Top Stories

Syndicate content Yahoo Finance
At Yahoo Finance, you get free stock quotes, up-to-date news, portfolio management resources, international market data, social interaction and mortgage rates that help you manage your financial life.
Updated: 5 hours 9 min ago

How Much Did Athersys, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ATHX) CEO Pocket Last Year?

14 hours 40 min ago

Gil Van Bokkelen became the CEO of Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) in 1995. This analysis aims first to contrast CEO...


Is Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARWR) A Volatile Stock?

14 hours 45 min ago

If you're interested in Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARWR), then you might want to consider its beta (a...


When Should You Buy The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)?

15 hours 12 min ago

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) saw significant share price movement during recent months on the NYSE, rising to...


Top Picks 2020- Altria Group MO

15 hours 16 min ago

Altria Group (MO) is a consumer staples manufacturer; it built its historical growth on its flagship Marlboro cigarette brand, but in recent years has diversified itself beyond tobacco, explains Ben Reynolds, editor of Sure Retirement.


Making Big Oil Pay for Climate Change May Be Impossible

16 hours 16 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil dodged a bullet last month when a judge rejected a novel climate-change lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general. The case began with a promise from state officials that there would be a historic reckoning for the fossil fuel giant.It ended ignominiously as a failed accounting fraud claim.But that was just the beginning. Globally, humans are on the hook for trillions of dollars if they want to sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions, acclimate to the damage already done and prepare for what is yet to come. As more governments and taxpayers find themselves staring down the barrel at rising climate costs, they are increasingly turning to the courts to hold Big Oil accountable.The New York case was an outlier—it sought to make Exxon Mobil investors whole for an alleged bookkeeping bait-and-switch. The majority of U.S. climate litigation out there takes a more direct approach, seeking damages in so-called public nuisance lawsuits. Fossil fuel use runs counter to the inherent right to exist in a non-warming world, the argument goes, and the energy companies knew that right would be infringed when enough of it was burned.About a dozen cities, counties and states have sued Exxon, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and their peers. The suits seek to reimburse taxpayers for the costs associated with adapting to climate change—from building multibillion-dollar sea walls to repairing damage from powerful storms and, perhaps soon, moving whole communities inland.Federal appeals courts on both sides of the country are considering whether such cases may proceed. Their rulings—one of which may come any day—will have a powerful effect on the future of climate change litigation.“Through these cases, we will learn with great detail what the industry knew and when they knew it, and what they did to deceive the public about that knowledge,” said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity that focuses in part on sustainability issues. “They are now leaving the public with an enormous bill.”And it’s not just Americans who are litigating the consequences of global warming. In the Netherlands, the supreme court recently upheld a landmark ruling forcing the government to combat climate change. The case has inspired similar lawsuits in France, Germany, New Zealand and Norway.In the U.S., there is precedent for such a massive attempt at legal redress. A few decades back, the tobacco industry was taken to court by a group of states after decades of holding individual litigants at bay. In the end, the companies settled for $246 billion and agreed to changes in the sale and marketing of cigarettes.But before history can repeat itself, climate litigants have to persuade judges (and the fossil fuel industry) that their lawsuits have a chance of succeeding. So far, their track record hasn’t been that great.Just last week, a novel case filed by a group of young Americans trying to force the government to address climate change was derailed by a federal appeals court panel. The two-judge majority concluded there is no constitutional right to a livable climate. (The plaintiffs say they will appeal.) Moreover, courts have been quick to note (as have defendants) that the production and use of fossil fuel by energy companies, utilities and manufacturers has been central to building modern civilization as we know it.Congress, and not the courts, is where the answer lies, industry lobbyists and lawyers say.Phil Goldberg serves as a special counsel to the National Association of Manufacturers. As such, he’s assumed a leading role in pushing back against climate litigation (an Exxon spokesperson deferred to him when asked about cases filed by Baltimore and Marin County, California). Goldberg argues that federal laws regulating the environment prevent states from foisting their own de facto regulation on the energy industry, and that nuisance suits are just regulation by another name.