Newsweek today released its third annual Green Rankings, a leading benchmark for rating the largest publicly owned companies in the United States and around the world. Again this year they divided the rankings into two surveys, the top U.S. companies and the top global companies, this year increasing the number of global companies to 500 from 100. By far it’s tech companies leading the packs, from IBM (who scored #1 and #2 on U.S. and the Global lists respectively) to Hewlett-Packard, BT Group and Infosys among others. Newsweek’s comprehensive online package includes articles to mull including Cary Krosinsky’s report that companies and their shareholders “make out like bandits when they’re environmentally responsible” and a closer look at “Obama’s Big Green Mess” by Daniel Stone and Eleanor Clift as well as other nuggets on the state of green business in faltering economies and abandoned plans for policy reform at the governmental level. “Big companies have decided that this is a long-term play,” Thomas Lyon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is quoted as saying in Ian Yarett’s intro. Newsweek partnered with environmental research groups Trucost and Sustainalytics to put together the benchmark, and the methodology combines an environmental impact score, an environmental management score, and an environmental disclosure score. Newsweek’s top 10 green U.S. companies: 1. IBM 2. Hewlett-Packard 3. Sprint Nextel 4. Baxter 5. Dell 6. Johnson & Johnson 7. Accenture’ 8. Office Depot 9. CA Technologies 10. Nvidia Newsweek’s top 10 green global companies: 1. Munich Re 2. IBM 3. National Australia Bank 4. Bradesco 5. ANZ Banking Group 6. BT Group 7. Tata Consultancy Services 8. Infosys 9. Philips 10. Swisscom (Photo above shows a worker behind a logo at the IBM stand on the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, February 26, 2011.
* Investors also mull U.S., Japanese earnings* China data weighs on exporter sharesBy Lisa Twaronite and Hideyuki SanoTOKYO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell 1.6 percent in thin trade on Tuesday, slipping from a six-week high on concerns that Europe’s plan to contain its debt crisis might not be as fast and comprehensive as some investors had expected.Shares in Olympus Corp continued to plunge in volatile trading, ending down 9 percent and having lost 43 percent of their value since it ousted its CEO, with the camera maker under pressure to disclose details of payments to advisers in the buyout of a UK-based medical equipment firm.Exporters, which had benefited from optimism on the euro zone’s debt plan, underperformed the overall market and were also pressured by news that China’s economic expansion slowed in the third quarter to its weakest pace since early 2009.”The China data wasn’t so bad, only slightly below expectations, but investors worried that it would be taken as a reason to sell by overseas markets later in the session, and lately the Japanese market has taken most of its cues from overseas factors,” said Masayoshi Okamoto, head of dealing at Jujiya Securities.Germany deflated hopes for a quick end to Europe’s debt woes, when its finance minister said on Monday that a summit of EU leaders next Sunday would not produce a “definitive solution” to the region’s sovereign debt crisis.But some strategists said that expectations for Europe’s plan could rise again as quickly as they fell.”Stocks rallied in recent sessions on positive news from Europe and expectations of more to come, and then they corrected, but the weekend meeting could reassure investors and prompt them to buy back shares,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.The Nikkei average closed down 1.6 percent at 8,741.91, while the broader Topix index lost 1.4 percent to 751.24. More than six shares fell for each one that rose.Volume on the main board was 1.17 billion shares, the lowest since late December. Turnover on the main board was also the lowest since then, with Olympus accounting for one-eighth of the total.Support for the Nikkei is seen around 8,689, a 38.2 percent retracement of its rally to Monday’s six-week closing high from its Oct. 5 low, and then at its 25-day moving average, now around 8,650.”As long as the Nikkei stays above its 25-day moving average, I think the market’s uptrend will continue,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama, an analyst at Monex Securities, adding that he thinks the market is in a rising trend after forming a double bottom in late September to early October.UNDER PRESSUREOlympus continued to trade heavily, ending the morning session 1 percent higher, only to give back the gains in the afternoon and crash to a fresh 2-1/2 year low of 1,281 yen before ending at 1,417 yen.Ousted Chief Executive Michael Woodford has accused the board of firing him for probing allegations of improper payments related to acquisitions, according to media reports.The company told investors on Monday that it may take legal action against Woodford, accusing him of disclosing confidential information in media interviews.Investors are also focused on this week’s U.S. corporate earnings, including those from Apple Inc , Intel Goldman Sachs and Bank of America .Japanese companies will also release earnings beginning in the final week of October. Analysts are generally upbeat on the past quarter as companies are recovering from the damage from the earthquake and nuclear accident in March.Still, the yen’s strength and signs of slowdown in the global economy are hurting some companies, especially exporters.Yaskawa Electric , which cut its operating profit outlook for the year to March to 14 billion yen from 20 billion yen on the strong yen and slow sales of motors used in chipmaking equipment, saw active trade, dropping 1.6 percent to 617 yen.KDDI Corp fell 4.3 percent to 558,000 yen, while rival Softbank shed 2.9 percent to 2,475 yen after Japanese business daily FujiSankei Business i reported that the nation’s biggest phone operator NTT DoCoMo is considering a cut of about 20 percent in its fees for smartphones.Docomo shares fell 2.3 percent to 136,500 yen.
