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Morgan Stanley deputy chief financial officer to retire

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer Paul Wirth will retire after 15 years with the bank, according to a memo sent to employees seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Wirth, 62, has served as the right-hand to the bank’s Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Pruzan since 2009.

He played a “critical role during the financial crisis,” Pruzan wrote in the memo.

“His expertise, leadership, and dedication has guided and safeguarded the Firm through both good and challenging times,” Pruzan wrote, adding that he felt “privileged to have (called him) my partner.”

Wirth’s replacement was not immediately announced. He will step down at the end of May from his role as deputy CFO, but will say on as a senior adviser through the end of the year.

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Wall Street bounces after virus-driven selloff

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks attempted a recovery on Wednesday after a rocky start to the week that shaved off more than 6% from the main indexes on growth concerns stemming from a global spread of the coronavirus.

Marquee companies including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com were some of the biggest boosts to the S&P 500, rising between 1.6% and 3%.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the black, with technology leading the charge with a 2.4% gain. The energy sector dipped 0.2%.

“There has been pressure on some high quality names, particularly in sectors that might be hit the hardest by the wider spread of coronoavirus,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist, adding that investors are looking for some bargains.

Still, caution prevailed as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to prepare for the virus to spread in the United States. President Donald Trump said he would hold a news conference on the coronavirus at 6 p.m. ET (2300 GMT).

The extent of economic hit remained unclear as the virus spread further in South Korea and Italy, while Greece and Brazil reported their first cases of the virus on Wednesday.

“There could certainly be more volatility in store and markets could again test their selloff low,” Rick Swope, vice president of investor education at E*TRADE Financial Corp.

The main indexes have declined in the past four sessions and the Dow has lost more than 1,900 points in the last two days.

The S&P 500, which fell 7.8% from its all-time high, had lost about $1.74 trillion in market capitalization in the last two sessions, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices senior analyst Howard Silverblatt.

At 11:40 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 404.82 points, or 1.49%, at 27,486.18 and the S&P 500 was up 47.29 points, or 1.51%, at 3,175.50. The Nasdaq Composite was up 166.56 points, or 1.86%, at 9,132.18.

Among stocks, TJX Cos Inc jumped 8.3% as the offprice retailer beat quarterly same-store sales estimates.

Walt Disney Co slipped 0.9% on news that Robert Iger will step down as chief executive officer, handing the reins to Disney Parks head Bob Chapek.

Beyond Meat Inc rose 6.2% as Starbucks Corp said its Canadian stores would start selling its plant-based breakfast sandwich next week.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.38-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and 18 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 98 new lows.

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Morrisons shoppers can get £12 off first shop online with this voucher

If you're already an avid Morrisons shopper but usually head in store rather than shop online, you might want to change tact this month.

From today, Morrisons are giving online shoppers £12 off their first online order but you need to spend a minimum of £60 to qualify.

It's a great way to save on purchases you need to make anyway – plus you get the extra benefit of having everything delivered to your doorstep.

All you need to do to claim is enter the VOU6326993 at checkout on groceries.morrisons.com before 29 February 2020.

The offer includes deliveries scheduled between today and 1 March, so just enough time to take advantage on pay day.

Shoppers on Hotukdeals.com spotted the money-saving offer and shared with fellow bargain-hunters.

Many shared other hacks like using cashback on the shop too, which will maximise savings. Right now shoppers can get an additional £6.90 cashback on a £40 spend through TopCashback.co.uk on top of the money saved using the online coupon.


  • Gordon’s Gin is launching a new Sicilian Lemon flavour for spring

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If you're looking for bargains to pick up at the supermarket giant, Morrisons has slashed the price of large Easter eggs including ones from Cadbury, Galaxy and Maltesers that are now priced at £2.

Adults may want to sample the new Lambrini parma violet flavour tipple which is now on sale for £2.50 at the chain too . The throwback tipple is normally priced at £3.25 but the retailer recently slashed 75p off the price.

If you're looking for more grocery deals, checkout our best online food supermarket deals for this month.

