks, was 1.39 percent.

 

"We believe the turnaround story is taking shape," Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said in a client note.

 

However, the company's net loss widened to $302 million, or 8 cents per share, in the period from $20 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier.

 

The latest quarter included contract termination charges of $113 million, primarily related to an agreement with wireless carrier Ntelos.

 

Sprint, in which Japan's SoftBank holds a more than 80 percent stake, said its net operating revenue fell marginally to $8.01 billion. Analysts on average had expected $7.98 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

 

 

Up to Friday's close of $4.62, Sprint's shares had risen 27.6 percent since the start of the year.

(Reuters) Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) is focusing on U.S. telecommunications company Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) as the buyer of its core business to after reviewing final bids that it received this week, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

A deal would boost Verizon's AOL internet business, which the company acquired last year for $4.4 billion, by giving it access to Yahoo's advertising technology tools, as well other assets such as search, mail, messenger and real estate. These synergies have made Verizon the favorite among industry analysts to prevail in the auction.

The sale would also mark the end of Yahoo as an operating company, leaving it only as the owner of a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, as well as its 15 percent interest in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N). Those two stakes account for most of Yahoo's $37 billion market capitalization.

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