Bank of America profit slumps on $2.9 billion tax charge

Bank of America Corp's fourth-quarter profit nearly halved as it booked a $2.9 billion charge stemming from the new federal tax law.

Other large U.S banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, have also reported charges in their fourth-quarter results because the new law requires them to reassess their deferred tax assets and pay tax on profits kept abroad.

Deutsche Bank to move fewer London jobs than expected on Brexit

FRANKFURT  - Deutsche Bank expects far fewer staff than some had expected to move from London to the continent following Britain's departure from the European Union.

"Not thousands will move from London, but rather hundreds", Stefan Hoops, the head of Deutsche Bank's capital market division in Germany, told journalists on Wednesday.


M and S to shake-up clothing supply chain with new centre

LONDON - Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it would open a huge new clothing and homeware logistics centre in 2019, as part of the British retailer's strategy of simplifying its distribution network.

M&S revised its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, saying it needed further changes to modernise the clot

UK banks take steps to ease fallout from Carillion collapse

LONDON- Britain's banks are offering overdraft extensions and other emergency measures to help firms hit by the collapse of construction company Carillion, the banking sector's trade body said on Wednesday.

Britain's biggest corporate failure in a decade took place after banks pulled the plug, but UK Finance said lenders were taking steps to ease the impac

Renault-Nissan to pursue plans to split up various management roles: Ghosn

PARIS - Renault-Nissan is to pursue its plans of splitting up management roles between those dealing with strategic matters and those handling more operational affairs, said Renault boss Carlos Ghosn.

"Regarding corporate governance, you will see changes in terms of separating the responsibilities of those dealing with Renault, with Nissan, with Mitsubishi and wi

Exclusive: J and J attracts Chinese interest for diabetes business in potential $3-4 billion deal - sources

By Kane Wu

HONG KONG  - Chinese bidders are circling a diabetes care business owned by the world's largest healthcare company Johnson & Johnson in a deal that could fetch up to $4 billion, five people with direct knowledge told Reuters.

New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J said in January last year it was evaluating options for its diabetes care co

EU ombudsman urges ECB`s Draghi to leave G30 club of financiers

By Francesco Canepa

FRANKFURT  - European Central Bank President Mario Draghi should give up his membership of the opaque Group of 30 consultative body because it risks hurting public confidence in the ECB's independence, the European Ombudsman said on Wednesday.

The G30 is an international panel of senior figures from the finance industry, academia

Big U.S. lenders reap benefits of higher rates, but savers not so much

By David Henry

NEW YORK - The U.S. Federal Reserve began steadily raising interest rates one year ago, offering a long-awaited tailwind for bank earnings because lenders can charge borrowers more for loans.

But ask bankers when they will start paying more for the money that savers have in their deposit accounts, and the answer is: not any time soon.

Euro zone inflation slows as expected in December, core rate stable

BRUSSELS  - Cheaper phone calls, clothes and vegetables slowed consumer price growth in December as expected despite more expensive fuel and cigarettes while the core inflation measure watched by the European Central Bank was stable, data showed on Wednesday.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said consumer inflation in the 19 countries sharing t

Analysis: Euro surge threatens profitable bond trades

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON - The euro's sizzling January rally is undermining one of the most profitable bond market trades of recent years by potentially raising hedging costs and thereby eroding profits of overseas investors.

Japanese and U.S. investors have long bought European sovereign bonds despite many offering a negative yield. They are attracte

Economists call for overhaul of euro zone, creation of joint "safe assets"

By Michael Nienaber

BERLIN - Leading economists from France and Germany on Wednesday weighed into the politically heated debate about making the euro zone more resilient against future crises by calling for new fiscal rules and the creation of a virtual euro area "safe asset".

The proposals are meant to bridge German demands for more fiscal discipl

Hyundai Motor Group pledges 45,000 hires, $22 billion investment over five years

By Joyce Lee and Shin-hyung Lee

SEOUL  - South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group pledged to hire about 45,000 people over the next five years amid an emphasis on jobs by the government, but analysts doubted if the conglomerate would meet the goal as it was eyeing cost cuts to counter sluggish sales.

South Korea's finance ministry announced on Wednesda

GM, DHL use a Chinese plant to lead manufacturing change

By Norihiko Shirouzu

LIUZHOU, China,   - Inside General Motors Co's vehicle assembly plant in this southern China city, many workers wear the red-and-yellow uniforms of DHL, the logistics company.

