Samsung Electronics Expects Third-Quarter Operating Profit to Be Its Highest Ever

SEOUL–Samsung Electronics Co. expects third-quarter operating profit will be its highest ever, topping analyst estimates as demand for its electronic components remains high.

The world’s largest smartphone and semiconductor maker Friday said it expected an operating profit of 17.5 trillion South Korean won ($15.4 billion) for the quarter, up 20% from 14.53 trillion won a year earlier. Samsung expects revenue will increase to 65 trillion won from 62 trillion won.

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NJ Transit halts New York Penn Station service after derailment

A “minor” train derailment near New York Penn Station halted NJ Transit service Thursday night, according to the transit agency.

NJ Transit said the mishap happened at a “slow speed,” around 6:20 p.m.

There were no injuries, according to a New York City fire department spokesman.

The Montclair-Boonton Line train was headed from Penn Station to Montclair State University when the derailment occurred shortly after leaving the station and before the Hudson River tunnel, NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith said.

One set of wheels on one car, which was closed to passengers at the time, derailed, the spokesman said. There were no injuries to the approximately 900 to 1,000 passengers on the train.

Amtrak said service was restored, but travelers should expect delays Thursday night. 

“Rail traffic to and from New York Penn Station has resumed, after being temporarily suspended due to a slow-speed commuter train derailment,” Amtrak said in a statement.

“Passengers should expect delays throughout the evening as crews work to inspect the infrastructure, make any necessary repairs, and restore all tracks for service,” the statement said. 

Photos on social media showed large crowds at the station.

New York City Emergency Management said to expect delays on NJ Transit service in and out of Penn Station

“Consider alternate routes and allow for additional travel time,” the agency said in an alert.

Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind NJ.com on Facebook

 

 

 

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Bird electric scooters: Lafayette issues cease and desist, promises to impound

City, frustrated by lack of communication with Bird, promises to impound electric scooters by the end of next week. Negotiations continue with West Lafayette and Purdue

LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Lafayette is about to give Bird electric scooters the boot after less than a month in town.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Bird Rides, Inc., the Santa Monica, California, company that dropped more than 100 of its electric scooters in Greater Lafayette unannounced in early September, the city warned it would start impounding the popular two-wheelers on Oct. 12.

The reason isn’t to get rid of the dockless scooters permanently.

“We’re actually excited about the opportunity to have them in Lafayette,” said Patty Payne, the city’s marketing director. “We understand that this is something some people really want.”

Instead, the city is asking Bird for time – possibly several months – to come up with regulations and a pilot program “to address all types of personal conveyance vehicles and sharing operations.”  

“It’s been 3½ weeks, and they haven’t reached out once,” said Margy Deverall, the bike/pedestrian/mobility coordinator in Lafayette’s redevelopment office. “We feel we need time to work some things out.”

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Messages left for representatives from Bird were not immediately returned Thursday. Deverall said the city also had not received a response.

Bird scooters are touted as a “last mile” mode of transportation. The company allows customers to use a smartphone app to find a scooter and pay a $1 initial fee, plus 20 cents per minute, to ride. The system allows customers to leave the scooters wherever their rides end.

The letter called out Bird for “users riding scooters illegally on our sidewalks downtown” and scooters parked on our sidewalks in ways that violated Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

“We have also taken numerous complaint calls from residents, business managers and business owners puzzled by our lack of knowledge and the careless approach of the entire operation,” Deverall’s letter read.

Deverall said the city is following the lead of other cities, including Indianapolis, that asked scooter companies to back off until they could find ways to manage the system. She said Lafayette was working with West Lafayette and Purdue University, where the scooters are getting heavy use, to write unified rules for Bird and other ride-sharing scooter companies considering the market.

Erik Carlson, West Lafayette development director, said West Lafayette had a meeting this week with an Indianapolis law firm representing Bird.

Carlson said West Lafayette isn’t going the cease-and-desist route – even though West Lafayette police spent the first weekend rounding up scooters left in sidewalks and other random places. Carlson said West Lafayette hopes to keep the scooters on the street – “We’re trying not to be the bad guy, here,” he said – while getting Bird to start living up to some regulations that have been in the works since before the scooters arrived.

Carlson said the city wants some assurances about ways to crack down on dangerous riding; “geo-fencing” to keep scooters clear of places they’re likely to cause problems (“I’m thinking breakfast club here,” he said); and establishing direct lines of communication with Bird officials, which have been difficult to arrange in the past month.

He said that if those talks are fruitless, West Lafayette could ask Bird to halt operations temporarily, as well.

“None of us are against this form of transportation,” Carlson said. “And you shouldn’t be in a position to get on a Bird at Purdue and ride to downtown Lafayette being covered by three sets of regulations. We just need time to coordinate all of those and put them in place.”