The decision was made on the basis of a medical examination, carried out following a surprise visit to the elderly billionaire’s home in June, which concluded she was suffering from a form of dementia.Liliane Bettencourt’s wealth and revenues, including her 30 percent stake in L’Oreal — will now be managed by her daughter Francoise Meyers-Bettencourt and her children. Jean-Victor Meyers, Bettencourt’s grandson, will be responsible for her health and physical well-being.”It is a decision that is deeply disappointing that I will find hard to inform Mrs Bettencourt about,” the heiress’s lawyer said, adding he planned to lodge an appeal.Francoise Meyers-Bettencourt and her children welcomed the ruling, saying they had always acted to protect Bettencourt’s interests and were “immensely relieved” the court had finally agreed to their demands.They also said the family holding company Tethys would continue to manage the family’s voting rights in L’Oreal. Separately, Swiss food group Nestle said the court decision would in no way affect a shareholder agreement between the two groups.Nestle, which owns 31 percent of L’Oreal, struck a deal with the Bettencourts in 2004, giving each party first refusal for their L’Oreal shares for 10 years. Moreover, neither party can increase its L’Oreal stake during Liliane Bettencourt’s lifetime and for six months after her death, a spokesperson for Nestle said in a statement.FRANCE’S RICHEST WOMANWith a fortune estimated at 17 billion euros ($23.6 billion), Liliane Bettencourt is the wealthiest woman in France and the 15th richest person in the world, according to the Forbes rich list.She declared a truce with her daughter in December in a long-running legal feud, after Meyers-Bettencourt withdrew her request to have her mother placed under the supervision of a guardian, and the two made a show of unity.However, the spat reignited over the summer when Bettencourt said her daughter need to seek psychological help.Doctors had advised appointing a guardian in June, but that request was dismissed on a technicality after an appeals court said the request was invalid.French daily Le Monde said on Monday the medical examination in June found Bettencourt was unable to answer various test questions, and was suffering from anosognosia, a condition where a person is unaware of his or her disability.In an interview in Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, the wealthy heiress showed fighting spirit, threatening to leave the country if she were placed under guardianship.The Bettencourt affair initially centred on Francois-Marie Banier, a celebrity photographer whom Meyers-Bettencourt accused of swindling her mother to the tune of up to a billion euros.But it quickly ballooned into a broader political scandal involving allegations, denied by Bettencourt, of tax evasion and illegal funding of ruling UMP party members.Although charges against Banier have been dropped, investigations are still ongoing into the funding claims.At the end of August, French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office denied allegations published in a national newspaper he was handed cash by the L’Oreal heiress for his 2007 election campaign.($1 = 0.721 Euros)
* Results due after Thursday market closeBy Alexei OreskovicSAN FRANCISCO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Google Inc’s plans to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc and the health of its advertising business will be in the spotlight when the Internet search leader reports quarterly results on Thursday.Analysts expect Google to deliver solid financial results in the recently ended quarter, with revenue up more than 30 percent year-on-year at $7.21 billion.But the darkening economic picture is raising concerns that advertisers could pull back on spending in the months ahead, cutting into revenue and profit margins at Google, which derived 96 percent of its revenue last year from advertising.”We’ll see some of those concerns if we start to see pricing come down a little bit,” said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Herman Leung, referring to the cost per click that Google charges advertisers.Still, he noted that Google’s online search advertising should fare better than other types of ad businesses in a slowing economy.Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expect Google to post earnings of $8.74 per share, excluding certain items, during the third quarter.Google has been on a spending spree for the past year, boosting its headcount and acquiring dozens of companies as it seeks to counter competitive pressure from the likes of Facebook and Apple Inc .In August, Google announced plans to acquire mobile phone vendor Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion. The deal, which Google expects to close late this year or early 2012, will give it one of the wireless industry’s largest patent libraries, as well as hardware manufacturing operations that will allow Google to develop its own line of smartphones.But analysts and investors worry that Google is entering a low-margin business in which it has no experience. A move to build its own phones could also jeopardize support for Google’s free Android mobile software from other phone manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and