CBS denies former CEO Les Moonves $120 million severance

NEW YORK — CBS announced Monday that former CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the board of directors concluded he violated company policy and was uncooperative with an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

The decision, which came after a five-month outside investigation, capped the downfall of one of television’s most influential figures, the biggest entertainment powerbroker to see his career derailed amid the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

A lawyer for Moonves said the board’s conclusion “are without merit” but did not say whether the former CEO would challenge it in arbitration.

Moonves was ousted in September after allegations from women who said he subjected them to mistreatment including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted.

“This is an important reminder that harassment happens everywhere, and that in this moment, even someone who has been perceived as untouchable will be held accountable,” said Fatima Goss Graves, a co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides legal assistance to victims of assault, harassment or abuse. “I hope other corporations are learning that lesson.”

New York-based CBS Corp. said at the time of Moonves’ departure that it had set aside $120 million in severance for him but warned that he would not get the money if the board concluded it had cause to terminate him.

“We have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company’s investigation,” the CBS said in a statement.

The board did not provide details. Earlier this month, The New York Times said a draft report from the outside investigation found that Moonves deleted numerous text messages and was “evasive and untruthful at times.”

Andrew Levander, an attorney for Moonves, said his client “vehemently denies any non-consensual sexual relations and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”

“Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy,” Levander said.

Moonves had been widely admired for turning around the fortunes of CBS when he took over as entertainment chief in 1995 with hits as “Two and a Half Men” and “Survivor.” He was also one of the highest-paid executives in the nation, making about $70 million in each of the past two …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


President Trump Wants Fed to Avoid ‘Yet Another Mistake’ By Hiking Rates

President Donald Trump issued a fresh appeal to the Federal Reserve to avoid making “yet another mistake” just hours before the U.S. central bank starts a two-day meeting at which it’s widely expected to raise interest rates.

“I hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial before they make yet another mistake,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Also, don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!”

In a piece Tuesday titled “Time for a Fed Pause,” the Journal urged the Federal Open Market Committee to forgo a rate hike amid a lack of inflation and a possible slowing in U.S. economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of stocks fell more than 500 points on Monday and is down 12 percent since early October. Trump’s “50 B’s” may refer to the Fed’s current policy of reducing its bond holdings by a maximum of $50 billion per month.

At a critical juncture in the Fed’s effort to prevent the economy from overheating, Trump is presenting the biggest presidential challenge to U.S. central bank independence in decades. While there may be an economic case for Chairman Jerome Powell to hold off on the ninth rate hike since December 2015, a larger threat may be eroding the Fed’s inflation-fighting credibility by appearing to cave to Trump’s demands.

“The FOMC would be justified in pausing at this meeting given tighter financial conditions and global growth risks, especially with core inflation still below their objective,” BNP Paribas Asset Management Senior Economist Steven Friedman said in an email. “But pressure from the White House makes it harder for the committee to consider this option.”

Trump’s tweet follows one on Monday slamming the Fed for “even considering” another interest-rate increase, laying out arguments against a hike to savor the achievement of a strong U.S. economy.

The Fed began gradually shrinking its balance sheet in 2017 after inflating it to more than $4 trillion by buying bonds to fight the financial crisis and revive the economy. The balance-sheet runoff cap, which had gradually increased, hit its maximum of $50 billion starting in October. That means the central bank can let up to $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in agency debt run off without reinvestment each month.

…read more

Source:: Time – Business


Stock Markets Stabilize As Investors Await Fed Interest Rate Hike

SINGAPORE — World stocks stabilized Tuesday, with Wall Street expected to edge up after heavy losses the day before, as traders prepare for a likely interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was 0.5 percent higher at 10,820 after falling into a bear market on Monday. France’s CAC 40 was flat at 4,801 and Britain’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.5 percent to 6,740.

WALL STREET: On Monday, broad selling knocked U.S. indexes to their lowest levels in over a year. Investors sold almost everything, from technology and retail stocks to steadier high-dividend companies. Less than 40 of the 500 stocks in the broad S&P 500 index finished the day higher. Stocks were set to recover slightly on Tuesday. S&P 500 and Dow futures both rose 0.3 percent.

FED MEETING: The Federal Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. It is expected to raise its short-term interest rate by a modest quarter-point, to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent a day later. The rate is used as a benchmark for many consumer and business loans. Investors fear more monetary tightening would weigh on U.S. growth, and eventually, the global economy, which is already expected to slow in 2019 because of trade tensions. President Donald Trump tweeted that it was “incredible” the Fed was considering another rate hike, with “a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation.” The central bank forecasts three more rate hikes in 2019.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Despite Donald Trump’s recent overture, the Fed looks set to hike rates again on Wednesday with market players anxious to see if the economy can handle more policy tightening given expectations for slowing growth,” ING economists Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal said in a commentary.

GERMANY GLOOM: Business confidence took a hit in Europe’s largest economy. The Ifo Institute said Tuesday its business confidence index dropped to 101.0 points for December from 102.0 points in November as managers’ view of both their current circumstances and their prospects for the next six months fell. That comes as the German DAX stock index entered a bear market this week, down over 20 percent from a January high.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was 1.8 percent lower at 21,115.45 and the Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.4 percent to 2,062.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent to 25,814.25. The Shanghai Composite index dipped 0.8 percent to 2,576.65. Australia’s S&P ASX …read more

Source:: Time – Business