“They’re claiming that the mere act of selling oil, gas and other energy products is a liability-causing event because there’s downstream impacts from the use of their products,” he said. “There’s no liability if there are downstream impacts from legally using their products.”But since those “downstream impacts” are an accelerating global catastrophe, states and municipalities faced with a deadlocked Congress and a White House bent on unraveling existing climate regulations say the courts are their only hope. “Litigation,” said Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy and chief climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, “is essential to hold Big Oil accountable.”Public nuisance claims (what one judge recently called the “unreasonable interference” with a right “common to the general public”) have been made with varying degrees of success when it came to suits and settlements over lead paint, asbestos, opioids and of course tobacco. But making the theory work with fossil fuels is a different matter altogether.While “the potential liability is far greater,” Wasserman said, “courts have been known to shy away from their responsibility and pass the buck to another branch of government.”But just getting in the door may be enough, said Matt Pawa, a lawyer representing New York City in its climate litigation. If a city or state can survive a motion to dismiss its lawsuit, it usually means a company will be compelled to open its files and submit to depositions.“Important information comes out in litigation—the public learns what’s going on,” Pawa said. “The lawsuits, in a way, are shining a bright light on wrongful conduct.”The evidence climate litigants most want is proof of deception. Energy companies not only sold products they knew would damage the environment, plaintiffs claim, but spent millions of dollars over the decades purposely casting doubt on climate science.“For us, sea level rise is real, it’s not an abstraction.”California’s Marin County, at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, was among the first municipalities to file a nuisance claim against the oil industry. Kate Sears, a county supervisor, said the decision in 2017 was based on actual changes to the physical environment rather than projections. A critical roadway in her community floods regularly due to rising waters from the nearby bay.“For us, sea level rise is real, it’s not an abstraction,” Sears said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate that my taxpayer residents should be on the hook to pay for damages caused by the actions of this industry.”Rhode Island sued oil and gas producers the following year, accusing them of putting its 400 miles of economically crucial coastline at risk. “They profited from what they did, and they knew the effects of what was coming, and they tried to cloud the science,” Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said in an interview.In the Marin County case, defendant energy companies said the lawsuit “wrongfully calls into question” federal policies. In the Rhode Island litigation, the industry claimed the state is blaming oil companies for “global greenhouse gas emissions of countless actors, including Rhode Island and its residents.”These climate lawsuits, said Chevron spokesman Sean Comey, are “designed to punish a few companies in one industry who lawfully deliver” products to consumers. Exxon, Shell and BP either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.Comey’s assertion does illustrate a problem with ascribing specific liability for global warming. Though the starring role of oil, gas and coal producers in the global climate crisis is irrefutable, figuring out how much of global warming is their fault as a whole—not to mention individual companies—may be impossible.For now, most climate cases are bogged down in fights over whether they belong in state or federal court. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed three state court lawsuits to proceed while the jurisdiction fight proceeds. But lower-court federal judges have largely sided with defendants, rejecting nuisance suits by New York City, San Francisco and Oakland. All have been appealed. Other pending nuisance cases have been filed by King County, Washington; Boulder, Colorado; and the cities of Imperial Beach, Santa Cruz and Richmond, California.