HTC Corp .Google’s stock is down 2.7 percent since mid-August when it announced plans to acquire Motorola, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up roughly 2.2 percent during that time.Investors are eager for more details about Google’s mobile strategy, as well as for an update on the health of its mobile advertising and its online display advertising.Google does not disclose results for either of those businesses, although it provided investors with a peek in the third quarter of 2010. The company said at the time that its mobile business was generating revenue at a $1 billion annual run rate and that its display business was generating revenue at a $2.5 billion run rate.Google’s recently launched social networking service, Google+, is also on investor radars. Its effort to challenge Facebook’s dominance in the red-hot social networking market got off to a fast start in June, collecting 10 million users in the first two weeks.But Google has not provided an update on the service since then, and some media reports have suggested that user interest in the service is flagging.Google will report its third-quarter results after the market closes on Thursday.
MetLife has also said it might sell its depository business and de-register as a bank holding company.MetLife Home Loans will continue to make traditional mortgages while the insurer decides whether to sell the business. The company said it will continue to service its mortgage clients.MetLife Home Loans, a division of MetLife Bank, began making traditional mortgages and reverse mortgages in 2008.
* Next key support level for Bunds seen at 131.25 -traderBy Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Emelia Sithole-MatariseLONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - German Bund futures hit their lowest levels since mid-August on Wednesday after poor demand at a sale of 30-year paper and as a stock rally inspired investors to take profits.The German sale of 1.625 billion euros of 30-year bonds drew less in bids than the amount on offer, with demand below the average at long-term auctions this year as the low yield and pickup in risk appetite made investors reluctant to hold ultra-long dated Bunds.Data showing euro zone industrial production was much stronger than expected in August, indicating the economic slowdown in the third quarter might be smaller than feared, added to the bearish momentum in Bunds.German 10-year yields looked set to sustain their rise in coming sessions after hitting 2.20 percent — a level last reached nearly six weeks ago.But traders and strategists said the scope for another significant sell-off looked limited in the absence of concrete plans on the debt crisis. The yield was last up 10.9 basis points on the day at 2.2 percent.”To sustain those super low levels of yields in the safe-havens you need a constant stream of (bad news), the idea that the wheels will fall off tomorrow,” said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities explaining the recent surge in German yields.”Otherwise (there is a) temptation to look at something that actually offers you a genuine return on your money, particularly for real money investors.”The German Bund future has fallen through key technical levels in recent days hitting its lowest level since mid August earlier in the session.It posted a settlement close of 133.56, down 99 ticks on the day, as European shares hit a nine-week closing high.One trader said the momentum could persist, with the next key support level only coming in at 131.25.Signs that euro zone officials are making plans aimed at stemming the crisis have fueled gains in equity markets at the expense of bonds in recent weeks, even as concrete details have been fleeting.EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on EU leaders to bring forward the introduction of a permanent rescue mechanism for states to mid-2012 from mid-2013 and for more rigorous capital standards for banks. But traders said there was little new in his proposals.Parties in Slovakia’s fallen government struck a deal with the leftist opposition on Wednesday to ratify a plan to bolster the euro zone’s rescue fund by Friday. But some analyst say the drawn-out process in Slovakia highlights the political hurdles that plans for a further leveraging of the euro zone rescue fund may face.”The potential for a further significant sell-off (in Bunds) is very limited at least in coming days as the next step is what decision will be taken ahead of the G20 on the bank recapitalisation,” BNP Paribas strategist Patrick Jacq said.ITALIAN APPETITEHighlighting the nervousness still plaguing the market, Italian and Spanish bond yields rose. Italian 10-year bond yields were up 10.9 bps at 5.74 percent while equivalent Spanish bonds were up 9.6 bps at 5.12 percent .The fall in Italian bond prices came ahead of bond sales on Thursday, when market appetite for debt from the euro zone’s third-largest economy will be tested after Moody’s and Fitch downgraded its credit ratings.Alongside a planned auction of five-, seven- and 10-year debt on Thursday, the Italian Treasury added longer-dated bonds maturing in 2025.”We have supply tomorrow and no SMP (Securities Market Programme) buying, thus the concession has to be built-in by the market,” a trader said.
