Oct 18 (Reuters) - Entergy Corp forecast a preliminary third-quarter profit above Wall Street estimates on higher earnings at its biggest utility business and gains from share buybacks, prompting the power company on Tuesday to raise its full-year outlook.The company, which operates the second-largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the United States, said utility earnings were driven by a tax settlement that resulted in a significant decrease in income tax expense.Entergy expects third-quarter earnings of about $3.52 a share on as-reported and operational basis. Analysts were expecting $2.52 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.The full-year earnings outlook was raised to a range of $7.15 to $7.65 a share, from $6.35 to $6.85 a share. Wall Street expectations were for $6.67 a share.Entergy’s utility business includes the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric power in Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. Its wholesale commodities business owns and operates six nuclear power plants and sells electric power produced by those plants to wholesale customers.
Oct 3 (Reuters) - Just five venture-capital backed companies held initial public offerings last quarter, data from the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters shows, marking the worst showing since late 2009. In dollar terms, the offer amount of the IPOs was $442.9 million, again, the worst showing since the end of 2009. Meanwhile, some 101 venture-backed companies were bought, with 35 disclosing deal terms. That represents the highest dollar amount of deals with disclosed terms since the fourth quarter of 2009, showing that exits are still available for good companies. In the largest IPO of the quarter, Chinese holding company Tudou (TUDO.O) raised $174 million on the Nasdaq stock market in August. Three of the five IPOs — real-estate service Zillow (Z.O), telecommunications software company Tangoe (TNGO.O) and online-backup service Carbonite <CARB.O > — were trading above their offer price as of Friday. In the biggest disclosed deal of the quarter, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Laredo Petroleum bought Dallas-based Broad Oak Energy for $1 billion.
After a promising start, 2011 has turned into an enormous disappointment for major rich world economies, which have been hobbled by a noxious combination of austerity, debt crises, natural disaster and political impasse.Backed up by Thursday’s weak trade figures from China, which pointed to profound global economic weakness, the October quarterly survey suggested a bout of weak growth in many G7 economies could extend deep into next year and beyond.The world economy will grow 3.8 percent in 2011, the poll showed, and just 3.6 percent next year — a stark contrast to the 4.1 percent and 4.3 percent forecasts from the last quarterly survey in July.But even these tepid growth rates could depend on progress in clearing some of the world’s biggest economic hurdles, like the euro zone sovereign debt crisis and finding ways to boost growth in the United States.”Rarely has the economic outlook been so sensitive to the decisions of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, in a research note.”Whether it is the complexities of reaching unanimous agreement among 17 euro area members regarding the resolution of the sovereign debt crisis, or the increasingly polarized U.S. political scene, political risk may be the greatest source of shocks to the global economy today.”Euro zone officials on Wednesday indicated they were willing to take at least a small step forward in plans to avert a potentially catastrophic Greek sovereign debt default, by asking banks to accept losses of up to 50 percent on Greek debt holdings.In the United States, the Senate defeated President Barack Obama’s job creation package in a sign that Washington may be too paralyzed to take major steps to spur the labor market before the 2012 elections.CANADA BLOOMS, ITALY WILTSCanada should see some of the strongest rates of growth compared with its G7 peers this year and next.Although the outlook for growth has darkened in common with other major markets, its healthy banking sector and commodity-driven economy should give it an edge, with growth of around 2.2 percent seen this year and 2.4 percent in 2012.But Italy, racked by political fighting, austerity measures and market fears about its ability to finance its debt, looks set to linger in recession well into next year, and will miss government fiscal targets.U.S. economic growth looks likely to pick up slightly by year-end, although analysts also reined in their expectations and there is a one-in-three chance the world’s biggest economy will enter recession.”We’ve stepped back from the abyss, the data that we’re getting suggests certainly the economy isn’t in freefall as yet,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.The euro zone faces a 40 percent chance of another recession as fears mount that the debt crisis will escalate further.Analysts expect the 17-nation currency bloc to post economic growth of just 0.9 percent next year, after 1.6 percent in 2011.”Leading indicators point to weaker economic conditions. Sentiment surveys have deteriorated across key sectors of the euro zone economy, against a backdrop of unusually high uncertainty and financial market tensions,” said Ken Wattret at BNP Paribas.Japan, forced into recession by the March earthquake and tsunami, saw its economic outlook downgraded for a fourth consecutive month thanks partly to the escalating euro zone debt crisis.”Japan’s exports are seen weakening in October-December due to the economic slowdown in Europe and the U.S., which would affect corporations’ capital spending,” said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance.Still, poll respondents predicted growth will pick up to 2.2 percent over the 2012-2013 fiscal year.(Polling by Reuters Polls Bangalore, Additional reporting and polling by reporters in bureaux in London, New York, Toronto, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Berlin; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Iran, rejecting U.S. accusations made on Tuesday, denies seeking to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal accused Tehran of seeking influence abroad through “murder and mayhem”.”We will not bow to such (Iranian) pressure, we hold them accountable for any action they take against us,” Faisal said.”Any action they take against us will have a measured response from Saudi Arabia,” the minister said in Vienna, where he was discussing the opening of a religious dialogue centre.Faisal said this was not the first time Iran had been suspected of similar acts and condemned the Islamic Republic for trying to meddle in the affairs of Arab countries.Asked what concrete actions Saudi Arabia might take against Iran, Faisal said: “We have to wait and see.”