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Mum transforms tired old kitchen into vintage dream for a bargain £85

Home transformations can cost tens of thousands of pounds – but one woman has revealed how she renovated her kitchen for less than £100, all by herself.

Sara McCrae, 37, a nursery owner and mum of two from Kinglassie, Fife, wanted to change her kitchen after moving into a new home – but needed to keep things on a tight budget.

She watched YouTube DIY videos, bought budget products at B&M and Amazon and used innovative and cheap ideas to keep the price of the project down.

"I moved into the property three weeks ago. I’m a single mum to two children and just opened my own nursery in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Money is very tight," Sara said.

"I loved the beams on the roof so tried to create a vintage, cottage look. I got ideas from Pinterest and watched YouTube videos on how to wrap the bunkers.


  • Mum creates Mrs Hinch-inspired kitchen using £28 Amazon hack after being quoted £7,000

  • Ten UK homes on sale for just £1 – but you're not allowed to see inside

Have you got a home transformation to share? Get in touch: [email protected]

"The paint was furniture paint from Homebase at £15, the wrap was from B&M and cost £30, handles were from Amazon at £11, the light was on sale from £90 to £20 from Homebase, and the blind was £6 from Lidl.

"My best ever purchase was my white grout pen from B&Q at £7. It transformed the whole look.

"I also painted the walls and ceiling with a white emulsion that I had left lying around. I had to paint the doors twice after doing a light sanding.



"I watched the wrap being done on YouTube. I siliconed the edges at the tiles to seal the wrap. I finished off by doing the wallpaper. I've wallpapered in the past so I found it quite easy."

Sara is absolutely delighted with how her kitchen turned out.

"I absolutely love it and feel so proud that I’ve done it all by myself. I've never done anything like this before," she added.

"My best tip would be to make sure you sand the front of the cupboards. It doesn't have to be lots, just to take the grease off the outside. I wasn't keen on my purple wall so I’ve recently wallpapered it. Honestly, anyone can do this!"

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk – where Sara posted her transformation – said: "Wow, what a transformation – and what’s even more amazing is that this cost just £85!

"Simple items like grout pens, vinyl stickers and cheap paint can make your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom unrecognisable – if you’re new to DIY, watch YouTube tutorials before getting started!"

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Money FM 89.3 Podcast: Budget 2020 review

The Breakfast Huddle: Budget 2020 review

34:56 mins

Synopsis: After the release of the Budget 2020 statement, we discuss how Singaporeans and businesses will benefit as we break it down into four segments – GST, Covid-19, Caring for Singaporeans and Sustainability.

Produced by: Elliott Danker of The Breakfast Huddle on MONEY FM 89.3

Feedback to: [email protected] 

Discover more ST & BT podcasts: http://str.sg/stbtpodcasts

Website: http://www.moneyfm893.sg/podcast/

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2PwZCYU

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2Lu4rPP

Google podcasts: http://str.sg/googlestbt

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Disney shares down 2% after 'surprise' CEO change

(Reuters) – Shares of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) fell 2% on Wednesday after the media giant’s surprise move to replace top boss Bob Iger raised questions on Wall Street if his successor Bob Chapek had sufficient experience in the entertainment business.

Chapek headed Disney’s parks business, its largest, and oversaw the opening of the company’s first theme park and resort in mainland China and the creation of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

While Wall Street analysts were largely positive about the change, some were skeptical.

“Bob Chapek has less (content experience), having spent his Disney career in distribution of content and/or the physical world of parks, retail, and consumer products (ie, minimal storytelling, despite the fact that even he says that storytelling is at the center of Disney’s value proposition),” Needham analyst Laura Martin said.

Two former employees Reuters talked to expressed surprise that Kevin Mayer, chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International, was not named to the top job, especially after the roll-out of the Disney+ streaming service, which attracted 10 million sign-ups in its first day.