In Indianapolis, city officials asked Bird and Lime, a rival company, to pull scooters from city streets this summer, allowing them to return after the city created an application and licensing system. The companies returned on Sept. 4, under a system that calls for a $15,000 fee to operate as well as a daily, $1 fee per scooter.

Deverall said Lafayette is looking into how that agreement is working for Indianapolis. She said the city is also looking at what other communities are doing.

At Purdue, Aaron Madrid, the university’s alternative transportation coordinator, started impounding scooters parked illegally on campus – basically, any not in a bike rack – the week the scooters arrived. He said the university, which recently signed an exclusive contract with a bicycle ride-sharing company, wasn’t given notice about the scooters and wasn’t in a position to police them.

“They’re still super-fun,” Madrid said. “But they’re still annoying on my end.”

Madrid said he has about 40 scooters locked in storage on campus. He said no one from Bird’s corporate offices has come to ask for them. He said quite a few of Bird’s independent contractors, who are paid to find and charge the scooters, have come, lured by dozens of icons that pop up on the smartphone app. Madrid said all of those people have gone away emptyhanded, unwilling to pay the $15 impound fee for a scooter that might return only a few more dollars on top of that for charging services.

Alex Mason of West Lafayette said he’s used the Bird scooters several times, even using the app to get a free helmet from the company. Low vision keeps him from driving a car. A Bird ride from his home in New Chauncey neighborhood in West Lafayette to downtown Lafayette is less expensive than hailing car rides via Uber or Lyft. He said the comparison is $3.50 for Bird versus $8 for an Uber or Lyft.

“I would most definitely miss them,” Mason said. “I just hope things work out and they can stick around in some way, shape or form.”

Reach Dave Bangert at 765-420-5258 or at dbangert@jconline.com. Follow on Twitter: @davebangert.

 

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Pro-weed ‘political front is developing very quickly:’ Constellation Brands CEO

The politics around cannabis are shifting rapidly towards legalization, Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands, whose company has a major stake in marijuana producer Canopy Growth, told CNBC on Thursday.

“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview.

Sands, whose alcohol distributor boasts popular brands including Corona and Modelo, said Constellation will work with Canopy on non-alcoholic cannabis drinks that resemble beer, champagne, spirits, water and tea.

“I think you’ll see a lot of beverages introduced, probably non-alcoholic or in, I would say, most cases, non-alcoholic, to take advantage of at least the CBD legalization,” the CEO said.

And while products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, could still be several years out from hitting U.S. shelves, Sands said the political scene was becoming more accepting to the idea of what could be a several hundred-billion-dollar industry.

“THC-containing cannabis, that’s going to be some time off, but I would say that the political front is developing very quickly there,” he told Cramer. “In the United States, we believe that it’s an inevitability that cannabis will be decriminalized at the federal level. And, as we already know, a lot of states have legalized it recreationally.”

Beyond that, Constellation’s stake in Canopy allows the beverage producer to “play in” international markets that have moved faster on cannabis legalization than the United States, Sands said.

“You shouldn’t lose sight of the international opportunity. There’s huge countries — UK is looking at medical legalization. Germany has already legalized medical marijuana,” the CEO said. “These are all places, given our Canopy investment, that we can play in. We think it’s important to be able to play in all channels and in all segments, not just beverages and not just recreational.”

Shares of Constellation Brands surged 5.38 percent on Thursday after the company reported earnings well above Wall Street’s expectations and raised its full-year forecast. The stock settled at $222.10 a share.

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GE lays out pay package for new CEO Culp

New General Electric (NYSE:GE) CEO Larry Culp could receive $21.3M in annual compensation and earn shares valued at more than $200M if he manages to reverse the company’s deep stock slump, according to an SEC filing.

Culp will receive a $2.5M annual salary and is eligible for a $3.75M target bonus, an annual long-term incentive of $15M and a special stock grant, all dependent on performance goals.

The grant could total as many as 7.5M shares if the price closes on average at least 150% above its current level for 30 consecutive trading days before Sept. 30, 2022 – a block currently worth $95M that would soar to as much as $237M if the performance condition is met.

“The board’s package to attract Larry is overwhelmingly tied to performance,” the company says. “Nearly 90% of his annual pay will be at risk.”

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RBI seen raising rates again as rupee slide accelerates

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to raise rates for a third time since June on Friday to combat inflationary pressures as it grapples with a weakening rupee, surging oil prices and market instability sparked by a major non-bank finance firm’s defaults.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head office in Mumbai, India, December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/File Photo

Anticipation of a rate hike has increased in the past month as oil prices climbed, the rupee’s slide accelerated and concerns on liquidity emerged.

