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Wells Fargo pays $1 billion to settle investigations of auto loans, mortgages

“Wells Fargo has a terrible track record of harming consumers and deserves every punishment they have received and more,” said Rep” writes Matt Rourke Associated for washingtonexaminer.com. Wells Fargo, the lender grappling with fallout over millions of phony accounts and government restrictions on its growth, agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties to settle investigations of its automotive- and mortgage-lending practices.While berating Mulvaney for “working to undermine the consumer bureau from the inside,” she argued that fines are insufficient to address Wells Fargo’s improprieties. Source: washingtonexaminer.com Share This:

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News Stocks 

European stocks fall from 7-week high as consumer-goods shares struggle

“European stocks edged down Friday, as losses in the consumer-goods sector contributed to pulling the regional market away from a seven-week high” writes Markets Reporter for marketwatch.com. But U.K. stocks moved higher Friday as a whole as the pound fell against major rivals.The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.15%  fell 0.3% to 380.71, led by losses for the oil and gas and consumer goods.That sector lost ground on Thursday, as concerns about weak pricing power hurt shares of Dove soap maker Unilever PLC ULVR, +0.41%  , and tobacco stocks fell…

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P&G’s vitamin boost could signal more to come

“P&G was in talks with Pfizer about buying the U.S. drugmaker’s consumer health business, CNBC reported earlier this month” reports businessinsider.com. A spokeswoman for P&G declined to comment on the company’s strategy to expand its vitamins, minerals and supplements business. Bernstein analysts noted that the Pfizer business “may still be an acquisition candidate (for P&G) since it doesn’t seem to raise anti-trust concerns on the surface.”. P&G already owns consumer health brands including Vick’s, Metamucil and Pepto-Bismol. Source: businessinsider.com Share This:

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Markets News Stocks 

Stock market loses ground, with consumer staples leading the skid

“The stock was on track for its biggest one-day percentage decline since being spun off from Altria Group Inc” writes Markets Writer for marketwatch.com. Facebook shares lost 0.3%.The biggest loser was consumer staples, which slumped 3.3% following weak results from tobacco giant Philip Morris, as well as an acquisition by Procter & Gamble. Source: marketwatch.com Share This:

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P&G Scoops Consumer Healthcare Unit From Germany’s Merck in First Peltz-era Deal

“Procter & Gamble (PG) agreed Thursday to buy the consumer healthcare unit of Germany’s Merck KGaA (MKGAY) for around $4.2 billion in the first major purchase for the group since activist investor Nelson Peltz won a seat on the board late last year” writes Martin Baccardax for thestreet.com. Procter & Gamble will pay €3.4 billion ($4.21 billion) for the division, which includes brands such as Seven Seas and Neurobion vitamins, in a deal that is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Source: thestreet.com Share This:

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China posts strong first-quarter growth, hearty consumer demand buffers trade worries for now

“January-March fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 7.5 percent, below expectations and 7.9 percent in January-February” writes Midwest Communications Inc for 95kqds.com. For graphic on trends in China’s economic indicators click http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/CHINA-ECONOMY/010031D432Z/index.html. BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy grew at a slightly faster-than-expected pace of 6.8 percent in the first quarter, buoyed by strong consumer demand, healthy exports and robust property investment.Fixed-asset investment has also faltered as Beijing urges local governments to refrain from rampant borrowing to finance glamor projects to beat economic growth targets.First-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was also…

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News Platforms 

Marketing in the Age of Alexa

“With consumer data now being used to create finely targeted marketing, customer acquisition has become ever more efficient” reports hbr.org. Push marketing (getting platforms to carry and promote a product) will become more important, while pull marketing (persuading consumers to seek products) becomes less so.Once the dust settles, we expect that just a handful of general-purpose AI platforms will be left standing.Marketers’ current obsession with creating an omnichannel customer experience will fade as AI platforms become a powerful marketing medium, sales and distribution channel, and fulfillment and service center—all rolled…

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Automobiles drive U.S. retail sales higher in March

“Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in February” writes Midwest Communications Inc for 95kqds.com. Economists largely blame the weakness in retail sales at the start of the year on delays in processing tax refunds.The Commerce Department said on Monday retail sales increased 0.6 percent last month after an unrevised 0.1 percent dip in February.These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising…

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Retail sales rebound on the back of strong auto sales

“Economists largely blame the weakness in retail sales at the start of the year on delays in processing tax refunds” writes Lucia Mutikani for businessinsider.com. The Commerce Department said on Monday retail sales increased 0.6 percent last month after an unrevised 0.1 percent dip in February.Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in February.These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising 0.4…

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University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slips to 3-month low on trade-war fears

“The index of current economic conditions fell to 115 from 121.2, while the expectations index declined to 86.8 from 88.8” writes D C for marketwatch.com. The numbers: The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index in April fell to a reading of 97.8, down from 101.4 in March.For those who were negative on Trump’s trade moves, the expectations index was 64.2, compared with 93.9 for those who didn’t mention it.What they’re saying: “Despite today’s decline, consumer sentiment remains relatively high, and is consistent with strong consumption spending in the coming months,”…

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