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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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Standard & Poor's misled investors - Australian court

Standard & PoorAustralia's Federal Court has ruled that credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) misled investors before the global financial crisis.
S&P gave its safest credit rating, AAA, to complex and risky securities, which later lost most of their value.

In what is regarded as a landmark ruling, the court ordered S&P and the bank which arranged the product, ABN Amro, to pay damages to investors.

S&P said it planned to appeal against the decision.

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Low wages at private prisons siphoning jobs from private businesses

UnicorOn the outside, Unicor, with its big oaks and magnolia trees, looks like it could be part of a landscaped industrial park. Step a little closer and it's clear the apparel shop lies in the middle of a medium-security federal prison in east Alabama.

The factory and those like it that employ convicted felons are at the heart of a simmering debate about whether prisons should be siphoning away jobs - at much lower wages - that could be filled by those who need them during the nation's toughest period of unemployment in decades.

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Apple paid only 2% corporation tax outside US

Apple paid 2% taxApple paid less that 2% corporation tax on its profits outside the US, its filing with US regulators has shown. Apple paid $713m (£445m) in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn (£23.0bn), a rate of 1.9%.

It is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks.

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US unemployment falls to 7.8 pct., a 44-month low

employmentThe U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.

The rate dropped from 8.1 percent because the number of people who were employed according to a government survey soared by 873,000 - the biggest monthly jump since 2003. It was an encouraging sign for an economy that's been struggling to create enough jobs. So was the fact that more people decided to look for work in September.

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Microsoft 'used offshore units to avoid paying $4.5bn in taxes', Senate claims

Microsoft Technology giants Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard used offshore units to shield billions of dollars from US taxes by taking advantage of loopholes in the tax code, a US Senate panel has said.

Describing tax avoidance as rampant in the technology sector, the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said tech companies used intellectual property, royalties and license fees in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands to skirt US taxes.

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Well-to-do get mortgage help from Uncle Sam

Wealthy get mortgage helpSilicon Valley, the birthplace of the microprocessor, the personal computer and the iPhone, is a model of private enterprise at work. But not when it comes to getting a mortgage.

In Santa Clara County, the center of the global tech industry and one of the wealthiest places in the United States, most home buyers get help from the government, an analysis of government lending data shows. The same is true in other wealthy enclaves such as Nassau County, outside New York, and Arlington County, outside Washington, the analysis of more than 50 million loans finds.

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New Report Finds Financial Crisis Cost Economy $12.8 Trillion

Financial crisisThe U.S. is still struggling to claw out of the hole created by the Great Recession, the Wall Street-caused crisis that resulted in the loss of millions of jobs. According to a new report from Better Markets, a pro-financial reform organization, the crisis cost Americans about $12.8 trillion in lost economic output:

– Estimated actual gross domestic product (“GDP”) loss from 2008 to 2018, of $7.6 trillion. This is the cumulative difference between potential GDP — what GDP would have been but for the financial and economic crises– and actual and forecast GDP during the period.

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