Record Liquefied Natural Gas Prices in Asia Won’t Last

It’s been a wild year for commodity markets, marked by despair last spring as the world ground to a halt and followed more recently by exuberance. Nowhere has the bullish feeling been more evident than the usually staid market for liquefied natural gas: February futures for Asian gas hit nearly $20 per million British thermal units last week according to data from Refinitiv. As recently as mid-December, they were only trading around $8 per MMBtu. Unfortunately for gas producers, today’s prices aren’t sustainable and the longer-term supply picture is bearish. Supply stoppages combined with the coldest winter in Asia in decades […]

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After Stock Surge, Investors Ask Companies What’s Ahead

An epic stock rally faces a key test in coming weeks as investors learn what executives expect for profits and revenues in coming periods. Fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off in earnest Friday with better-than-expected profits from some of the nation’s largest banks. Despite a record quarterly profit at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and some bright spots at Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co., shares of all three declined, with Wells and Citi each dropping more than 6%. The market reaction highlights the stakes as large firms begin sharing quarterly results and, more important, their outlooks for coming quarters. Though results […]

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Regulators Are Fed Up With Food-Delivery Fees

American consumers have been forced to eat food-delivery costs sometimes nearly as big as the meals themselves. Regulators are fed up. In addition to new laws boosting compensation and benefits for delivery drivers, restaurant protections such as pandemic-related commission caps have been proliferating at the city and state levels. Consumer protections could be next. New laws have been costly for delivery players that have been struggling to generate consistent profits lately. On its third-quarter conference call, Uber , which owns and operates Uber Eats, suggested it wouldn’t absorb all of the added costs related to the passage of Proposition 22 in […]

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Chinese Property Developers Have Huge Debts to Refinance

China’s property developers have a mountain of international debt to refinance this year, and tight lending conditions are raising the risk of defaults. The real-estate firms need to repay up to $53.5 billion of offshore debt this year, a sharp increase from the $25.4 billion that came due in 2020, according to CreditSights, a bond-research firm. The bulk of the debt—$47.6 billion—is dollar bonds. The CreditSights figures include maturing bonds and a smaller sum of puttable debt, which has a longer maturity but which investors have the right to sell back during 2021. At the same time, support from China’s powerful […]

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Capital One Fined for Anti-Money-Laundering Deficiencies

The Treasury Department on Friday said it fined Capital One Financial Corp. for “willfully failing to implement and maintain” effective anti-money-laundering controls. As part of the settlement, Capital One admitted that it “willfully failed to file thousands of suspicious activity reports,” according to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The allegations pertain to a check-cashing portfolio that Capital One acquired when it bought North Fork Bank in 2006. Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at annamaria.andriotis@wsj.com Source link

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America’s Big Banks Girded for a Wave of Bad Loans. They’re Still Waiting.

America’s top bankers signaled the economic recovery has held up better than they expected and should continue in the new year, releasing some of the stockpiles of cash they had set aside for a wave of soured loans. JPMorgan Chase & Co. posted a record quarterly profit while Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. both posted higher-than-expected earnings in the final three months of the year, boosted by the reserve releases and Wall Street’s record-setting run. The period capped a tumultuous 2020, when a sharp decline in economic activity in the spring gave way to an uneven recovery that has […]

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Stimulus Checks Can’t Come Soon Enough for U.S. Retailers

Retailers could probably use a bit of stimulus around now. They could use an easing of the pandemic even more. The Commerce Department reported December retail sales figures Friday. Calling them “bad” might be an understatement. Overall sales fell 0.7% from a month earlier, worse than the 0.1% decline economists expected the report to show. Even worse, November sales were revised lower, and now show a drop of 1.4% versus the previously reported 1.1% decline. The report quantifies just how hobbling the rise in Covid-19 cases over the past few months has been. For the many retailers that rely heavily on […]

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Citigroup Beats Profit Expectations for Fourth Quarter

Citigroup Inc. on Friday said its fourth-quarter income fell 7% and it drew down some of the reserves it set aside to cover potentially soured loans. The New York bank said profit fell to $4.63 billion, or $2.08 per share, compared with $4.98 billion, or $2.15 per share, a year earlier. Still, that beat the $1.34 expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue fell 10% to $16.5 billion, falling short of the $16.72 billion analysts expected. For all of 2020, a year of upheaval in the economy, profit at the nation’s third-biggest bank by assets fell 41% to $11.37 billion and […]

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