Most analysts, however, agreed that the move ended years of speculation on who would take over Hollywood’s most powerful studio, built up by Iger through acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

“The move takes CEO succession uncertainty off the table; we expect the markets to digest this news and ultimately give Chapek the benefit of the doubt as the new CEO,” Cowen and Company analysts wrote in a note.

To be sure, Iger is still keeping a significant role at the company. He will assume the post of executive chairman and direct the company’s “creative endeavors”.

“The fact that Bob Iger believes it’s a full time job to sort out the content assets over the next 2 years implies it’s a bigger mess over at the Fox content assets than we thought,” Martin said.

Chapek will face some immediate challenges including building on the early success of Disney+ and charting a strategy for Hulu to be profitable, Cowen analysts added.

Shares of the company were down 2.1% at $125.5 in premarket trading, set for its fifth consecutive session in red.

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Ford's incoming COO focuses on cost cuts, launches, change

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) incoming chief operating officer outlined his priorities for the company’s turnaround on Wednesday, including cost cuts and more efficient new-vehicle launches in a year in which it will introduce a redesigned F-150 full-sized pickup truck.

Other key plans include speeding up Ford’s push in vehicle connectivity and its commercial vehicle business, strategy chief Jim Farley, who begins his role as Ford COO on March 1 after being appointed earlier this month, said at a Wolfe Research conference in New York.

“We have to fix a number of things,” he told investors, citing a need to cut $5 billion in warranty costs, successfully launch 10 key global vehicles in the next two years, and slash material and logistics costs.

Ford has acknowledged that mistakes proved costly in its introduction of the redesigned Explorer SUV.

Electric carmaker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has shown how connected vehicles and over-the-air updates can build customer loyalty, Farley said, and Ford could better profit from the data generated in vehicles and improve its customer service.

Ford also will focus more heavily on advantages in commercial vehicle sales.

“This is the signature execution opportunity for Ford and growth opportunity for Ford,” Farley said.

He also cited a focus on growing the electric vehicle business of the No. 2 U.S. automaker.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company named Farley its COO on Feb. 7, and promised investors it would kick a slow-moving turnaround into higher gear.

On Tuesday, shares hit their lowest in more than a decade as a rapidly escalating coronavirus epidemic that began in China threatened sales outside the United States.

Ford is restructuring globally and faces slumping demand in China, its second-largest market. Chief Executive Jim Hackett has said the No. 2 U.S. automaker needs to move with greater speed.

It has booked $3.7 billion of a projected $11 billion in charges it previously said it would take, and expects to book another $900 million to $1.4 billion this year.

As part of its restructuring, Ford formed a wide-ranging alliance on commercial, electric and autonomous vehicles with Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and sold its money-losing operations in India to a venture controlled by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra. (MAHN.NS)

In China, Ford lost $771 million last year, about half the 2018 loss, and its market share there has shrunk. Ford has been struggling to revive sales since its business began slumping in late 2017, and prospects look more cloudy now that the world’s largest market has been hit by a fast-spreading coronavirus.

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Bayer chairman quits as Roundup settlement talks progress

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer (BAYGn.DE) Chairman Werner Wenning, one of the architects of a $63 billion takeover deal that has left the German crop protection company fighting costly lawsuits, will step down in April, it said on Wednesday.

Bayer shares have plunged about a quarter in value since August 2018, when the company lost the first U.S. lawsuit claiming weedkiller Roundup – acquired via the takeover of Monsanto – causes cancer.

“We have made and continue to make progress in handling the legal issues in the U.S. That’s why now is a good time to hand over to my successor,” the 73-year-old Wenning said in a statement.

Norbert Winkeljohann, who was head of auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Europe SE until June 2018 and has been a member of Bayer’s supervisory board since 2018, will succeed Wenning after the annual shareholders’ meeting on April 28, the company added.

Wenning, whose term as chairman of Bayer’s non-executive supervisory board would have expired in 2022, said he had originally intended to step down last year after reaching the board’s recommended age limit of 72, but was asked to stay on.

Bayer last year started negotiations with plaintiffs’ lawyers to settle more U.S. lawsuits involving Roundup.

