The Week Unpeeled
The big headlines in the business press continued to focus on bearish news on the European economy (and surprisingly not a whole lot on Walmart/Mexico) with the UK dipping back into recession and Spain posting a jobless rate of 25%, an 18-year high. In the US, a slowdown in growth (GDP rose only by an annualized 2.2 percent) in the first quarter but stocks nonetheless managed its biggest weekly advance in a month, the Dow rising 23 points Friday to end at 13,228 (Amazon results helped). No wonder that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is going on the block this week, expected to fetch as much as $80 million.
- The Fed said it will keep short-term rates near zero until late 2014;
- The US filed its first criminal charges tied to the BP oil spill, two years after the accident;
- Apple’s quarterly profit nearly doubled, with iPhone shipments up 88 percent, thanks in part of China;
- Sentiment in the UK has dropped following figures released this week that show that the UK is double-dipping down after a 0.2% contraction in the economy in the first quarter of the year;
- Spain received more bad news with a credit downgrade from Standard and Poor's, and retail sales slumped for the 21st consecutive month;
- Papers were dominated by Rupert Murdoch’s admission to the Leveson inquiry that there was a “cover up” at the News of the World and that he wished he closed the paper “years before.” He insisted he knew nothing about the scale of the phone-hacking until late 2010 and admitted it was a “serious blot on my reputation”; and
- Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt, under pressure this week for his dealings with Murdoch’s media empire, said he will hand over text messages and e-mails relating to his role in a failed bid by Mr. Murdoch to take full control of BSkyB, the UK’s main satellite broadcaster.