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U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared to look for a compromise that would give publicly traded companies better defenses against securities class actions without overruling a 26-year-old precedent that made it easier for plaintiffs to negotiate large settlements. Conservative justices Anthony Kennedy, a regular swing vote, and Antonin Scalia both signaled interest in a compromise that would stop short of throwing out the earlier ruling while making it harder for plaintiffs to get past the preliminary class certification stage. This assumes that public information about a company is known to the market - and plaintiffs do not have to show that they relied on a specific misrepresentation, only that they purchased shares before the truth came out.
Victims of Bernard Madoff's epic fraud may be able to recoup only a small portion of the billions of dollars he allegedly funneled to selected customers in the last years of his Ponzi scheme. At a hearing on Wednesday, a panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York appeared inclined to limit the extent to which the trustee liquidating Madoff's firm may recoup "fictitious profits" and other transfers from customers. The trustee, Irving Picard, has so far recouped $9.8 billion of the roughly $17.3 billion estimated to have been lost. He now wants the right to claw back money sent to various customers in the six years before Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC went bankrupt in December 2008.
GM spokesman Greg Martin did not reveal details of the company's internal probe but pointed to Chief Executive Mary Barra's letter to employees on Tuesday, in which she said the company would take an "unvarnished" look at how the process was handled. Barra said in the letter that she was leading a team of senior executives that is directing GM's response to the recall, as well as, monitoring progress and making adjustments as needed. Also on Tuesday, GM said it received a 27-page list of 107 questions from U.S. safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the company's handling of the recall. NHTSA opened a probe last week into whether GM reacted swiftly enough in its recall.
When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state's minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. In the 15 years that followed, the state's minimum wage climbed to $9.32 -- the highest in the country. Payrolls at Washington's restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. The debate is replaying on a national scale as Democrats led by President Barack Obama push for an increase in the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum, while opponents argue a raise would hurt those it's intended to help by axing jobs for the lowest-skilled.
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - A semblance of calm returned to world markets on Wednesday after two days of intense volatility, with the United States and Russia set to hold talks on easing East-West tension in Ukraine. An index of global equity shares was modestly higher, currency and bond markets stabilized and oil prices dipped again as the West stepped up efforts to persuade Moscow to pull its forces back in Crimea and avert the risk of a war. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that military force would only be used as a last resort. "Things are indeed calming down in Ukraine," said Steen Groendahl, head of global research at Nordea in Helsinki.
2014 has hardly been a banner year for stocks so far but the S&P500 (^GSPC) overcame a terrible January to post new record highs last week. After closing at 1,741 on February 3rd the S&P roared back for the balance of the month and despite some Russia-related upsets it closed Tuesday at 1,873, its 2014 high.
The moves support Tesla's aggressive plan to boost overseas sales in 2014. By the end of the year, Tesla said it expects combined sales of the Model S sedan in Europe and Asia will be nearly twice the number of sales in North America. Last year, Tesla sold 22,477 cars, most of them in the United States. Tesla also aims to launch the car later this year in China.