Shareholder activism is a rough business. Investors who amass large stockholdings and then demand changes are usually resisted and excoriated by the companies' managements, who do everything they can to defeat them. The resulting fights for control can often be public and ugly, with both sides seeking to dig up dirt or arguments with which to discredit the other side.
It was one week ago this Tuesday that a hacked AP account tweeted, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured” to its 1.9 million followers. Moments later, the @AP twitter handle released a statement saying they had been hacked and that President Obama was fine, but the markets had already reacted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 150 points and lost $136 billion in value before rebounding.
The United States government has had two years to head off automatic "sequester" spending cuts that most people agreed were unnecessary and almost everyone hated. But these days, the government doesn't do anything unless public anger hits such a state of fervor that Congress -- people actually begin to fear for their jobs.
While the American economy may continue to be sending investors mixed signals about a potential recovery, famed short-seller Jim Chanos still believes the U.S. is "the best house in a bad neighborhood." He's been bullish on U.S.
After 80 years, New York's Second Avenue subway project is finally under way. War, depression and near-municipal bankruptcy have plagued this project from the beginning, but updating a subway system in America's most densely populated city is no small feat. The FT's Christopher Booker reports on how the city's transport challenges reflect many of the larger questions facing the United States For more video content from the Financial Times, visit http://www.FT.com/video
Last month United States Postal Service Postmaster Patrick Donahoe warned that the Postal Service was on the brink of default. He proposed cutting Saturday delivery service as a way to save $2 billion annually. But in a setback to the agency's cost-saving efforts, Congress has passed legislation requiring a six-day postal service delivery schedule.
While the US has averted going head-first over the fiscal cliff, the FT's Anna Fifield says that that doesn't mean an end to the bitter political battles over America's finances. For more on the US Fiscal Cliff from the Financial Times, visit www.ft.com/indepth/us-fiscal-cliff
The Lex team's Nikki Tait and Vincent Boland discuss the regulatory and political hurdles to a tie-up between BAE Systems and EADS. The two companies plan to create a $48bn European defence and aerospace group to rival Lockheed Martin and Boeing of the US. Related article: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4a6ccee8-fd74-11e1-8e36-00144feabdc0.html For more commentary from the Lex team, visit http://www.ft.com/lex http://www.FT.com/
BP has sold 'marginal' oil and gas fileds in the Gulf of Mexico in a deal that's transformational to the buyer Plains Exploration and Production. Lex's Oliver Ralph and Vincent Boland discuss where this leaves BP in its post Macondo slimming strategy.
In what is surely the most liberal of conventions, the Democrats managed to unify their party.