“Their theory rests on the sweeping proposition that otherwise lawful and everyday sales of fossil fuels, combined with an awareness that greenhouse gas emissions lead to increased global temperatures, constitute a public nuisance,” wrote U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco in a 2018 decision tossing out a climate lawsuit. That same year, U.S. District Judge John Keenan said, in dismissing New York City’s case against Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell, that the “immense and complicated problem of global warming” is for Congress and the administration to fix.A federal appeals court could decide on New York City’s challenge to Keenan’s ruling in the coming weeks, while oral arguments of appeals by San Francisco and Oakland are slated for Feb. 5 before another appellate panel. Decisions in those cases are likely to inform climate litigation choices by other states and cities.Chris Chrisman, a corporate defense lawyer with Holland & Hart in Denver, predicts the courts will ultimately side with the energy industry.“It’s a recognition of the limitations of what state nuisance laws were designed to accomplish,” said Chrisman, who represents energy companies but isn’t involved in the nuisance cases. “They might be able to address the adverse effects of a smokestack going up right next door to your house, but they’re not designed to address a global problem like climate change.”Unsurprisingly, lawyers for the plaintiffs don’t see it that way. They argue their nuisance claims are bolstered by evidence that fossil fuel companies knew the damage their products did, and actively sought to steer public debate elsewhere. Many of the suits also allege negligence for “failure to warn,” negligence for design defects, strict liability and trespass.“For us, sea level rise is real, it’s not an abstraction.”In a lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore, lawyers said energy companies were on notice about their impact on the Earth’s atmosphere in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson’s scientific advisory committee on environmental pollution warned that by 2000, humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions would “modify the heat balance of the atmosphere to such an extent that marked changes in climate … could occur.”Instead of taking action to prevent global warming, Baltimore said the defendants “embarked on a decades-long campaign designed to maximize dependence on their products and undermine national and international efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.”Marin County pointed to a now-defunct industry group whose members included “affiliates, predecessors and/or subsidiaries” of some of the defendants. In 1991, the county alleged in its complaint, the group launched a national climate denial campaign that targeted “less-educated males” in order to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” One of the group’s ads stated “Who told you the Earth was warming ... Chicken Little?”Goldberg, special counsel to the National Association of Manufacturers, said such allegations of corporate deception are “all window dressing to try to drive the public opinion and judicial reaction to it.” The legal effort by climate litigants is evolving, however. In October, a state court case filed by Massachusetts included claims under consumer protection laws, arguing that Exxon misled residents and investors about the environmental impact of the gasoline they buy.“It’s a different kind of case,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in an interview. “Exxon made misrepresentations and failed to disclose material facts about systemic climate change risks.”Exxon, having moved the case to federal court for now, claimed in a November filing that Healey is trying to stop the company “from producing and selling fossil fuels.” In a response filed this month, Healey rejected the company’s argument. She instead compared her claims to tobacco litigation, saying it’s “deceptive advertising and marketing that the Commonwealth is seeking to stop.”Hana Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, said the increasing need to find someone other than taxpayers to pay the costs of climate change will continue to drive state and local governments toward litigation. Nevertheless, she’s skeptical about their chances for victory.“Plaintiffs in the remaining cases may yet see some success at the state level as they refine their claims,” she said. “But the federal court decisions indicate this remains a difficult path.”To contact the author of this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Evaluating STMicroelectronics N.V.’s (EPA:STM) Investments In Its Business

