‘Obamacare’ Enrollment Surge Not Enough to Outweigh Lost Plans, Reports Say

obamacare

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act at the White House in Washington December 3, 2013. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff said on Tuesday that more than 1 million new visitors had checked out the HealthCare.gov website on Monday, the first day after a major overhaul of the troubled site used to shop for health insurance required under new reforms.      (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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Ouch! Exxon Mobil posts big profit miss (57% Decline)

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Exxon Mobil on Thursday reported a 57 percent decline in second-quarter profit as oil and gas output dropped and earnings for its refining business fell.

The Irving, Tx., company’s profit was $6.9 billion, or $1.55 per share, compared with $15.9 billion or $3.41 per share in the same period a year earlier.

Oil and natural gas production fell 1.9 percent.

After the earnings announcement, the world’s largest oil and gas company saw its shares fall in pre-market trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes for Exxon.)

Analysts had expected Exxon to report earnings per share of $1.90 per share on $105.54 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

JetBlue Airways 2nd-Quarter Profit Down 31% on Higher Operating Costs


By Tess Stynes – online.WSJ.com

JetBlue Airways Corp.’s (JBLU) second-quarter earnings fell 31% as the discount carrier’s margins were hurt by higher operating costs that
masked revenue growth.

JetBlue, in contrast with many of its rivals, has aggressively pushed for more capacity in recent months–while adding new destinations to its route network. JetBlue, which has a significant presence in the Northeast, expects capacity to grow 3.5% to 5.5% in the third quarter. However, JetBlue lowered its capacity growth projection for the year to by half a percentage point and now expects an increase of 5.5% and 7.5%.

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Now Lloyd’s of London warns of EMP

Industry giant says ‘extended outage’ could be measured in years

WASHINGTON – Lloyd’s of London, the world’s specialist insurance company providing services to companies in more than 200 countries, has issued a dire warning of the potential consequences of an electromagnetic pulse event from a solar storm, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

 

Lloyd’s study, titled “Solar Storm Risk to the North American Electric Grid,” centered on the highly populated region from New York City to Washington, D.C., but added that other high-risk regions are in the Midwest and in regions along the Gulf Coast.

 

The fact a major insurance company is looking at the economic consequences of an EMP from a direct solar storm suggests there is increasing concern in the insurance industry that companies may be facing the danger of severe economic losses.

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15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast

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Trying to find a job in America today can be an incredibly frustrating experience.  Most of the jobs that are available seem to pay very little, and there is intense competition for just about any job that is open.  But it wasn’t always like this.  When I was in high school, I was immediately hired when I applied for a job at McDonalds because they were so desperate for workers that they would hire just about anyone that could flip a burger.  But in this economic environment, a single nationwide hiring event conducted by McDonalds resulted in a million job applications, and only a small percentage of those applicants were actually hired.  Our economy simply does not produce enough jobs for everyone anymore, and the percentage of “good jobs” continues to decline.  That means that it is getting really hard to find a job that will enable you to support a family, and a lot of people end up doing jobs that they are massively overqualified for.  But when times are tough, people are going to do what they have to do in order to survive.

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Big depositors in Cyprus to lose far more than feared

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades addresses the nation with a televised speech from the presidential palace in Nicosia March 25, 2013. REUTERS-Petros Karadjias-Pool

Customers queue up outside a branch of Laiki Bank as they wait for the reopening of the bank in Nicosia March 28, 2013. REUTERS-Yorgos Karahalis

An employee opens a safe inside a Bank of Cyprus branch before it opened in Nicosia March 28, 2013. REUTERS-Yannis Behrakis

By Michele Kambas

NICOSIA | Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:16pm EDT

(Reuters) – Big depositors in Cyprus’s largest bank stand to lose far more than initially feared under a European Union rescue package to save the island from bankruptcy, a source with direct knowledge of the terms said on Friday.

Under conditions expected to be announced on Saturday, depositors in Bank of Cyprus will get shares in the bank worth 37.5 percent of their deposits over 100,000 euros, the source told Reuters, while the rest of their deposits may never be paid back.

