(Newser) - A Saudi Arabian blogger and rights activist was set to receive his second set of 50 lashes today, but the flogging has been delayed. Raif Badawi, whose crime was creating a blog perceived as a slight to Islam, got his first 50 lashes last Friday, and Saudi Arabia planned to... More »
(Newser) - It's been established that reuniting with long-lost relatives can and does result in "Genetic Sexual Attraction," a term coined in the 1980s. In fact, some have estimated that elements of sexual attraction occur in as many as half the cases of estranged loved ones who meet as... More »
(Newser) - The British-built Beagle 2 began its fall to Mars on Dec. 19, 2003. It was expected to land on the Red Planet on Christmas Day and begin its search for alien life (its name is a nod to Charles Darwin's HMS Beagle). But it was never heard from again.... More »
(Newser) - It may not seem like such a terrible idea to glitter-bomb your former boss's office after your last day at work—after all, it's not like they can fire you, right? Well, no, but they can have you arrested. That's what Samantha Lockhart found out the hard... More »
(Newser) - A Kentucky man and his 13-year-old girlfriend have been missing for nearly two weeks, during which they've reportedly launched what NBC News calls a "Bonnie-and-Clyde-style crime spree across the South." Since Cheyenne Phillips was reported missing Jan. 3, she and Dalton Hayes, 18, have allegedly stolen a... More »
(Newser) - The account of a 6-year-old boy's trip to heaven while in a coma for two months is to be taken out of print following his admission that it was all a lie. Alex Malarkey co-authored The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven along with dad Kevin Malarkey after the... More »
Stocks rallied on the final day of what was an overall poor week of trading for US stocks, as the benchmark S&P 500 still lost about 1.5% and is down more than 2% this year.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 17,511.6, +190.8, (+1.1%)
S&P 500: 2,019.4, +26.7, (+1.3%)
Nasdaq: 4,634.4, +63.5, (+1.4%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
1. It was still all about the Swiss franc on Friday, as the market continued to digest the shocking news out of the Swiss National Bank on Thursday that the SNB would be abandoning its currency peg against the euro. On Friday, a number of retail currency brokers were in distress, with UK-based Alapri announcing that it entered insolvency, while a report from CNBC said that FXCM, the largest retail currency broker in the US, reached a $300 million financing deal with Leucadia to keep operations going. Shares of FXCM were halted for most all of the day on Friday, but had been down as much as 90% in pre-market trading.
2. Retail trading platform Interactive Brokers also announced that it took a $120 million loss related to the rapid appreciation of the Swiss franc that happened after the SNB's surprise announcement.The currency markets were still unsettled on Friday, with the euro at one point falling to an 11-year low against the dollar, while the US dollar index rose to an 11-year high. In comments on Bloomberg Radio, Marc Chandler at Brown Brothers Harriman said that he expects the euro will reach parity, or a 1:1 value, against the dollar in 2016. On Friday, the euro briefly fell to below 1.15 against the dollar.
3. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Bank lost $150 million on the franc's rapid move, with the Journal adding that Barclays lost "tens of millions."
4. The number of oil and gas rigs in operation in the US continues to plunge, with the total number of rigs in use falling by 74 last week to 1,676, the biggest weekly drop since January 2009. This is the lowest number of rigs in use since October 2010, and the biggest declines were seen in Texas, as the Permian basin saw 15 rigs shutter last week, while 12 rigs in the Eagle Ford basin were shut down.
5. In the US, consumer confidence rose to a ten-year high as the University of Michigan's preliminary read on confidence in January surged to 98.2. Economist Richard Curtin said the gains in employment and the decline is gas prices were cited by consumers as the primary drivers of this increased confidence, and Curtin added that, "More consumers spontaneously cited increases in their household incomes in early January than anytime in the past decade."
6. Consumer prices declined by the most in six years in December, falling 0.4% from the prior month as the decline in oil and gas prices brings down consumers prices. "Core" inflation, which strips out the more volatile cost of food and gas, was flat in December and rose 1.6% over last year, as housing and medical costs rose last month. Following the report, Ian Shepherdson said that the disappointing core numbers were partly attributable to the decline airfare, which fell 5% last month, and added that airline fares likely have "much further to fall."
7. Industrial production declined modestly in December, falling 0.1% against the prior month while capacity utilization also fell, which the Federal Reserve said, "reflected a sharp drop in the output of utilities, as warmer-than-usual temperatures reduced demand for heating."
8. Goldman Sachs was the latest big US bank to report earnings, with the bank beating on the bottom line as adjusted earnings per share came in at $4.61, topping expectations for $4.32. Revenue also beat expectations, coming in at $7.69 billion against estimates for $7.64 billion.
'It's intense man,' the vice president said after watching the film. Meanwhile, Bradley Cooper responds to lefty, anti-war criticism of Clint Eastwood's film about a 'hate-filled killer.' By Asawin Suebsaeng
They began to move away from "informed" conversation to gossip. THAT was and IS the problem..the subjects became less intelligent, as if the audience were not capable of understanding complex issues. Talk down to us womenfolk at your peril… and get cancelled as a result.