16 hours 31 min ago

Today we'll look at STMicroelectronics N.V. (EPA:STM) and reflect on its potential as an investment. In particular...


Ripple’s IPO could come within 12 months, suggests CEO

17 hours 3 min ago

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, has indicated that the firm could go public in the next 12 months. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Garlinghouse told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that an initial public offering (IPO) is a “natural evolution” for the company. “In the next 12 months, you’ll see IPOs […]The post Ripple’s IPO could come within 12 months, suggests CEO appeared first on The Block.


Hutchison China MediTech Limited Just Released Its Third-Quarter Earnings: Here's What Analysts Think

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 00:52

There's been a notable change in appetite for Hutchison China MediTech Limited (LON:HCM) shares in the week since its...


Edited Transcript of FCEL earnings conference call or presentation 22-Jan-20 3:00pm GMT

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:36

Q4 2019 FuelCell Energy Inc Earnings Call


Intel Gains as Data Center Revival Fuels Revenue Growth

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 20:16

(Bloomberg) -- Intel Corp. gave bullish quarterly and full-year revenue forecasts, driven by a surge in demand for chips that power large cloud-computing centers. The shares jumped as much as 7.8% in late trading.Sales in the current quarter and in 2020 will be well above what analysts had predicted and are outpacing normal industry trends, the chipmaker said on Thursday. Fourth-quarter revenue and profit also topped Wall Street’s highest estimates. As the biggest provider of server chips, Intel is benefiting from a rush to build capacity in data centers operated by companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc’s AWS.“We’re well ahead of our expectations in the quarter and it’s continuing into this year,” Chief Financial Officer George Davis said in an interview. “That’s just a great dynamic.”Revenue from cloud-service providers, which offer computing power and storage via the internet, surged 48% in the fourth quarter, fueling a gain in sales of the company’s most lucrative chips. A spike in demand from these buyers is helping to ease concerns that Intel was losing its technology leadership in computer processors and faced a competitive threat from customers’ own development efforts. Some high-end server chips cost more than compact car.Revenue in the current period will be about $19 billion, and profit will be $1.23 a share, excluding certain items, Intel said. That compares with average analysts’ projections for $17.2 billion and $1.04 a share. Sales in 2020 will be about $73.5 billion, the company said late Thursday in a statement. Analysts were looking for $72.2 billion on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The company’s annual forecast implies growth will abate in the second half of the year, Davis said. Big purchases from data-center owners tend to come in lumps, followed by slower periods when the components are being built into computers.“The hard part is forecasting when they’re going to slow down and digest,” he said.Fourth-quarter sales rose 8% to $20.2 billion, the Santa Clara, California-based company said. Analysts on average had predicted $19.2 billion. Net income was $6.9 billion, or $1.58 a share, compared with estimates for $1.23 a share. Gross margin, or the percentage of sales remaining after deducting the cost of production, was 58.8% in the quarter.The largest U.S. chipmaker has fallen behind rivals in semiconductor-manufacturing technology, sparking concern on Wall Street about sales growth and future profit. In November, the company told PC customers inventory remained tight because of limited manufacturing capacity. Still, executives have said that Intel is targeting a broader range of markets and the company has plenty of room to expand in new areas, such as networking and the auto industry.Intel will increase spending on new plants and equipment to $17 billion in 2020 in part to boost production to a point where it’s not only able to fill all customer orders, but build inventory, Chief Executive Officer Bob Swan said on a conference call. After again failing to meet all demand in the fourth quarter, avoiding a repeat of that mistake is one of his biggest priorities, he said.The company’s struggles with its move to advanced 10-nanometer production are beginning to ease, Swan said. Intel plans to have server chips built with that technique available in the second half.Demand for personal computers held up well in the recent period, Davis said. Global PC shipments rose 2.3% from a year earlier in the December period as companies upgraded to a new version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Intel expects the market this year for PCs to be flat from 2019 as that replacement cycle comes to an end.Intel has more than 80% market share in PC processors, and it controls even more of the server-chip market. In that business, semiconductor rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has fielded new products, and companies such as Amazon have said they’re designing some chips on their own -- leading some analysts to predict Intel would begin to lose business and struggle to grow this year. Intel executives said that part of the reason they’re predicting less growth for the second half is the expectation that competition will intensify.So far, there’s no sign of that hurting the company’s performance. In the fourth quarter, Intel’s data center unit reported a sales increase of 19% to $7.2 billion. PC-chip sales gained 2% to $10 billion. The company’s programmable-chip unit was the only division to post a decline. Sales at the Mobileye unit, which makes chips used to help vehicles pilot themselves, grew 31% to $240 million.(Updates with comment from CEO in 10th paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Is Xiaomi (HKG:1810) Using Too Much Debt?

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 19:39

Legendary fund manager Li Lu (who Charlie Munger backed) once said, 'The biggest investment risk is not the volatility...


Boeing reschedules 777X plane's first test flight for Friday

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 19:13

Boeing has previously said the 777X, its largest-ever twin-engined model, designed to hold on average 406 people, was on track to be delivered in 2021. Boeing said on Thursday weather or other factors could still delay the test flight. The crisis surrounding the smaller jet following two fatal crashes has led new Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun to send the aerospace giant back to the drawing board on proposals for a new mid-market aircraft.


Gilead, Bristol-Myers Pumped More Into R&D Than Shareholder Enrichments

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 19:00

Many other members of Big Pharma spent more on dividends and stock buybacks, a strategy some view as shortsighted Continue reading...


