Gulfport Energy to cut jobs, halt share buybacks By Reuters


Gulfport Energy to cut jobs, halt share buybacks

By David French

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. gas exploration and production company Gulfport Energy Corp (O:) on Monday confirmed that it would cut jobs, change its board and end its share buybacks, in a bid to reverse a slide in its stock price.

Reuters had reported the news earlier in the day, citing sources.

Gulfport shares, which fell 7.8% to $2.85 in morning trading, have lost about 67% of their market value in the last 12 months, as weak prices have eroded its profitability and forced it to slash capital investment.

Gulfport, whose production is focused primarily in the Utica Shale in Ohio and SCOOP acreage in Oklahoma, also made a new commitment to use excess cash to pay down debt, which totaled $2.1 billion as of the end of September.

The company said it would shed about 13% of its workforce. It also said that Chairman David Houston will not seek reelection to the company’s board when his term ends in 2020, with two other directors – Craig Groeschel and Scott Streller – stepping down from Gulfport’s board by the end of this year.

Gulfport has been under pressure from hedge fund Firefly Value Partners, its second-largest shareholder, to improve its stock performance. Firefly said in March it would not mount a challenge to Gulfport’s board after the company agreed to a share buyback program.

Firefly had asked Gulfport to buy back $500 million worth of stock, but the company responded with a smaller $400 million program. It ended up buying only $30 million worth of stock in the first nine months of this year, according to company filings.

However, Gulfport spent $80 million to buy back $105 million of its debt in the third quarter, Chief Executive David Wood said on a Nov. 1 analysts call, noting the discount at which the bonds traded made repurchasing them an attractive option. The company also managed to report positive free cash flow in the third quarter.

Firefly declined to comment on the changes announced by Gulfport on Monday.

Some other oil and gas producers, who once spearheaded the U.S. shale revolution, have also struggled with their profitability.

Debt-laden Chesapeake Energy Corp (N:) warned earlier this month that its ability to survive was dependent on gas prices improving in 2020. Antero Resources Corp (N:) announced a $1 billion write-down on its Utica position on Oct. 29.

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Thai Third-Quarter GDP Misses Estimates, 2019 Forecast Cut By Bloomberg



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Thailand’s economy grew more slowly than expected in the third quarter and the government lowered its forecast for full-year growth as the country deals with the impact of the U.S.-China trade war and a strong currency.

Gross domestic product rose 2.4% from a year ago, the National Economic and Social Development Council said Monday, below the median estimate of 2.7% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The council cut its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.6% — from an earlier view of 2.7%-3.2% — and said growth should accelerate to 2.7%-3.7% next year.

Thailand’s trade-reliant economy has been hit by slumping exports, a surging currency and mixed performance in the tourism sector. The central bank earlier this month cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low and announced measures to slow gains in the baht, which has been the strongest performer in emerging markets over the past year, rising about 9%.

The council’s secretary general, Thosaporn Sirisumphand, called for more stimulus to supplement a $10 billion package the government approved in August. The global slowdown, drought and volatility remain key challenges for the economy, he said.

“We need to use all tools that we have as there are still a lot of risks that we can’t control,” Thosaporn told reporters in Bangkok. “We can’t be complacent.”

Exports, Currency

While the economy appeared to bottom out in the second quarter — when it grew 2.3%, its slowest pace in nearly five years — the rebound has been more muted than expected, Thosaporn said.

“Baht strength hurt exports and private investment in the third quarter,” he said. “We think the baht strength may continue.”

The baht was at 30.245 per dollar as of 10:35 a.m. in Bangkok, little changed from before the data release.

“The worst is probably now over for the economy, but a strong rebound is unlikely,” Gareth Leather, an economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note. “Exports will continue to struggle if, as we expect, global growth slows further. A high level of household debt will also constrain private consumption growth.”

The NESDC said exports now are expected to shrink by 2% this year, compared to the 1.2% contraction it forecast in August. The economy should pick up in the final quarter of the year and accelerate into 2020, driven by government stimulus measures, gradual recovery in exports and an improvement in tourism, the council said.

(Adds quotes from NESDC head in fifth and seventh paragraphs, analyst quote in ninth paragraph.)

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White House working on second-term tax cut package: Kudlow By Reuters


White House working on second-term tax cut package: Kudlow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is working on a tax cut package for implementation in a second term of U.S. President Donald Trump, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday.

Kudlow said the tax cuts would be aimed at bolstering growth and providing tax relief to middle-income families. He said it was in the very early stages, but details would be released next year as part of the 2020 presidential campaign.

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Nissan shares skid after profit plunge, outlook cut By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Nissan logo is pictured at the Tokyo Motor Show, in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares of Nissan Motor (T:) slid more than 4% in early trade on Wednesday, a day after the Japanese automaker reported a 70% plunge in quarterly profit and slashed its full-year forecast to an 11-year low.

