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Asian shares skid, but dollar finds some traction

A man looks at at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in TokyoBy Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares tumbled on Tuesday though the dollar regained some footing, after disappointing U.S. manufacturing data cast a pall over Wall Street and gave investors little reason to hope for stability in emerging markets after their recent rout. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell about 1.4 percent at its lowest level since early September. "Investors should steer clear of risk assets over the short term as the turmoil does not look like it will be over anytime soon," Mitul Kotecha, the Hong Kong-based head of global foreign exchange strategy for Credit Agricole, said in a note to clients.


FCC chief tells Sprint chair he is skeptical on T-Mobile deal

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before the House Communications and Technology panel on Capitol Hill in WashingtonFederal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler expressed his skepticism about a potential merger between Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc in a meeting with Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son on Monday, according to an FCC official briefed on the matter. Son, chief executive at Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp, which acquired Sprint last year, met with the top U.S. telecommunications regulator alongside Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse. Wheeler told Son and Hesse he was highly skeptical of the potential bid by No. 3 wireless provider Sprint to acquire No. 4 rival T-Mobile, according to the FCC official, who was not present at the meeting.


Google executive chairman expects U.S. approval of Lenovo-Motorola deal

Google Executive Chairman Schmidt speaks during a talk at the Chinese University of Hong KongGoogle Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expressed confidence on Monday that Lenovo Inc would gain approval from U.S. regulators to buy Google's Motorola smart-phone hardware business in what would be China's biggest technology acquisition to date. Schmidt said he saw "a good chance" of the deal passing muster with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which monitors acquisitions by overseas corporations. Speaking at a dinner organized by the Cato Institute think tank, Schmidt said Lenovo's experience buying IBM's ailing personal computer division in 2005 would stand it in good stead as it seeks the green light to acquire the Motorola business. "There's a good chance of it being OK," Schmidt said, adding, "We would not have done the transaction if we thought it would be in trouble." Lenovo said last week it would acquire the Motorola handset business, along with some 2,000 patents, for $2.91 billion.


U.S. asks jurors to convict former SAC fund manager Martoma

Former SAC Capital portfolio manager Martoma arrives at the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York,By Nate Raymond and Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mathew Martoma sought out a "canary in the coal mine" to give him inside information on drug companies, a federal prosecutor said on Monday, urging jurors to convict the former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager of insider trading. Martoma, 39, built up contacts with doctors involved in a clinical trial of an Alzheimer's drug, which paid off in a "dramatic way" when one of them told him the final results, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Ingoglia said. But Martoma's defense lawyer, Richard Strassberg, told jurors the entire case came down to the unreliable testimony of a single doctor who cooperated with the government in the hopes of avoiding prison. Martoma, Strassberg added, was the victim of a "rush to judgment" by investigators whose true target was Steven A. Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital, who has not been criminally charged.


Factory, construction spending data hint at slowing economy

A worker guides a steel beam into place at a construction site in San FranciscoBy Lucia Mutikani NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January on the back of the biggest drop in new orders in 33 years while construction spending barely rose in December, pointing to some loss of steam in the economy. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, its lowest level since May 2013, from 56.5 in December.


Ackman questions Herbalife recruiting tactics on new website

William Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks at the Partner Connect 2013 conference in BostonBy Svea Herbst-Bayliss BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor William Ackman on Monday charged that Herbalife, a seller of nutrition and weight-loss products, found new distributors through a business that had been convicted in Canada of running an illegal pyramid scheme. Ackman, who runs hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, has been betting against Herbalife shares for more than a year, claiming that the company itself is a pyramid scheme. On a new website, Ackman profiled Shawn Dahl, a former Herbalife distributor, and Dahl's lead-generation business, Online Business System, charging that Dahl lured people to become Herbalife distributors with false promises of making money fast.


GM, Ford sales stall

Chrysler Group assembly staff works below 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck at the Warren Assembly Plant in WarrenBy Ben Klayman, Bernie Woodall and Deepa Seetharaman DETROIT (Reuters) - Four of the top five U.S. auto sellers on Monday blamed extreme winter weather for poorer-than-expected sales in January, as analysts and executives predicted a rebound in February and March. U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co as well as Japan's Toyota Motor Sales USA and American Honda Motor Co saw auto sales plummet in January, missing analysts' estimates for the month. Sales results were mixed for other companies and brands, with Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Nissan North America reporting increases and topping forecasts. "The bad weather only seemed to affect our competitors' stores," teased Chrysler as it reported double-digit sales increases for its Jeep and Ram truck brands.


Wells Fargo director resigns for health reasons

The logo for Wells Fargo bank is pictured in downtown Los Angeles(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co said on Monday that board member Howard V. "Rick" Richardson had resigned, citing personal health-related reasons. Richardson, a retired partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, joined the board twelve months ago in January 2013. He had served as the chair of the audit and examination committee, a role that will be assumed by current director James H. Quigley. The bank said in a regulatory filing that the resignation was not "a result of any disagreement with the company, the board or management." (Editing by Bernard Orr)


 

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