At a House small business committee hearing about establishing rules based on
the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act which was approved in April 2012,
Republican Representative Kerry Bentivolio from Michigan said, “I’m getting a
lot of verbal moon-walking but I’m not getting anywhere.” Lona Nallengara,
acting director of the SEC corporation finance division and John Ramsay, acting
director of the division of trading and markets are targets by lawmakers since,
one year after the JOBS Act was approved by Congress, key provisions such as
'crowdfunding' have yet to be implemented. Republican Representative Blaine
Luetkemeyer of Missouri, voiced concerns over the delay in JOBS Act provisions
and said “If you hear frustration in my voice, it is there. I’m only venting to
you what I hear venting to me. My concern is that it does not have the attention
of the SEC.” Luetkemeyer argued that SEC staffers were “not spending very much
time” on the measure if the agency - 9 months after a deadline was set by
Congress, the rule has yet to be adopted. Those in favor of the bill contend
that the rule would be a great route for smaller retail investors, to raise
revenue. Critics on the other hand, argue that by exempting firms from SEC
regulation, 'crowdfunding' provision opens up investors to fraud and boiler
room-type “pump and dump” schemes. A number of Republicans at the hearing along
with Bentivolio’s raised concerns that the Securities and Exchange Commission
has yet to implement a few measures required by law to adopt, including a
provision known as “crowdfunding” - that seeks to ease restrictions on
entrepreneurs so they can raise capital cheaply by providing exemptions from SEC
registration and disclosure rules to raise up to $1 million annually. The law
permits individuals who earn less than $100,000 a year to invest up to $2,000
per company annually, while those who earn more can invest up to 10% of their
income or up to $100,000 in these ventures - however, this requires the agency
to approve the rule.
Clearing a procedural hurdle, gun-control legislation advanced in the Senate on
Thursday although a vote on the final bill could be weeks away, as opponents
offer amendments. Reportedly, Republicans are expected to offer amendments
including - allowing guns to be carried in federal buildings and expanding
concealed-carry permits. Senators can now move on fresh debate in an attempt to
change the legislation, after Thursday’s vote cut off debates over proceeding to
the main bill. A deal about background checks struck between Democratic Senator
Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey from
Pennsylvania, paved the way for action on the gun-control bill. A move to debate
the main bill received votes from 68 senators while 31 senators voted against
it. “I have promised as open an amendment process as possible on this bill,”
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada said on the Senate
floor. “As always, the ease of that process will depend upon the good will of
all senators.” Reid said that a vote on the Manchin-Toomey background-check deal
would be the first amendment on the main bill, a broader measure that the White
House on Thursday said it strongly supports.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday, during March, prices paid
for imported goods fell 0.5% mostly due to lower fuel costs while excluding
fuel, import prices declined by 0.2%. Fuel-import costs fell by 1.9% during
March. Price of U.S. made goods exported to other nations, fell 0.4% during
March. Food-import prices during March rose 1.3%, striking the biggest increase
since September 2012. Over the past 12 months, import prices are down 2.7% and
have not risen on a 12-month basis since April 2012.
On Thursday, U.S. Department of Labor reported initial jobless claims for week
ended April 6 declined by 42,000 to 346,000 - for the lowest level seen in three
weeks. During the month of March, average of new jobless claims rose by 3,000 to
358,000. For week ended March 30, continuing jobless claims fell by 12,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 3.08 million.
For the second month in a row, retailers posted lower sales after unseasonably
cold, blustery weather in March compounded gloom of the still-uncertain
consumer. It has been 17 years since the states experienced the wrath of cold
weather seen last month and during March, states saw a historic amount of
snowfall not seen, in 20 years. During a month that traditionally marks the
beginning of warm-weather buying, spring and summer merchandise remained on
racks. Easter falling in March instead of April affected buying around the
holiday which was hurt by cold weather in many parts of the country. For the
month of March, here are a few reports from retailers: Buckle Inc. posted flat
comparable-store sales; Costco Wholesale Corp. posted a 6% rise in U.S.
same-store sales, minus gas; L Brands Inc., formerly Limited Brands, posted a 3%
rise in U.S. same-store sales; TJX Cos. posted a 2% drop in same-store sales;
Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works lower from 1% to 2%; Zumiez Inc. saw
U.S. same-store sales rise by 2.1%.
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April 11, 2013