A Few Thousand Teslas Won't Fix China's Problems

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 19:00

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Tianqi Lithium Corp. had everything going for it: generous subsidies, Beijing’s blessing on the electric-vehicle industry it supplies, and the hype of Tesla Inc. getting its sedans off the production line in China. The only thing interrupting this nice fairy tale is the reality of demand and making money.Over the past few years, China has supported its electric-car industry by doling out large subsidies; giving preferential treatment to domestic companies; and providing large outlays for charging infrastructure. The sector has surged as a result. The kickoff of Tesla’s Model 3 in Shanghai last month sparked a fresh rally among producers of lithium – a key ingredient in batteries – and other suppliers.All this is excitement is bubbling away despite the cratering of the lithium market. After peaking more than a year and a half ago, prices have slumped over 50% and inventories have piled up. The glut, a problem China knows all too well, has weighed on producers.This reality is starting to settle in for Tianqi Lithum. Earlier this week, the company canceled its bondholder meeting as worries about repaying investors 318 million yuan ($46 million) in principal and interest loomed. Its bonds fell to just over 64 cents on the dollar from around 75 cents days earlier.While China reported its first monthly slump in electric-vehicle purchases in July, Tianqi Lithium was struggling before then. The world’s second-largest producer reported its first quarterly loss in almost six years years in September, following two quarters of declining net income.Like many fad-commodity producers before it, Tianqi Lithium is seeing the painful consequences of China’s supply and demand mismatch. The adoption of electric cars and progress on battery technology have both been slower than anticipated. Expectations were so far off the mark that despite lithium prices falling, analysts adjusted higher their estimates for the average selling price of batteries last year.Tianqi Lithium booked a 63% increase in government subsidies in the nine months to September as non-operating income from a year earlier. The government's supportive rhetoric also led the company to pile on debt as it sought stakes in Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA and an Australian lithium mine. The company eventually financed its way to commanding a 16% share of global lithium production; but now its balance sheet looks bloated and questions about the company’s ability to refinance its debt – and at what cost – are becoming more pressing.For all the hopes pegged to its expansion and profitability, Tianqi Lithium didn’t have enough cash to cover the 3.1 billion yuan of short-term debt it owes as of September. The company has already tapped various channels of funding, from medium-term notes to an equity raising. When Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company last month, it cited Tianqi Lithium’s inability to raise enough capital through its rights offering, saying it would have trouble deleveraging.Expectations for the electric-car industry are starting to recalibrate. With targeted subsidies shifting from cars to batteries and infrastructure, the bargaining power has moved from manufacturers of one to the other. The likes of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG are locking in long-term contracts and partnerships with battery makers, but these car giants are no longer calling the shots.Battery makers nevertheless face their share of challenges: They haven’t quite figured out how to advance technology safely, while bringing down prices and preserving margins. Any reduction in subsidies will pass through to suppliers as well. It may be time for a more realistic reassessment.Tianqi Lithium may be able to keep rolling over its debt, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re still years away from widespread adoption of electric cars. A few thousand Teslas on the streets of China isn’t going to change that. EV suppliers may be better served keeping an eye on their balance sheets than Elon Musk’s production line.To contact the author of this story: Anjani Trivedi at atrivedi39@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Anjani Trivedi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies in Asia. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


U.S. Shale Patch Sees Huge Jump In Bankruptcies

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 19:00

More than 200 oil and gas companies in North America have filed for bankruptcy since 2015, and the list of casualties could continue to climb this year


Qorvo and Skyworks Weigh Bids for Broadcom’s RF Chip Unit

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:31

(Bloomberg) -- Semiconductor makers Qorvo Inc. and Skyworks Solutions Inc. are weighing bids for Broadcom Inc.’s wireless-chip business, which could fetch about $10 billion in a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.Other potential buyers could be interested, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The unit makes radio-frequency, or RF, chips.A final decision hasn’t been made and Qorvo and Skyworks may opt not to proceed with offers, they said.A representative for Broadcom declined to comment. Representatives for Qorvo and Skyworks didn’t respond to requests for comment.Broadcom on Thursday disclosed new agreements to provide components for Apple Inc. devices for several years. The disclosure lets potential acquirers of the radio frequency unit know that they’re buying into a substantial business relationship with Cupertino, California-based Apple.The potential sale comes as Broadcom Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan -- fresh off a $10.7 billion takeover of Symantec Corp.’s security software unit -- seeks to focus on businesses with strong share in profitable markets that don’t require excessive investment. He’s jettisoning components that don’t fit that plan. Broadcom agreed to sell a cybersecurity services business this month to Accenture Plc.The RF unit’s chips are used to filter and amplify radio frequency signals. Its filters also let wireless communications systems support a large number of subscribers at the same time by ensuring that voice and data streams don’t interfere with each other.The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Broadcom was seeking a buyer for the division.To contact the reporters on this story: Ed Hammond in New York at ehammond12@bloomberg.net;Liana Baker in New York at lbaker75@bloomberg.net;Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, ;Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.net, Matthew Monks, Michael HythaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Wells Fargo Regulator Punishes Leaders Who Spun Culture of Fear

