Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wow, Look At The Jump In US Crude Oil Inventories -- Wednesday, March 2, 2016

US private sector adds 214,000 jobs in February -- ADP. Average forecast: 190,000.

Remember the "magic numbers" generally accepted prior to the Obama administration:
The Magic Numbers
First time claims, unemployment benefits: 400,000 (> 400,000: economic stagnation)
New jobs: 200,000 (< 200,000 new jobs: economic stagnation)
Oil below $37 as US inventory rise counters output freeze plan -- Reuters.
U.S. crude inventories jumped by 9.9 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday, much more than the 3.6-million-barrel increase analysts had forecast.
The Supreme Court rules against Vermont health-care data law. Court's 6 -2 ruling could affect initiatives in up to 18 states. And the vote was overwhelming.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed state efforts to gather health-care data from insurance plans, ruling that such reporting requirements run afoul of federal laws regulating employee benefits.
The case came from Vermont, where a 2005 law mandates that larger health insurance plans report “information relating to heath care costs, prices, quality, utilization or resources required” to a state database.
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. objected, contending the law conflicts with the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which pre-empts state laws that “relate to any employee benefit plan.”
Liberty Mutual sued in its capacity as a self-insured employer with workers based in Vermont. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Inc. administers the plan for Liberty Mutual, which has about 140 employees in Vermont and tens of thousands nationwide. Companies sometimes object to state rules, which can vary across the country, when federal laws also apply.
The Supreme Court by a 6-2 vote agreed with Liberty Mutual. Another 17 states have similar database initiatives.
Voting against: Justice Kennedy and Justice Breyer. 
Giving no ground in high-court nominee talks. After meeting with President Obama -- it must have been a short meeting -- probably between the 9th green and the 10th tee -- Senate leaders held firm: no vote on Supreme Court nominee before January 21, 2017. The fact that the Court could come together on the healthcare issue (see previous story) validates those who opine that the Court can continue to function without a 9th justice.
The Cool Page

McDonald's Turns Its Box Into Virtual Reality Headset: McDonald's in Sweden has redesigned its iconic red and yellow cardboard boxes to transform into virtual reality headsets.  The device, which diners can get with their burger and fries later this week, is based on the same design as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cardboard model that uses the smartphone as a screen.

Lego profit rises 31% but Mattel remains King of Toy market. Mattel retains top spot in toy industry despite Lego's double-digit revenue and profit growth.
The strong performance wasn’t enough to overtake Barbie maker Mattel in the race for the No. 1 spot in the global toy industry. Translated into U.S. dollars, Lego’s 2015 sales totaled $5.2 billion in 2015, while Mattel reported revenue of $5.7 billion.
Mattel's 2015 revenue fell 5% from the previous year, and the company posted a 26% decline in its net profit to $369.4 million. The U.S. company has struggled with a strong dollar, falling Barbie sales and a lack of new products.
The Not-So-Cool Page

SunEdison court win is eclipsed, print edition, WSJ, page C12, March 2, 2016: a favorable legal ruling last week looked like a new dawn for beleaguered SunEdison. A clearer reading of the deciison, plus an entirely new problem, threatens to turn the lights out for good.... even if the loan is made, this matters to TerraForm. But it is an existential issue for SunEdison. Without payments from its yieldco, the company probably faces bankruptcy.

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