“We decided that as the first point of (Thursday’s) parliamentary session, we will work on a proposal to shorten the voting period, with the goal of organising an election on March 10. Immediately after, tomorrow or Friday, we will debate proposals related to the EFSF,” said Mikulas Dzurinda, foreign minister under Radicova’s cabinet.
“We contend that decision was illegal and irresponsible,” David Baron, a lawyer for Earthjustice, told reporters in a conference call. “It was illegal because it was based on politics instead of protecting peoples’ health which is what the Clean Air Act requires.”He said the decision leaves thousands of people at risk of illness and premature death stemming from emissions of smog-forming chemicals.The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.President Barack Obama said in September the decision was part of an effort to reduce regulatory burdens for business.The EPA has been under pressure from businesses and Republicans in the House of Representatives to delay or weaken a raft of rules on emissions of mercury, greenhouse gases and other pollutants.Smog standards can affect big polluters like coal burning power generators such as American Electric Power and Southern Corp.Lisa Jackson, U.S. EPA administrator, had wanted to strengthen a 2008 standard on smog — 75 parts per billion in ambient air — put forward when George W. Bush was president.But with the White House blocking a tougher rule, Jackson’s office will enforce the old standard.The EPA, which plans to propose revisions to the standards in 2013, did not immediately answer requests for comment on the lawsuit.(Web link to the suit: link.reuters.com/vyc44s )
Schlumberger supports other companies working in the oil and gas industry by supplying technology and project management services for activities such as drilling and well cementing.Oil production restarted in Libya in early September.
MOSCOW Oct 11 (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday it saw an “obvious anti-Russian subtext” to Ukraine’s conviction and sentencing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of office in relation to a 2009 gas deal that she brokered with Russia.”The gas agreements in question were drawn up in strict compliance with the laws of Russia and Ukraine and the applicable norms of international law,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.”In relation to that, we cannot help but notice an obvious anti-Russian subtext to the entire saga.”Tymoshenko’s three-month trial ended on Tuesday as a Ukrainian judge handed her a seven-year sentence — the maximum sought by state prosecutors — in a case widely regarded in the West as politically orchestrated.Moscow’s reading of the case contradicted its traditional loyalties in Ukraine. Tymoshenko was a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought pro-Western leader Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency.Russia has struck a much softer tone towards Kiev since 2010 and the beginning of the term of current President Viktor Yanukovich, who is seen as closer to Moscow.The deal struck between Ukraine and Russia in 2009 was greeted with relief by the EU since it ended a pricing dispute that led to disruptions in gas supplies to parts of the bloc.Ukraine has demanded that Russia renegotiate the gas contracts. But talks have proceeded at a snail’s pace and include conditions from Moscow that would force Ukraine into a customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.That would rule out a free trade deal between Ukraine and the European Union that Kiev wants to nail down this year.On Tuesday, Russia said it would continue seeking to find “mutually acceptable decisions in the gas sphere” with Ukraine.