Selasa, 11 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Business

Astro teams up with GS Home to enter into home shopping business

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd has joined hands with South Korea's GS Home Shopping Inc to enter into the home shopping business, and will be launching the new service in the second half of the year.

In a statement, Astro said the collaboration was via Astro GS Shop Sdn Bhd, of which, 60% of the company would be held by its unit Astro Retail Ventures Sdn Bhd and the remaining 40% by GS Home Shopping.

Astro chief commercial officer Liew Swee Lin said the partnership would bring together Asia's two leading brands – Astro in consumer media entertainment, and GS Home Shopping in lifestyle home shopping.

"We are happy that our partnership with GS Home Shopping is set to deliver a best-in-class home shopping experience for the convenience and entertainment of all Malaysians, especially our growing 3.8 million customer base.

"In doing so, we will complement GS Home Shopping's know-how with our own capabilities both on and off-air including our talent, production and broadcasting facilities and customer service," she said.

In the same statement, GS Home Shopping senior vice-president Cho Sunggoo said the the company would put together all the business know-how that it had accumulated over the past 20 years in Korea and its global network in six countries outside of South Korea to build a successful business model of home shopping here in Malaysia.

Judge allows customers' lawsuit against MF Global's Corzine

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 07:09 PM PST

NEW YORK: A federal judge on Tuesday allowed a lawsuit to move forward that seeks to hold former MF Global Holdings Ltd Chief Executive Officer Jon Corzine and other executives responsible for the brokerage's collapse.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said that it was reasonable to infer someone "did something wrong to set in motion such an extraordinary chain of events causing such extensive harm to so many people and interests."

But the judge also called the litigation "wasteful and rancorous" and chastised the parties for failing to come together to resolve the matter "in a just and efficient way."

The judge also chided lawyers for the customers for filing claims that "fly in the face of clear precedent." He dismissed parts of the lawsuit, including claims pending against accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In a statement, a Corzine spokesman said the former CEO is pleased the court dismissed some of the claims.

"We believe that discovery in the case will reveal that the remaining claims also are without merit, and that ultimately we will prevail on all counts," the spokesman said in the statement.

The ruling was the latest by the judge that refused to dismiss a lawsuit over the 2011 collapse of MF Global, which left about $1.6 billion of customer funds missing and was one of the 10 largest bankruptcies in U.S. history.

Last month, Marrero refused to dismiss a lawsuit by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission accusing Corzine and former Assistant Treasurer Edith O'Brien of illegally transferring money out of customer accounts to stem losses from big bets on European sovereign debt.

The judge similarly in November allowed investors in MF Global to move forward with a lawsuit against Corzine, other executives and several banks related to their alleged role in the futures brokerage's collapse.

The latest ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2011 by former customers of broker-dealer MF Global Inc accusing officials at the brokerage of violating the Commodity Exchange Act and New York state law.

The lawsuit also accused PwC of failing to adequately audit MF Global's internal controls over customer funds.

In his ruling, Marerro dismissed claims that Corzine and O'Brien engaged in direct violation of the Commodity Exchange Act but allowed the plaintiffs to pursue claims against the executives for aiding and abetting violations of the law.

He also dismissed some state law claims asserted in the lawsuit against the defendants. But Marrero declined to dismiss other claims against the executives including claims of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and tortuous interference with contract and business advantage.

The judge also dismissed the claims against PwC, saying the plaintiffs had failed to allege any direct "linking conduct" between the customers and the accounting firm.

Despite the narrowing of the lawsuit, Andrew Entwistle, a lawyer at the law firm Entwistle & Cappucci who is representing the customers, welcomed the decision.

"We are pleased that the customer-specific claims against the core bad actors here, including Mr. Corzine, have been upheld and we are reviewing the other aspects of the court's decision as Judge Marerro invited us to do," Entwistle said.

An attorney for O'Brien did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for PwC had no immediate comment.

The ruling comes after prior settlements in the litigation. Last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to a $546 million settlement to resolve claims by MF Global's trustee and customers in the class action.

Exchange operator CME Group Inc has meanwhile agreed to pay $14.5 million to resolve customer claims in the class action. A hearing for final approval of the settlement is scheduled for March 14.

The case is Deangelis v. Corzine, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-07866- Reuters

Asian shares rally for a fourth straight session on Wed in early trade

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 07:04 PM PST

TOKYO/SYDNEY: Asian shares rallied for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, as upbeat trade data from China and an optimistic economic outlook from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen whetted investors' appetite for risk.

Investors took heart from the strong performance on Wall Street and lifted MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan about 0.8 percent.

Chinese exports handily beat expectations in January, rising 10.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports jumped 10 percent, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $31.9 billion for the month.

"The trade figures were a bit of a surprise to the market," said Zhou Hao, an economist at ANZ in Shanghai. "The stronger-than-expected exports data also showed improvement in the global demand momentum."

Australia's main index added 0.7 percent and Japan's Nikkei stock average rose about 0.9 percent.

The buoyant mood offset the impact of a much weaker-than-expected report on Japanese machinery orders, which is a leading indicator of capital expenditure.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended Tuesday up 1.22 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 1.11 percent to post its best four-day performance in 13 months.

Stocks in Canada, Europe and emerging markets also rallied as Yellen was careful to rock no boats in her first testimony to Congress.

"Continuity in policy is the main message from Fed Chair Yellen's testimony," said John Peters, a senior economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. "Equities did well in reaction to the Fed sticking with its relatively upbeat outlook on the economy."

"Crucially, the Fed hasn't downgraded its view on the U.S. recovery in light of recent data releases or volatility in markets," he added. "Further QE tapering is on the cards at upcoming FOMC meetings and U.S. yields should continue to rise."

The yields on 10-year Treasury notes pushed to two-week highs, rising to 2.724 percent from Tuesday's U.S. close of 2.717 percent.

Sentiment got a further lift from news that the U.S. House of Representatives had passed legislation increasing Washington's borrowing authority, removing the danger of default.

Stabilization in emerging markets also helped after the turmoil of January. The Turkish lira and the South African rand have been grinding steadily higher for the past two weeks.

The calmer mood was reflected in the VIX index of volatility, which dived 4.9 percent to 14.51, pulling sharply away from its recent peak at 21.48.

The Australian dollar benefited from the better-than-expected Chinese trade report, adding 0.2 percent to $0.9054 and also edging up against the yen to 92.86.

China is Australia's biggest export market.

The U.S. dollar was nearly flat on the day against its Japanese counterpart at 102.59, holding onto its gains made in the previous session after Yellen's remarks, while the euro was also steady, at $1.3632.

The single currency could be affected by a speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi later on Wednesday, while the Bank of England releases a report on inflation which should include an overhaul of forward guidance. {ID:nL3N0LG2GO]

In commodity markets, spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,285.49 an ounce, snapping a three-day winning streak and giving back some of its sharp overnight gains as stocks rallied. But it was still not far from a three-month high of $1,293.44 hit on Tuesday.

Brent crude rose about 0.1 percent to $108.75 a barrel, while U.S. crude gained 0.3 percent to $100.27, also bolstered by data from the American Petroleum Institute showing crude stocks fell by 2.5 million barrels at a key U.S. delivery hub, and by expectations of increased U.S. demand due to cold weather.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.6 percent to $7,121.25 a ton, reversing losses from the previous session and moving away from a two-month low of $7,016 touched on February 4.- Reuters


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