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Supreme Court rejects Trump backed lawsuit that sought to overturn Biden election victory

The Supreme Court’s order dealt a death blow to Trump’s desperate and unsuccessful efforts to reverse Biden’s projected Electoral College victory.

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The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid launched by Texas and backed by President Donald Trump that sought to undo Joe Biden’s election wins in the key swing states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The ruling dealt a death blow to Trump’s desperate and unsuccessful efforts to reverse Biden’s projected Electoral College victory.

It came three days before electors are set to cast their ballots in their respective states, finalizing the Democratic former vice president’s win.

Election law experts from the outset said that the suit was unlikely to succeed. But Trump, who himself even filed a motion to intervene in the case, had hyped up Paxton’s lawsuit as “the big one.”

In denying Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to file the lawsuit against the four battleground states, the Supreme Court justices said that Texas did not have the grounds to sue the other states over changes they made to their voting procedures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution,” the court said. For a person or entity such as a state to have legal standing to sue, they must be able to show that they were harmed by another’s actions.

“Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot,”the Supreme Court said.

Trump in a tweet late Friday said, “The Supreme Court really let us down.”

“No Wisdom, No Courage!”

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has led his campaign’s efforts to challenge the election results, told Newsmax in an interview, “We’re not finished. Believe me.”

Giuliani told the news outlet that the Texas “case wasn’t rejected on the merits, the case was rejected on standing. So the answer to that is to bring the case now to the district court by the president, by some of the electors, alleging some of the same facts where there would be standing.”

“There’s nothing that prevents us from filing these cases immediately in the district court in which the president of course would have standing, some of the electors would have standing in that their constitutional rights have been violated,” added the former New York City mayor.

But Trump, who has appointed three justices to the nine-member court, said before the Nov. 3 election that he believed the Supreme Court ultimately would decide the race.

“I think it’s very important that we have nine justices” for that reason, Trump had said shortly after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September.

Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg. She was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate over fierce objections by Democrats who said the appointment was improper because it was so close to the election.

Biden spokesman Mike Gwin in a statement Friday evening said the court “decisively and speedily rejected the latest of Donald Trump and his allies’ attacks on the democratic process.”

“This is no surprise — dozens of judges, election officials from both parties, and Trump’s own Attorney General have dismissed his baseless attempts to deny that he lost the election,” Gwin said. “President-elect Biden’s clear and commanding victory will be ratified by the Electoral College on Monday, and he will be sworn in on January 20th.”

Texas’ suit made the unprecedented request for the Supreme Court to invalidate the election results of the four battleground states by declaring that their Electoral College votes “cannot be counted.”

Biden’s wins in the four states, which together held 62 electoral votes, had put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, compared with 232 for Trump.

If Texas had won the suit, it would have nullified Biden’s victory.

Two of the high court’s most conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, in a brief dissent said that they would have allowed Paxton’s lawsuit to be filed, but added that they would “not grant other relief” sought in the case.

“In my view, we do not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction,” Alito wrote in a statement that Thomas backed. “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.”

NBC News legal analyst Benjamin Wittes said that although Alito and Thomas dissented from the decision to allow the suit, they would have rejected Texas’s claims on the merits of the case, along with the seven other justices on the Supreme Court.

More than a dozen states where Trump won the popular vote filed briefs in support of Texas’ action, as did over 120 Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in “friend of the court” briefs.

But about two dozens states and territories that Biden won filed their own briefs in opposition to Texas’ complaint.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a scathing Dear Colleague letter Friday afternoon accused Republicans supporting the case of engaging in “election subversion that imperils our democracy.”

“This lawsuit is an act of flailing GOP Desperation, which violates the principles enshrined in our American Democracy,” Pelosi wrote.

“As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution,” her letter said. “Republicans are subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who has clashed with Trump, said in a statement that the Supreme Court has finally “closed the book on the nonsense.”

“Since Election Night, a lot of people have been confusing voters by spinning Kenyan Birther-type, ‘Chavez rigged the election from the grave’ conspiracy theories, but every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense,” he said.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who had represented her state against Paxton’s suit, said the ruling “is an important reminder that we are a nation of laws, and though some may bend to the desire of a single individual, the courts will not.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/11/supreme-court-rejects-texas-lawsuit-challenging-bidens-election-wins-in-4-key-states.html

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The Fed moves up its timeline for rate hikes as inflation rises

However, the central bank gave no indication as to when it will begin cutting back on its aggressive bond-buying program.

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The Federal Reserve on Wednesday considerably raised its expectations for inflation this year and brought forward the time frame on when it will next raise interest rates.