Rising U.S. interest rates, capital outflows from emerging markets and India’s weakening balance of payments and current account deficit are also expected to make the central bank act.

A rate hike should make domestic yields on debt more attractive for foreign investors and contain inflationary pressures from high crude prices as India imports more than two-thirds of its oil needs.

The monetary policy committee will hike interest rates by 25 basis points to battle inflation risks from costly crude oil and the weak rupee as well as “provide assurance about durable liquidity,” predicted A. Prasanna, chief economist at ICICI Securities Primary Dealership.

“You cannot wish away the depreciation in the rupee if you are a current account deficit country,” he said, adding that another reason to hike is so India does not “fall behind the curve in terms of interest rate differential given that central banks globally are raising interest rates.”

A 25 basis point repo rate hike to 6.75 percent would mean a 75 basis point rise since June, the steepest increase since the last tightening cycle, between September 2013 and January 2014, when India faced its worst currency crisis since the 1990s.

A Sept. 19-25 Reuters poll showed 35 of 64 respondents expect a rate hike on Friday. In a July poll, only 11 of 56 projected the rate to be 6.75 percent by December.

While a majority of analysts expect a quarter-point raise, some analysts said they would not be surprised if there’s a 50 bps increase, given surging oil prices and the rupee’s battering.

The rupee, which inched towards 74 to the dollar on Thursday, has fallen 13.5 percent in 2018, making it Asia’s worst-performing currency.

Emerging market central banks including Indonesia, Argentina, Philippines and Turkey have raised rates to contain inflation pressures and currency weakness with the U.S. Federal Reserve set to keep raising rates.

MARKETS ON EDGE

The RBI is also expected to assure markets that adequate funds are available after investors panicked when a series of debt defaults by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) led to redemption pressure at other companies in the shadow banking sector.

India’s inflation rate was 3.69 percent in August and is expected to go above the RBI’s projected 5 percent by June 2019 on higher fuel prices, the weak rupee and strong consumer spending.

The 10-year benchmark bond yield has risen by 50 basis points to 8.20 percent since the last policy-making meeting in August.

DBS economist Radhika Rao expects a rate hike, along with the RBI shifting its stance to “hawkish” from “neutral”.

“For bond markets, a 25 bps hike accompanied by a hawkish stance could trigger the 10-year bond yield to rise to 8.25 percent,” Rao told Reuters after yields surged on Thursday.

BALANCING ACT

The IL&FS debt problems have pushed up short-term interest rates sharply with one-year commercial paper rising by nearly 70 basis points to 9.20 percent since early August, while the one-year treasury bill rate is up 50 bps to 7.73 percent.

One underlying concern is that the RBI’s selling of dollars to stem the slide in the rupee has drained 1.5 trillion rupees from the banks since April.

Analysts ruled out chances of a cut in the central bank’s cash reserve ratio (CRR) on Friday.

To alleviate cash crunch fears, the RBI has unexpectedly outlined a large bond purchase programme worth 340 billion rupees ($4.61 billion) for October on top of 200 billion rupees of purchases last month.

“The RBI is ready to keep real rates high because the policy mandate is to anchor inflation,” said Anindya Banerjee, deputy vice president, currency derivatives at Kotak Securities.

“The biggest policy anchor for rupee is high real rates. Raising the repo rate will increase the real interest rates and help in attracting fresh foreign inflows which will help in containing the rupee.”

($1 = 73.7600 Indian rupees)

Additional reporting by Swati Bhat; Edited by Martin Howell and Richard Borsuk

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Surging Treasury Yields and Dollar Hit Asian Markets

Asian currencies and bond prices wilted on Thursday, after fresh evidence of a robust U.S. expansion pushed Treasury yields to seven-year highs and stoked a further surge in the dollar.

The yield on Japan’s 10-year government bond touched its highest level since January 2016, following U.S. rates higher. Bond yields rise as prices fall. Indonesia’s currency, the rupiah, dropped to a fresh 20-year low at 15,165 per dollar, while the Indian rupee hit the latest in a string of record lows.

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Uber’s first electric-scooter service takes on Lyft in Santa Monica

Uber has just launched its first scooter-sharing service as part of further efforts to diversify its business.

Coming only a few weeks after ridesharing rival Lyft launched its first scooter service in Denver, Colorado, Uber has chosen the Californian city of Santa Monica for its own debut.

Uber’s electric scooters don’t bear its company branding — the service is operated by Jump, the bike- and scooter-sharing business that it acquired in April, 2018.

Each of the 250 red-colored electric scooters can be rented via the Uber app. Riders can see nearby available scooters on a map, and reserve them straight away for $1. Rental costs 15 cents a minute but that doesn’t kick until the first five minutes have passed. In a bid to grab some attention for its new service, Uber has made the scooters free to use through October 7.