In October 2019, the number of plaintiffs more than doubled to 42,700 within just three months, and analysts have predicted it may cost they company up to $12 billion to lay the claims to rest.

In August 2018, a California state court jury awarded almost $300 million in damages to a groundskeeper in the initial Roundup lawsuit, though that was later reduced to $78 million.

In two subsequent cases other juries also found the company liable. Bayer is appealing all three verdicts.

Major shareholders have criticised Bayer for its handling of the issue and for underestimating the risks when it bought Monsanto, resulting in an unprecedented show of disapproval towards top management at last year’s annual general meeting.

Bayer, which is scheduled to release fourth-quarter results on Thursday, has defended a deal that brought together companies commanding more than a quarter of the world market for seeds and pesticides.

Wenning, a Bayer veteran of more than 50 years, became CEO in 2002, taking control of a company plunged into crisis by the 2001 market withdrawal of cholesterol drug Baycol, or Lipobay, which had been linked to deadly side effects.

As CEO, he clinched major takeovers including that of Roche’s (ROG.S) non-prescription drugs business for 2.4 billion euros ($3.2 billion) and of German healthcare rival Schering for 17 billion euros.

After an eight-year stint, he handed the CEO role to company outsider Marijn Dekkers in 2010 and became chairman two years later. Wenning’s protégé Werner Baumann succeeded Dekkers as CEO in 2016 after serving as finance chief and head of strategy.

Within weeks of taking the helm, Baumann broke cover on Bayer’s interest in Monsanto, enjoying unwavering support from Wenning throughout the tortuous negotiations and also as Roundup lawsuits piled in later.

Pesticide market regulators across the globe, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority have concluded that Roundup is not likely carcinogenic to humans.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), however, stated in 2015 that glyphosate – which is used in Roundup – probably causes cancer.

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Starbucks to launch Beyond Meat plant-based breakfast sandwich in Canada

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) said on Wednesday its Canadian stores will start selling a Beyond Meat Inc (BYND.O) plant-based breakfast sandwich next week, the first time the world’s biggest coffee chain will offer an imitation meat product.

The Seattle-based company said its Beyond Meat sandwich, which will be topped with cheddar cheese and egg on an artisanal bun, will be available at its nearly 1,200 coffee shops across Canada on March 3.

The deal intensifies the already heated rivalry between Beyond Meat and other plant-based meat producers – including Impossible Foods, Kellogg Co’s (K.N) Morningstar Farms, Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] and Nestle SA’s (NESN.S) Sweet Earth – which have been vying for shelf space at retailers and for deals with food service outlets.

In November, all-day breakfast provider Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc (DNKN.O) expanded its Beyond Sausage Sandwich to all its U.S. stores.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) is testing its plant-based “P.L.T.” burger, using Beyond Meat patties, in Ontario.

The Starbucks deal also comes as restaurants vie for a share of the expanding morning food business, with burger chain Wendy’s Co (WEN.O) shaking up the status quo by officially launching into the U.S. breakfast market on March 2.

Wendy’s effort could strip some customers away from restaurant chains already prominent in the morning, including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Dunkin’.

Starbucks has been working to build out its food business, which currently makes up at least 20% of revenue at company-operated stores, and to increase its plant-based offerings for more environmentally sustainable operations.

While it has long sold meatless menu items, this is the first time it will sell any faux meat patty made with plants instead of animal protein in any market.

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European Commission says too early to assess coronavirus impact on EU economy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – It is still too early to assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the European Union economy, the bloc’s economics commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday, adding that the bloc’s fiscal rules allow for more spending in emergencies.

The epidemic, which first emerged in China, flared up in northern Italy last week, increasing fears of a larger-than-expected fallout on the European and global economy.

“An assessment and a serious forecast is not yet possible,” Gentiloni told a news conference in Brussels, acknowledging that there had already been “a partial materialization” of the downside risks posed by the epidemic.

He added that more government spending to counter the worst economic effects of emergencies was possible under EU fiscal rules. The conditions for countries to use that leeway will be assessed over the coming months, he said.

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