Nissan’s bottom line was hit by a strong yen and falling sales and its poor performance highlights the turmoil at the automaker after the ouster of former boss Carlos Ghosn.

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China’s NEV market may contract this year due to subsidy cut: industry association By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Carrier trailer transports newly manufactured cars at a port in Dalian

By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Fewer new energy vehicles (NEV) could be sold in China this year than in 2018, an official at the country’s biggest auto industry association said on Monday, as customers hold back on purchases following a government decision to cut subsidies.

Chen Shihua, assistant secretary general at China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), made the comment on Monday after the association reported that sales of NEVs fell 45.6% in October from year-ago levels, following a 33% decline in September.

“There is a gap between sales to date and where they were last year, so according to the development trend, we may see negative growth for new energy vehicles this year,” he said.

China has been a keen supporter of NEVs and has implemented sales quota requirements for automakers. But it cut subsidies for NEVs this year as part of an overall plan to reduce subsidies, making the vehicles costlier.

Prior to the subsidy cut, the market for NEVs – which include plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells – had been a bright spot, having jumped 62% last year.

While NEVs sales rose last year, the world’s largest auto market suffered its first contraction since the 1990s last year.

The trend has remained discouraging with auto sales falling for a 16th consecutive month in October, declining 4% from the same month a year earlier, and followed declines of 5.2% in September and 6.9% in August, CAAM said. September and October, known as “Golden September, Silver October” by China’s auto insiders, are regarded as the high season for sales, with customers traditionally returning to make purchases after the summer. The decline in sales during the high season has dealt a blow to industry executives’ hopes for a turnaround in the second half of this year. As recently as three years ago, automakers had enjoyed double-digit annual growth in China. But the prolonged sales decline has made domestic car makers from Geely (HK:) to Great Wall (SS:) lower their expectations for sales and profit.

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Two BOE Members Unexpectedly Vote for Rate Cut as Outlook Sours By Bloomberg


© Reuters. Two BOE Members Unexpectedly Vote for Rate Cut as Outlook Sours

(Bloomberg) — The Bank of England is growing increasingly concerned about Brexit uncertainty and the global slowdown, pushing two policy makers to unexpectedly vote for an interest rate cut.

Michael Saunders and Jonathan Haskel wanted to lower the by a quarter point — the first votes for looser policy since 2016 — citing threats to the outlook and signs of a turn in the labor market. While the majority, including Governor Mark Carney, voted to keep the rate at 0.75%, they signaled that a further deterioration could see more policy makers support easing.

“If global growth fails to stabilize, or if Brexit uncertainty remains entrenched, monetary policy may need to reinforce the expected recovery,” officials said in the summary of the meeting, published Thursday.

The declined after the announcement, and was 0.2% lower at $1.2827 as of 12:05 p.m. London time.

The comments show the BOE is shifting closer to other central banks, such as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which have already cut interest rates this year. Still, signs of easing in the China-U.S. trade tensions on Thursday could be good news for the global economy and mean less chance of a worse scenario emerging.

While Saunders had been mentioned as a possible dissenter this month, Haskel’s vote for a cut is a surprise.

The BOE also said that if the risks don’t materialize, their previous guidance that limited and gradual hikes may be needed still stands.

In their re-branded Monetary Policy Report, officials cut their forecasts for growth and inflation. The projections highlight the impact of the global slowdown, with external factors accounting for most of the downgrade.

New Assumptions

The new forecasts are now also underpinned by a new assumption for Brexit, after U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson secured a new deal with the EU. The outlook is predicated on an “orderly transition to a deep free trade agreement” similar to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in place between the bloc and Canada.

While a large amount of uncertainty remains, a major effect of the new assumptions is that the BOE is girding for greater impact within its forecast period. It previous based its forecasts on a less precise adjustment taking place over “many years.”

Based on market pricing for one rate cut over the next three years, the BOE now sees 2020 growth at 1.2% — which would be the worst since 2009 — from 1.3% previously, and the following year at 1.8%, down from 2.3%. The level of GDP will be 1% lower at the end of the forecast period than expected in August.

Officials now see far weaker inflation in the near-term thanks to a drop in energy prices, and it will remain below target until late 2021.

The U.K. is headed for a general election in December, and the country’s deadline to leave the EU has been postponed until Jan. 31. While Brexit is dominating the economic outlook, there’s also no escaping the slowdown in global growth.

The BOE devoted a whole section to trade protectionism and the global outlook. The trade dispute between the U.S and China has caused a fundamental shift in policy after a 50-year trend towards liberalization, boosted uncertainty and weighed on growth, the BOE said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Bank of England surprises as two officials back rate cut By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney attends a Bank of England news conference, in the City of London

By David Milliken and Andy Bruce

LONDON (Reuters) – Two Bank of England officials unexpectedly voted to lower interest rates on Thursday to ward off an economic slowdown, and others including Governor Mark Carney said they would consider a cut if global and Brexit headwinds do not ease.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the BoE to vote unanimously to keep Bank Rate at 0.75%, and the announcement of the 7-2 split pushed sterling to a two-week low as market odds on a cut next year rose as high as 80%.