Take note, though, Uber’s electric scooters aren’t dockless, so you’ll have to leave them in designated pick-up and drop-off points located across Santa Monica.

The company goes up against similar services in Santa Monica, with Bird and Lime, as well as Lyft, also operating scooter-sharing schemes there as part of an 18-month pilot scheme. Uber actually partnered with Lime in July and hopes to integrate its service into the Uber app by the end of the year.

“As we work towards having your phone replace your car, we’re thinking about all the possible times you’d hop in the car and go, and what smart, equally as convenient option we could offer to get you there instead,” Rhea Dookeran, Uber’s product manager for scooters, said in a post announcing the new service. “Whether going that last mile home from the train, to your favorite nearby restaurant, or between offices, scooters are an affordable, environmentally friendly way to get there.”

The launch of the scooter is in line with the company’s recently stated desire to become what Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi describes as an “urban mobility platform.”

The boss said he believes two-wheelers are better suited to inner-city travel than large cars, saying in an interview in August that particularly during busy times of the day, it’s “very inefficient for a one-ton hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks.” Uber (via Jump) and a slew of other companies already operate bike-sharing schemes in many U.S. cities.

Bike- and scooter-sharing services from multiple companies have been launching in cities across the U.S. over the last few years, though the reception among locals has been mixed. While riders find them a convenient and cheap way to zip across town, some residents have complained about cluttered sidewalks and reckless riding habits. Many city governments were taken by surprise by the rapid influx of such services, and are only recently beginning to properly regulate them in a bid to ensure their safe integration into city life.







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National Taco Day 2018: Best Deals at Taco Bell, Del Taco and More

Taco-lovers get ready—Thursday marks the annual National Taco Day, a fun foodie holiday that celebrates the tiny tortilla vessels of yummy goodness. In anticipation for the exciting taco holiday, restaurant chains around the country have announced special food deals.

Newsweek has rounded up the best deals for National Taco Day 2018 that will fulfill all your taco cravings.

Tacos


National Taco Day lands on Thursday, October 4 this year and restaurants around the country are offering some great deal. Hormel Taco Meat tacos being prepared at the GQ Jam In The Van Artist House sponsored by Hormel Taco Meats on March 18, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Gary Miller/Getty Images for GQ Jam In The Van

Taco John’s is offering a free crispy beef taco every day from October 1 to October 5. Taco-lovers do not need to purchase anything from the Wyoming-based fast food chain, but they will need to download the TJ Rewards mobile app. The app provides a coupon for the free taco. The offer reloads daily, so customers can visit Taco John’s for repeat free tacos during the week, Thrillis reported.

Craving a fish taco instead? California’s Rubio’s Coastal Grill is offering a free Original Fish Taco for free with any beverage purchase. 

Taco Bell is back again with its annual $5 National Taco Day Gift Set in all of its U.S. locations. The $5 “gift set” comes with four tacos: the classic Crunchy Taco along with the Fiery, Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos. The fast-food chain also announced that it will celebrate the holiday in its international locations as well. Costumers in Australia can score free exclusive merchandise with any taco purchase, while those in Sri Lanka can get free tacos with any order.

Chuy’s, a Texas-based Tex-Mex chain, is offering taco and drink specials for National Taco Day. Customers can add a taco to any entree for just $1. The restaurant also teased specials on Modelo and Patron floaters.

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina knows that two tacos are better than one, but endless tacos are the best. The restaurant chain announced on Thursday that it will offer “endless tacos” for $8.99 on National Taco Day. The promotion, which only applies to dine-in orders, will allow customers to mix and match as many Seasoned Ground Beef or Chicken Tinga tacos as they want all day long. The tacos will come with rice, beans and bottomless, fresh chips and salsa.

Baja Fresh is offering a free Chicken, Carnitas Baja or Americano taco to every customer who joins Club Baja with any purchase. 

Jimboy’s Tacos is also offering a free taco when customers join their Taco Nation rewards program.

Del Taco is celebrating the foodie holiday with a BOGO special. The California-based fast food restaurant is offering a buy one-get one free shredded beef soft taco. Customers are asked to present a coupon when ordering. The coupon is valid at participating restaurants.

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Jeff Bezos shares his advice for dealing with criticism

To deal with those conflicting views, Bezos said it’s important to develop a framework.

For him, that means listening to criticism, asking if it’s right — or at least partially right — and then changing as needed.

“You listen, you ask are they right, or even if they’re not completely right is there some piece of it that’s right that you can be inspired by,” Bezos said at the event in Washington D.C.

“If you decide that your critics, that there is something, then you should change,” he continued. “If you decide, by the way, that the answer is no … then no force in the world should be able to move you.”

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