Oil-Vay! Barrels Hit a New Low; Edward Jones Gets Called Out; Candy Crush Saga’s Earnings Not So Sweet;

How crude…

Image courtesy of krishna arts/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of krishna arts/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The price of a barrel of oil has hit a new low and that’s good news. Or bad. It all depends on where you’re coming from. Literally. For the bargain price of $41.92, you could get yourself a whole barrel of oil. A year ago that same barrel of oil would have set you back $100. That is definitely good news for drivers. Not so much for places like Texas and North Dakota where hundreds of thousands of people there are employed by the industry and where there have been a lot of job cuts as a result of the dropping energy prices. By the way, according to the AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas is $2.62. Enjoy it while it lasts. Problem is, there is way more supply than demand. Despite the large supply of oil, OPEC insists on continuing to pump out its stash that won’t be needed. But OPEC’s freaking out and thinking this is the best course of action. Then there’s the shale boom right in the United States. Again. More energy. Declining demand. Which brings us to Iran. Now that the U.S. is playing nice with the human rights-violating country, you can expect Iran to unleash its supply, as well. But wait. There’s more. Maritime surveillance seems to be indicating that Iran has been hoarding its oil supply. It’s thought to have 50 million barrels, instead of the previously estimated 40 million barrels. Once Iran complies with nuclear demands it gets to unleash its stash and make an ungodly amount of money of it. Which is just what you want to happen to an authoritarian regime, with terrorist ties, that doesn’t recognize the rights of women, gays and other religions and ethnic groups.

Brokerages behaving badly…

Image courtesy of  hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, instead of banks behaving badly, we bring you brokerages behaving badly. This time we turn pour attention to St. Louis-based Edward Jones, a firm that boasts 7 million clients, 13,000 of whom got bilked by the firm between 2009 – 2012. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, these 13,000 customers had the bad fortune of getting overcharged by the 93 year old firm when they purchased new municipal bonds. So not cool.┬áThe United States’ muni-markets is an estimated $3.7 trillion market. Edward Jones now has the dubious distinction of becoming the first defendant in a case where the SEC comes against an underwriter for pricing-related fraud in the municipal securities market. So congrats, Edward Jones. That’s quite an achievement. Clients were overcharged by a whopping $4.6 million for these new bonds and now Edward Jones gets to pay it back. And then some. The firms has to pay $20 million in a settlement including returning $5.2 million to the affected customers (some of whom have already left the firm). Also named in the settlement was Stina Wishman, who headed the firm’s muni-bond desk at the time clients were over-charged. She received a $15,000 fine and is barred from working in the securities industry for at least two years. Can’t wait to see how she updates her LinkedIn profile.


Image courtesy of  debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just because you’re sitting at you desk procrastinating by playing Candy Crush, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. King Digital, the company behind the addictive mobile games just released its second quarter profit and they were anything but…sweet. The company’s quarterly profit took a 28% beating down to $119.3 million and 38 cents per share on $489.5 million revenue. Analysts predicted the company would score $134.3 million at 42 cents per share on $482.4 million in revenue. At least the revenue take-in wasn’t as brutal. But last year at this time the company raked in much better digits when it saw $165.4 million in profits with 52 cents added per share. It didn’t help that King Digital’s monthly unique visitors fell 7% to 340 million. That and a strong dollar sent shares down over 8% today.