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:31

(Bloomberg) -- Seven years ago, Wells Fargo & Co.’s security chief opened a few “undercover” bank accounts to aid law enforcement. Within 24 hours, two employees tacked on debit cards, claiming they each personally spoke to the new -- fictional -- customers.“All I could do was shake my head,” the security chief told a senior executive in an email.The exchange was among dozens of behind-the-scenes moments of frustration and fear cited by U.S. regulators Thursday seeking to impose a record $59 million in fines on the bank’s former leaders for allowing sales abuses to pervade its nationwide branch network. Three settled, including ex-Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, who agreed to be banned from the industry and pay a $17.5 million penalty -- an unprecedented sanction of a former U.S. bank leader. Five others are fighting the case.The bank’s aggressive targets for opening new accounts “caused hundreds of thousands of employees to engage in numerous types of sales practices misconduct,” the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency wrote in its complaint against them.The bank’s staff confronted a stark dilemma every day for 14 years, according to the regulator: “They could engage in sales practices misconduct -- much of which was illegal -- to meet their goals, or they could struggle to meet their goals and face adverse consequences, including losing their jobs.”The OCC faulted Stumpf for failing “to respond to numerous warning signs.” Former chief administrative officer Hope Hardison and onetime risk chief Michael Loughlin also resolved its claims.‘Forced to Walk’The agency is looking to levy the heftiest penalty -- $25 million -- against former community banking chief Carrie Tolstedt. She and four other former executives -- general counsel Jim Strother, chief auditor David Julian, audit director Paul McLinko and community banking risk officer Claudia Russ Anderson -- are facing a public hearing before an administrative law judge. The regulator said it could decide to increase the civil penalties based on the evidence presented.An attorney for Russ Anderson didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Representatives for the other four said the executives acted with integrity, sought to tackle problems and expect to clear their names once all of the facts are heard.The OCC laced its 100-page complaint against them with emails, internal memos and testimony, arguing that for years Wells Fargo’s management refused to ease off sales targets despite repeated warnings about abuses.“The bank had better tools and systems to detect employees who did not meet unreasonable sales goals than it did to catch employees” engaging in misconduct, the regulator said. Some were allegedly told that if they missed targets, they would be “transferred to a store where someone had been shot and killed” and if they did not make enough appointments they would be “forced to walk out in the hot sun around the block.”Gulf War StressWorkers warned bosses about the fallout of that pressure in impassioned memos.“The termination ax is suspended over our head one way or another,” an employee wrote in a complaint sent to Tolstedt’s office in 2012, according to the OCC. “Meet unreasonable goals or you will be terminated, cheat to meet the unreasonable goals and you will be terminated when caught.”“I was in the 1991 Gulf War,” another employee wrote to Stumpf’s office. “This is sad and hard for me to say, but I had less stress in the 1991 Gulf War than working for Wells Fargo.”Senior executives also heard about the trouble directly from affected customers. A former operating committee member’s wife received two debit cards in the mail that she hadn’t requested. The executive raised it with Tolstedt, who eventually told him to stop telling the story “because she thought it reflected poorly on the community bank,” the OCC wrote.The scandal erupted in September 2016, setting off a national furor. It prompted congressional hearings, Stumpf’s exit and more probes, including still-pending investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The ire has spanned the political spectrum from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to Republican President Donald Trump.The OCC previously seized unusual control over hiring and firing the bank’s leaders and, with other regulators, inflicted billions of dollars in fines and other costs on the company. But Thursday’s case was the agency’s first targeting executives over the matter. And it contrasts with the years after the financial crisis, when no CEO of a major U.S. bank was punished for faulty mortgage-bond sales and home foreclosures that upended the economy and hurt millions of Americans.Stumpf’s successor, Tim Sloan, stepped down last year after lawmakers and the agency expressed frustration with the pace of the bank’s cleanup. His replacement, Charlie Scharf, took over in October.“We are reviewing today’s filings and will determine what, if any, further action by the company is appropriate with respect to any of the named individuals,” Scharf told employees on Thursday, noting the bank won’t make any remaining compensation payments to the individuals during the review. “This was inexcusable. Our customers and you all deserved more from the leadership of this company.”To contact the reporters on this story: Hannah Levitt in New York at hlevitt@bloomberg.net;Jesse Hamilton in Washington at jhamilton33@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, ;Jesse Westbrook at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net, David Scheer, Dan ReichlFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


What to watch in the markets: Friday, Jan 24

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:21

Yahoo Finance's Myles Udland highlights the day's market action and upcoming earnings to drive headlines.


Novartis Oncology President talks cancer innovations at World Economic Forum

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:14

Leaders from around the world are meeting in Davos, Switzerland for this year's "world economic forum." Yahoo finance's Alexis Christoforous sat down with Susanne Schaffert, Novartis Oncology President to discuss the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatments.


Apple introduces new 'Apple Watch Connected' initiative to gyms nationwide

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 18:08

Apple is expanding its Apple Watch ecosystem with the new Apple Watch Connected initiative, offering special perks to gym-goers and Apple Watch users nationwide. Yahoo Finance's Jennifer Rogers and Myles Udland discuss the latest.


 
Worldstockexchange® Information Center