However, the central bank gave no indication as to when it will begin cutting back on its aggressive bond-buying program, though Fed Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that officials discussed the issue at the meeting.

“You can think of this meeting that we had as the ‘talking about talking about’ meeting,” Powell said in a phrase that recalled a statement he made a year ago that the Fed wasn’t “thinking about thinking about raising rates.”

As expected, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee unanimously left its benchmark short-term borrowing rate anchored near zero. But officials indicated that rate hikes could come as soon as 2023, after saying in March that it saw no increases until at least 2024. The so-called dot plot of individual member expectations pointed to two hikes in 2023.

Though the Fed raised its headline inflation expectation to 3.4%, a full percentage point higher than the March projection, the post-meeting statement continued to say that inflation pressures are “transitory.” The raised expectations come amid the biggest rise in consumer prices in about 13 years.

“This is not what the market expected,” said James McCann, deputy chief economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The Fed is now signaling that rates will need to rise sooner and faster, with their forecast suggesting two hikes in 2023. This change in stance jars a little with the Fed’s recent claims that the recent spike in inflation is temporary.”

Markets reacted to the Fed news, with stocks falling and government bond yields higher as investors anticipated tighter Fed policy ahead, including the likelihood that the bond purchases will slow as soon as this year.

“If you’re going to get two rate hikes in 2023, you have to start tapering fairly soon to reach that goal,” said Kathy Jones, head of fixed income at Charles Schwab. “It takes maybe 10 months to a year to taper at a moderate pace. Then you’re looking at we need to start tapering maybe later this year, and if the economy continues to run a little bit hot, rate hikes sooner rather than later.”

Even with the raised forecast for this year, the committee still sees inflation trending to its 2% goal over the long run.

“Our expectation is these high inflation readings now will abate,” Powell said at his post-meeting news conference.

Powell also cautioned about reading too much into the dot-plot, saying it is “not a great forecaster of future rate moves. “Lift-off is well into the future,” he said.

Powell did note that some of the dynamics associated with the reopening are “raising the possibility that inflation could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we anticipate.”

Powell said progress toward the Fed’s dual employment and inflation goals was happening somewhat faster than anticipated. He particularly noted the sharp rebound in growth that now has the Fed seeing GDP 7% in 2021.

“Much of this rapid growth reflect the continued bounceback in activity from depressed levels, and the factors more affected by the pandemic remain weak but have shown improvement,” he said.

Officials raised their GDP expectations for this year to 7% from 6.5% previously. The unemployment estimate remained unchanged at 4.5%.

The statement tempered some of the language of previous statements since the Covid-19 crisis. Since last year, the FOMC had said the pandemic was “causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world.”

Wednesday’s statement instead noted the progress vaccinations had made against the disease, noting that “indicators of economic activity and employment have strengthened. The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic remain weak but have shown improvement.”

Investors were watching the meeting closely for statements about how Fed officials see an economy undergoing rapid expansion since the depths of the pandemic crisis in 2020.

Recent indicators show that in some respects the U.S. is expanding at the fastest rate since World War II. But that growth also has come with inflation, and the central bank has faced pressure from various sources to at least start curtailing the at least $120 billion in bond purchases it is making each month.

At his post-meeting news conference Chairman Jerome Powell noted that Fed officials “had discussions” on the progress made toward the inflation and employment goals relative to the asset purchases, and will continue do do so in the months ahead.

Markets had been looking for the possibility that the committee would address its open-market operations where it provides short-term funding for financial institutions. The so-called overnight repo operations, where banks exchange high-end collateral for reserves, have been seeing record demand lately as institutions look for any yield above the negative rates they are seeing in some markets.

The committee did raise the interest it pays on excess reserves by 5 basis points to 0.15%.

In a separate matter, the FOMC announced that it would extend dollar-swap lines with global central banks through the end of the year. The currency program is one of the last remaining Covid-era initiatives the Fed took to keep global markets flowing.

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“This is not what the market expected,” said James McCann, deputy chief economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The Fed is now signaling that rates will need to rise sooner and faster, with their forecast suggesting two hikes in 2023. This change in stance jars a little with the Fed’s recent claims that the recent spike in inflation is temporary.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/16/fed-holds-rates-steady-but-raises-inflation-expectations-sharply-and-makes-no-mention-of-taper.html

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Oracle guidance misses expectations, stock drops

Oracle reported better-than-expected results and showed accelerating growth compared with the immediate impact of the coronavirus last year.

