Referees Take to the Field|
Officially, back in action... the National Football League announced that
regular referees will return to the field on Thursday after the league reached a
new eight-year deal with the NFL Referees Association. The NFL said the pact
marks the longest with game officials in NFL history, per announcement on
NFL.com and awaits ratification from the referee membership scheduled for Friday
and Saturday in Dallas. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell temporarily lifted the
lockout to allow officials to work on Thursday night's game between the
Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Behind the National Football League’s
lockout of its referees and the wrath of bad calls from the temporary referees,
is an effort to replace the referees’ pension plan with a 401(k).
The U.S. government on Thursday cut its calculation of U.S. growth for Q2 to
1.3% from 1.7% in its third and final review, citing less consumer spending and
business investment than previously estimated. In the previous quarter, consumer
spending rose 1.5% instead of 1.7% as initially forecast. Excluding residential
housing, business investment was revised down to a 3.6% increase from 4.2%. The
government also said corporate profits climbed $21.8 billion in Q2, compared to
a $53.0 billion decline in Q1. During the first three months of the year, the
U.S. economy grew at a 2.0% pace.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for U.S.
unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000 in the
week ended September 22, striking the lowest reading since late July. From two
weeks ago based on more complete data collected at the state level, initial
jobless claims were revised up to 385,000 from an original reading of 382,000.
The average of new jobless claims over the past month declined by 4,000 to
374,000. The four-week average reduces seasonal volatility in the weekly data
and is seen as a more accurate barometer of labor-market trends. Labor also said
continuing jobless claims - which reflect the number of people already receiving
benefits - decreased by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.27 million in the week
ended September 15. Nearly 5.17 million people received some type of state or
federal benefit in the week ended September 8, virtually unchanged from previous
week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag.
The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that pending home sales
retreated during August, after hitting a two-year high in July. The
pending-home-sales index fell to 99.2 from a upwardly revised 101.9 during July.
The NAR initially reported the July index at 101.7. "The performance in
month-to-month contract signings has been uneven with ongoing shortages of lower
prices inventory in much of the country," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of
the NAR. Pending home sales were up 10.7% compared to the same period in 2011,
marking the 15th straight month of year-on-year gains.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged Goldman Sachs & Co.
(GS) and one of its former investment bankers, with allegedly giving undisclosed
campaign contributions to a former Massachusetts state treasurer who was running
for governor at the time. The SEC said the alleged infringement involved
so-called “pay-to-play” violations, where campaign contributions or other
payments are made in an attempt to influence the awarding of public contracts
for securities underwriting business. Goldman Sachs agreed to settle the charges
by paying nearly $12 million in fines. The fines include a $3.75 million penalty
that is the largest ever imposed by the SEC for Municipal Securities Rulemaking
Board pay-to-play violations. Goldman is also required to pay back certain
ill-gotten gains of over $7.5 million. According to the SEC’s order against
Goldman, Neil Morrison, a vice president in Goldman's Boston office, solicited
underwriting business from the Massachusetts treasurer’s office beginning in
July 2008. According to the SEC, Morrison was substantially engaged in working
on the political campaigns of Timothy Cahill from November 2008 to October 2010.
“Morrison at times conducted campaign activities from the Goldman Sachs office
during work hours and using the firm’s phones and e-mail,” the SEC said. The SEC
said that Morrison’s use of Goldman Sachs work time and resources for Cahill’s
campaign activities constituted “valuable in-kind campaign contributions” to
Cahill that were attributable to Goldman Sachs and disqualified the bank from
“engaging in municipal underwriting business with certain Massachusetts
municipal issuers for two years after the contributions.” Despite being
disqualified from such underwriting business, Goldman Sachs participated in 30
allegedly prohibited underwritings with state and local Massachusetts issuers of
municipal securities and earned more than $7.5 million in fees, the SEC said.
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Sept 27, 2012