To date, the BoE has resisted following the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in cutting its main interest rate, but Thursday’s Monetary Policy Report positions the BoE for a change in stance.

Carney said the BoE’s central scenario was that a slowdown in global growth would stabilize and that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – which parliament has yet to approve – pointed the way to a reduction in Brexit uncertainty.

If this scenario unfolds, the BoE would still be able to stick to its long-standing message about limited and gradual rate hikes.

But if the outlook deteriorates, the BoE said a rate cut would become more likely.

“These are pretty big tectonic forces operating right now,” Carney told reporters. “If global growth fails to stabilize or if Brexit uncertainties remain entrenched, monetary policy may need to reinforce the expected recovery in UK GDP growth.”

For Monetary Policy Committee members Michael Saunders and Jonathan Haskel, it was already time to act – they cast the first votes for a rate cut since shortly after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“In the short term at least, it seems the MPC is more concerned about the downside risks to growth and is prepared to pull the trigger on a rate cut if and when these risks materialize,” PwC economist John Hawksworth said.

The BoE is also grappling with uncertainty about an election which Johnson has called for Dec. 12, in a bid to get a majority to pass his Brexit deal before a new deadline of Jan. 31.

The two main political parties are promising to end years of austerity and spend billions on infrastructure – aided by record-low interest rates – to try to fuel growth.

JOB MARKET WORRIES

Saunders and Haskel noted reduced job vacancies that suggested Britain’s hitherto strong labor market was turning as well as risks from the world economy and Brexit.

Other MPC members showed a new openness to cutting rates if things soured. They also softened their language on the need for limited and gradual rate hikes in the medium term, saying they “might” rather than “would” be necessary.

The BoE as a whole painted a darker picture for Britain’s economy over the next three years, predicting it will grow 1% less over the period than it had forecast in August, mostly due to a weaker global economy and a recently stronger pound.

But part of the growth downgrade reflected Johnson’s Brexit plans.

The BoE now assumes Britain will strike a trade deal that leads to new customs checks and puts up barriers to exports of financial and legal services.

The growth forecast would have been weaker still without higher spending announced by the government in September which the BoE said would add 0.4% to the economy.

Inflation, currently 1.7%, is forecast to drop to 1.2% in the middle of next year due to lower oil prices and regulatory caps on electricity and water bills.

But over the next couple of years, the BoE sees economic growth picking up from 1.4% in 2019 to 2.0% in 2022. The 2022 growth rate is above Britain’s long-term trend and would push inflation back above the BoE’s 2% goal, the central bank said.

(This story corrects paragraph 18 to say .. without higher spending ..not.. with higher spending)



KPMG to cut 65 UK partners: FT By Reuters



(Reuters) – KPMG plans to cut about 65 of its 635 UK partners by Christmas following a review of individual performance, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The chairman of the accounting firm, Bill Michael, told partners at a recent “road show” that the company would take a harsher approach to managing performance, FT https://on.ft.com/36wKmnm reported.

The cuts will affect the partners across KPMG’s business, and the firm’s audit practice is least likely to see departures, the newspaper added.

KPMG was not immediately available to a Reuters request for comment.

KPMG has been investigated by Britain’s accounting watchdog Financial Reporting Council (FRC) over its audit of collapsed construction company Carillion and motor vehicles insurer Equity Syndicate Management Ltd.

The FRC has substantially increased fines on accounting firms, partly to meet criticism from parliament that it was too timid with KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PwC, known as the “Big Four”.

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. Dollar Remains Lackluster After Fed Rate Cut By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar remained lower against other currencies on Thursday after falling during the prior session when the Federal Reserve cut rates by 25 basis points and failed to give clarity on further easing.

The Fed cut interest rates to a target range of between 1.50% and 1.75% and dropped previous phrase that it “will act as appropriate” to sustain the economic expansion.

The , which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.3% to 97.148 as of 10:14 AM ET (13:14 GMT).

The safe-haven Japanese yen was higher with down 0.7% to 108.07, as trade tensions weighed.

A report by Bloomberg cast doubt over the course of the U.S.-China trade dispute, alleging that Chinese officials are reluctant to commit to any long-term deal with President Donald Trump, whom they see as unreliable. That’s despite both countries saying they had made substantial progress to a preliminary deal in the coming weeks. The report repeated familiar complaints by Chinese officials resisting the structural reforms demanded by the U.S., which include state subsidies and protection for intellectual property rights.

Elsewhere, sterling was higher, with up 0.4% to 1.2947 while was flat at 1.1146.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Trump blasts Fed after rate cut, says hurting U.S. competitiveness By Reuters



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a broadside attack on the U.S. Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, saying the central bank’s policies were hurting U.S. competitiveness.

“The Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage. China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is,” Trump said on Twitter, adding that interest rates in the United States should be lower than Germany, Japan “and all others”.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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