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Safra Catz, co-chief executive officer of Oracle Corp.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oracle shares fell 5% in extended trading on Tuesday after the company offered lower quarterly revenue guidance than expected as it plans to increase capital expenditures to support cloud computing workloads. The guidance came on Oracle’s earnings call after the enterprise software maker issued better-than-expected earnings and faster revenue growth than last quarter.

Here’s how the company did:

  • Earnings: $1.54 per share, adjusted, vs. $1.31 per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $11.23 billion, vs. $11.04 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

With respect to guidance, Oracle CEO Safra Catz called for 94 cents to 98 cents in adjusted earnings per share and 3% to 5% revenue growth in the fiscal first quarter. Analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting fiscal first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.03 per share and the equivalent of 3% revenue growth.

“We expect to roughly double our cloud capex spend in FY 2022 to nearly $4 billion,” Catz said. “We are confident that the increased return in the cloud business more than justifies this increased investment, and our margins will expand over time.”

Revenue rose 8% year over year in Oracle’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on May 31, according to a statement. In the prior quarter revenue grew 3%. The accelerating growth benefited from a comparison against the quarter last year when the coronavirus arrived in the U.S. and Oracle’s revenue fell some 6%.

Oracle’s top segment by revenue, cloud services and license support, generated $7.39 billion, which was up 8% and above the FactSet consensus estimate of $7.32 billion in revenue. The company said revenue from its second-generation cloud infrastructure doubled in the quarter, but it did not provide the figure in dollars.

The cloud license and on-premises license segment contributed $2.14 billion in revenue, up 9% and more than the $2.05 billion consensus.

The company’s hardware revenue, at $882 million, was exactly in line with analysts’ estimates, declining 2%.

During the quarter Oracle announced new public-cloud computing options that draw on Arm-based chips, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a longstanding case between Oracle and Google, declaring that Google’s copying of Java code was fair use.

Notwithstanding the after-hours move, Oracle stock is up 26% since the start of the year, while the S&P 500 index is up 13% over the same period.

In May, Barclays analysts lowered their rating on the stock to the equivalent of hold from the equivalent of buy after the price had moved upward as investors rotated out of growth and into value. “To see further relative outperformance a growth acceleration at Oracle is needed, and we don’t have enough tangible data points for this yet,” the analysts wrote.

WATCH: The great tech tug-o-war

Here’s how the company did:

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/15/oracle-orcl-earnings-q4-2021.html

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RH beats earnings, hikes outlook as retail rebound boosts high-end home goods; shares jump

Shares of the high-end furniture retailer surged Wednesday after the company beat analysts’ profit and sales estimates for the fiscal first quarter.

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Jason Kempin | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Shares of the high-end furniture retailer RH surged in extended trading Wednesday after the company beat analysts’ profit and sales estimates for the fiscal first quarter.

RH also hiked its full-year outlook, building on the momentum it’s seeing in the luxury home category, and gave a stronger-than-expected sales forecast for the second quarter.

In a letter to shareholders, Chief Executive Officer Gary Friedman said the remainder of this year “will surely be a tale of two halves” for the retail industry. But he said that “the un-masking of the general public could lead to a Roaring Twenties type of consumer exuberance.”

The company’s stock was last up more than 7%.

Here’s how RH did in the quarter ended May 1 compared with what analysts were anticipating, using Refinitiv estimates:

  • Earnings per share: $4.89 adjusted vs. $4.10 expected
  • Revenue: $861 million vs. $758 million expected

RH’s net income for the fiscal first quarter grew to $130.7 million, or $4.19 per share, compared with a loss of $3.2 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time adjustments, it earned $4.89 per share, topping expectations for $4.10.

Revenue surged 78% to $861 million from $483 million a year earlier. That also beat expectations for $758 million.

Friedman said that a strong housing and renovation market, a record stock market, low interest rates, and the reopening of the U.S. economy all bode well for the company in the quarters ahead.

RH hiked its fiscal 2021 outlook for revenue growth to a range of 25% to 30%, compared with a prior range of 15% to 20%. Analysts had been looking for a 19.7% increase year over year.

For its fiscal second quarter, RH expects revenue to grow 35% to 37%. Analysts had been looking for a 27.2% jump.

The company is preparing to kick off its global expansion in the spring of 2022, starting with England. To drive future growth, it is also considering expanding into new services, potentially into areas such as landscape architecture. It currently offers interior design consulting.

RH shares are up roughly 37% year to date. The company has a market cap of about $13 billion.

Find the full earnings press release from RH here.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/09/rh-earnings-q1-2021.html

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The Fed moves up its timeline for rate hikes as inflation rises

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Oracle guidance misses expectations, stock drops

Oracle reported better-than-expected results and showed accelerating growth compared with the immediate impact of the coronavirus last year.

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