The toughening of the terms will send a clear signal that the bailout means the end of Cyprus as a hub for offshore finance and could accelerate economic decline on the island and bring steeper job losses.

Officials had previously spoken of a loss to big depositors of 30 to 40 percent.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday defended the 10-billion euro ($13 billion) bailout deal agreed with the EU five days ago, saying it had contained the risk of national bankruptcy.

“We have no intention of leaving the euro,” the conservative leader told a conference of civil servants in the capital, Nicosia.

“In no way will we experiment with the future of our country,” he said.

Cypriots, however, are angry at the price attached to the rescue – the winding down of the island’s second-largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, and an unprecedented raid on deposits over 100,000 euros.

Under the terms of the deal, the assets of Laiki bank will be transferred to Bank of Cyprus.

At Bank of Cyprus, about 22.5 percent of deposits over 100,000 euros will attract no interest, the source said. The remaining 40 percent will continue to attract interest, but will not be repaid unless the bank does well.

Those with deposits under 100,000 euros will continue to be protected under the state’s deposit guarantee.

Cyprus’s difficulties have sent jitters around the fragile single European currency zone, and led to the imposition of capital controls in Cyprus to prevent a run on banks by worried Cypriots and wealthy foreign depositors.

“CYPRUS EURO”

Banks reopened on Thursday after an almost two-week shutdown as Cyprus negotiated the rescue package. In the end, the reopening was largely quiet, with Cypriots queuing calmly for the 300 euros they were permitted to withdraw daily.

The imposition of capital controls has led economists to warn that a second-class “Cyprus euro” could emerge, with funds trapped on the island less valuable than euros that can be freely spent abroad.

Anastasiades said the restrictions on transactions – unprecedented in the currency bloc since euro coins and banknotes entered circulation in 2002 – would be gradually lifted. He gave no time frame but the central bank said the measures would be reviewed daily.

He hit out at banking authorities in Cyprus and Europe for pouring money into the crippled Laiki.

“How serious were those authorities that permitted the financing of a bankrupt bank to the highest possible amount?” Anastasiades said.

The president, barely a month in the job and wrestling with Cyprus’s worst crisis since a 1974 war split the island in two, accused the 17-nation euro currency bloc of making “unprecedented demands that forced Cyprus to become an experiment”.

European leaders have insisted the raid on big bank deposits in Cyprus is a one-off in their handling of a debt crisis that refuses to be contained.

MODEL

But policymakers are divided, and the waters were muddied a day after the deal was inked when the Dutch chair of the euro zone’s finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said it could serve as a model for future crises.

Faced with a market backlash, Dijsselbloem rowed back. But on Friday, European Central Bank Governing Council member Klaas Knot, a fellow Dutchman, said there was “little wrong” with his assessment.

“The content of his remarks comes down to an approach which has been on the table for a longer time in Europe,” Knot was quoted as saying by Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad. “This approach will be part of the European liquidation policy.”

The Cyprus rescue differs from those in other euro zone countries because bank depositors have had to take losses, although an initial plan to hit small deposits as well as big ones was abandoned and accounts under 100,000 euros were spared.

Warnings of a stampede at Cypriot banks when they reopened on Thursday proved unfounded.

For almost two weeks, Cypriots were on a ration of limited withdrawals from bank cash machines. Even with banks now open, they face a regime of strict restrictions designed to halt a flight of capital from the island.

Some economists say those restrictions will be difficult to lift. Anastasiades said the capital controls would be “gradually eased until we can return to normal”.

The government initially said the controls would stay in place for seven days, but Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Thursday they could last “about a month”.

On Friday, easing a ban on cheque payments, Cypriot authorities said cheques could be used to make payments to government agencies up to a limit of 5,000 euros. Anything more than 5,000 euros would require Central Bank approval.

The bank also issued a directive limiting the cash that can be taken to areas of the island beyond the “control of the Cypriot authorities” – a reference to Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus which considers itself an independent state. Cyprus residents can take 300 euros; non-residents can take 500.

Under the terms of the capital controls, Cypriots and foreigners are allowed to take up to 1,000 euros in cash when they leave the island.

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