All Articles Finance While You Were Working - March 10

While You Were Working – March 10

Now the White House believes job data, TD Bank in Wells Fargo kind of hot water, Exxon flirts with BP and two toddlers in South Korea go viral

3 min read


Professor Robert E. Kelly

Professor Robert E. Kelly of Pusan National University - Photo credit: BBC

The White House violated another federal rule

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer violated a federal rule with his excited tweet about the jobs report. Spicer violated a rule prohibiting executive branch employees from commenting on economic indicator data until one hour after the data is released. What is most entertaining is that candidate Donald Trump used to deride the monthly jobs report as “phony.” Now that Trump wants to claim credit for positive jobs data, the Labor Department statistics are now apparently utterly reliable and represent “great news for American workers.”

Two toddlers made history in South Korea

The impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye was huge political news on Friday, but the true stars of the show were the toddlers that crashed this live BBC World interview. The video is so good on so many levels. Not only does the first toddler march in with Beyonce-like swagger, but she does so into a room her father has so painstakingly tried to stage as some kind of university office rather than a simple bedroom.

Expatriates might join The Patriot in Luxembourg

I am currently binge watching the Amazon show “The Patriot.” The country of Luxembourg plays a massive role in the series as it is the scene of a murder. The country is lauded (or perhaps mocked) for being an idyllic place where serious crimes never happen, except the kind of money laundering that would be illegal in most other countries. So it is with that comedic primer that I read this story about financial services firms weighing Luxembourg as a post-Brexit option for their EU operations. What could possibly go wrong?

It looks like TD Bank is the Wells Fargo of Canada, eh?

Dogged reporting by CBC has uncovered some troubling news about Toronto-Dominion Bank. Tellers from the Canadian banks have come forward admitting they took advantage of customers and charged fees without the customers’ knowledge. The conduct is strikingly similar to the behavior that landed Wells Fargo in regulatory and reputational hot water during the second half of 2016. TD has disputed the claims, but the bank’s stock dropped roughly 5% in Friday trading.

Employers might soon require you to submit to a DNA test?

They will be able to do exactly that if a Republican-sponsored bill continues to advance on Capitol Hill. The move is being sold as something employers could only factor into the wellness programs, but it is not too hard to think how such a test could be misused.

The future of the wind and solar markets is corporate

Bloomberg nails it with this piece about corporations being a huge growth space for wind and solar companies. It just makes sense because companies can lock in energy prices. Plus, it can help solve the storage and transmission challenges that have plagued sectors like wind. For example, Google already has a deal in place for an Iberdrola Renewables wind farm along the Columbia River gorge to power its nearby server farm.

Exxon is eyeing BP

These two have flirted with a tie-up in the past. A few short months ago, it would have been obvious that regulators might have weighed in with anti-competition concerns. But now that former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is entrenched so high up in the Trump administration, those regulators might be a bit more muted with their concerns. I reckon we won’t have to wait long to see if Exxon swipes right or left this time.