The DHL employees work side-by-side with GM workers handling the flow of parts within the plant, which builds about 400,000 Baojun brand vehicles a y

Global stocks pull back from record highs, set for second day of losses in new year

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON  - World shares pulled back from record highs on Wednesday, set for only their second day of losses in the new year as lower commodity prices and a string of downbeat updates from companies dampened the mood in global markets.

European bourses opened lower, mirroring moves in Asia and Wall Street overnight, as earnings updates

Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit

LONDON  - Standard Chartered said on Wednesday it had established a business unit to invest in financial technology and promote innovation.

Dubbed SC Ventures, it will include internal consultants to help the rest of the group solve problems with technology and a team to sponsor and oversee new disruptive technology ventures owned by StanChart.


South Africa prosecutors to serve McKinsey with court order on Wednesday

JOHANNESBURG  - South African prosecutors will serve a court order on Wednesday to consultancy McKinsey and a local firm controlled by friends of President Jacob Zuma regarding a contract with state utility Eskom, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

Luvuyo Mfaku also said the NPA would meet lawyers from the two companies on Thursday. Of

Juncker says would like Britain to rejoin EU after Brexit

STRASBOURG - EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker renewed an offer to Britain on Wednesday to stay in the European Union and said he hoped that even if it goes through with Brexit it would apply to rejoin the bloc.

Speaking to the European Parliament, where he had endorsed a statement on Tuesday by European Council President Donald Tusk that Britain would be welcome

After FT`s Interserve report, Britain says none of its suppliers are comparable to Carillion

LONDON - Britain said that it does not believe any of its suppliers are in a comparable position to failed outsourcer Carillion after the Financial Times reported that the government was monitoring peer Interserve due to concern over its finances.

"We monitor the financial health of all of our strategic suppliers, including Interserve.  We are in regular dis

After Carillion, Interserve shares hit by report that UK is monitoring firm

By Alistair Smout

LONDON - Shares in British construction and services firm Interserve plunged on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that ministers are "very worried" and have set up a team of officials to monitor the company.

The FT report came after the collapse of competitor Carillion on Monday highlighted concerns over the outsourcing

Facebook and YouTube helping MSMEs drive business growth

 Facebook and YouTube have become the platforms of choice for the Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), accounting for 80 per cent of their total social media traffic, followed by Instagram, Blogger and Quora, a report said on Wednesday.

According to Bengaluru-based integrated solutions provider Instamojo, Facebook and Youtube drive the highest traffic at 60 per cen

Ride-hailing firm Grab buys India-based payments startup

SINGAPORE  - Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab said it has acquired an India-based payments startup, iKaaz, to help expand its digital payments platform GrabPay.

Grab, which competes with Uber Technologies, said the flexibility and scalability of iKaaz's technology made it ideally suitable for Southeast Asia's diverse payments landscape and large unb

Scandal-hit KPMG South Africa appoints new chairman

JOHANNESBURG  - The South African arm of global audit firm KPMG said on Wednesday it had appointed veteran public servant and former chairman of the Development Bank of Southern Africa Wiseman Nkuhlu as its chairman.

KPMG sacked its South African leadership in September after it found work done for companies owned by the Gupta family, accused by a public watchdog

Apple, Tencent reach `understanding` over WeChat tips

Resolving its long standing issues with Tencent, the owner of WeChat, Apple has now allowed the social platform to send tips over the popular messaging app.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, WeChat creator Allen Zhang revealed Apple and China-based multinational conglomerate Tencent have reached an agreement over tips.

"In the past, companies like Apple

Microsoft tops Thomson Reuters top 100 global tech leaders list

Thomson Reuters Corp  on Wednesday published its debut "Top 100 Global Technology Leaders" list with Microsoft Corp in the no. 1 spot, followed by chipmaker Intel Corp  and network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc .

The list, which aims to identify the industry's top financially successful and organisationally sound organizations, features U.S. tech giants such as

General Electric reignites break-up talk after $11 billion insurance, tax hit

By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK  - General Electric Co indicated it is looking closely at breaking itself up on Tuesday as the conglomerate announced more than $11 billion in charges from its long-term care insurance portfolio and new U.S. tax laws.

Chief Executive John Flannery has previously raised the idea of selling pieces of the largest U.S. industrial com