Judge Rodion Kireyev handed down the sentence — the maximum sought by state prosecutors — at the end of a three-month trial that has polarized society in the ex-Soviet republic and risks undermining Ukraine’s relations with the West.”The court has … found Tymoshenko guilty… and sentenced her to a prison term of seven years,” he said. Her lawyers said they would appeal against the verdict.The European Union, a major trading partner for Ukraine, immediately denounced the judgment as politically motivated and told President Viktor Yanukovich’s leadership that it would boomerang seriously against relations.”The way the Ukrainian authorities will generally respect universal values and rule of law, and specifically how they will handle these cases, risks having profound implications for the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on behalf of the bloc.This included “the conclusion of the Association Agreement, our political dialogue and our cooperation more broadly,” the statement issued in Brussels said.Her supporters say Yanukovich wants to neutralize her as a political force before next year’s parliamentary election.The EU had earlier warned that jailing the charismatic Ukrainian opposition leader will jeopardize ratification of the agreement, which entails the creation of a free trade zone and is due to be signed later this year.Tymoshenko, 50, who described the trial as a “lynching” organized by Yanukovich and denied any wrongdoing in negotiating the 2009 deal, smiled faintly as the sentence was pronounced.But the former Orange Revolution leader then rose to her feet and — even as Kireyev continued in a monotone to deliver the rest of his judgment — denounced Ukraine’s “authoritarian regime” and decried the lack of justice under Yanukovich.Kireyev said that she had exceeded her powers by stampeding the state energy concern Naftogaz into signing a 10-year gas supply contract with Russia that resulted in Ukraine paying an exorbitant price for gas.”In January 2009, Tymoshenko Yu. V., exercising the duties of prime minister … used her powers for criminal ends and, acting deliberately, carried out actions … which led to heavy consequences,” he said.Her actions had led to a loss for Naftogaz of 1.5 billion hryvnias ($188 million), he said.SUPPORTERS, SCUFFLESThough Russia has rejected charges by the Yanukovich leadership that the deal was improperly negotiated, it is again talking with Ukraine about its terms. The Kiev government says it hopes a new contract will be tied up by the end of the year.The deal struck between Ukraine and Russia in 2009 was greeted with relief by the EU since it ended a pricing dispute that led to disruptions in gas supplies to parts of the bloc.At least 2,000 Tymoshenko supporters massed outside the courtroom in Kiev city center to hear the verdict, shouting words of encouragement and waving flags in solidarity with her.When the verdict was pronounced, there were scuffles with police, but no serious clashes. Tymoshenko was driven away in a police van within minutes of the trial ending.At the start of the day, Tymoshenko, wearing her trademark peasant hairbraid, bristled defiance. Flanked by her daughter, Yevhenia, and husband, Oleksander, in court, she told reporters: “You know very well that the sentence is not being pronounced by Judge Kireyev but by President Yanukovich.”Whatever the sentence pronounced, my struggle will continue. This sentence, written by Yanukovich, will not change anything in my life or in my struggle.”OPPONENTS, POLICEApart from Tymoshenko supporters, scores of riot police and crowds of anti-Tymoshenko demonstrators who turned out at the behest of the ruling Regions Party gathered outside the court for the end of a trial which kept political tension high throughout the summer in Ukraine.When the judge late last month called an adjournment until Tuesday it was widely seen as a strategic pause to give Yanukovich and his advisers time to consider their options in the face of the Western criticism. He has maintained that her prosecution is a matter for the courts.EU diplomats had urged Yanukovich to use his powers to “decriminalize” the charge against her — reclassifying it as an administrative rather than an criminal offence — to allow her to go free. But on the eve of the trial resuming there was no sign of a move in this direction.She and Yanukovich have been at each other’s throats since 2004 when Tymoshenko used her PR savvy and rhetoric as a leader of the “Orange Revolution” uprising to doom his first bid for the presidency, with mass protests leading to a court ruling that overturned his fraud-marred election victory.She went on to hold the post of prime minister twice under then-President Viktor Yushchenko, who gave evidence against her at her trial after they had a bitter falling-out.The election run-off between Yanukovich and Tymoshenko was a particularly bitter affair and she refused to recognize his victory for weeks. She stepped down finally as prime minister, but has continued to heap scorn on his leadership and on the wealthy industrialists who support him.
Today’s special report, “Pension fund scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant,” examines state oil company PDVSA and the problems it has exploiting what are said by OPEC to be the world’s largest known reserves of crude oil. At the heart of the latest scandal is a Connecticut hedge fund manager named Francisco Illarramendi who has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud, securities and investment advisor fraud. Prosecutors say he ran a Ponzi scheme that lost up to half a billion dollars, most of it money that had been entrusted to Illarramendi by PDVSA’s pension fund. Check out this interactive graphic which shows how Venezuela has taken the top spot in terms of world oil reserves. This one shows how despite rising estimates of the country’s reserves, PDVSA’s production has actually declined in the decade since Chavez came to power.