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U.S. poll finds bipartisan concern over high CEO pay

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An employee of a money changer holds a stack of U.S. dollar notes before giving it to a customer in Jakarta, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta

By Ross Kerber

(Reuters) – Bipartisan majorities of U.S. adults think CEO pay is too high, a new poll found, presenting a challenge for corporate boards looking to balance compensation for leaders and workers.

In a survey of 1,037 people in February, 81% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans said the CEOs of the largest American companies were paid “too much,” according to poll sponsor Just Capital, a nonprofit focused on corporate stakeholder research.

“The story of this is really nonpartisan, across the board people are feeling like CEOs are overpaid relative to frontline workers,” said Alison Omens, Just’s chief strategy officer.

As boards set CEO pay, they should consider whether there is “value creation by the CEO in a way the workers will understand,” she said in an interview.

Previous polls have also found public dissatisfaction with high executive pay, but the political breakdown of those views has been less explored.

A separate study in April by Equilar found median pay for the CEOs of 100 top U.S. companies rose 31% in 2021 to a record $20 million, based on proxies filed so far this year, and found the ratio of CEO pay to the pay of companies’ median workers rose to 254:1 from 238:1.

Just Capital used different numbers in polling including a review of Russell 1000 companies that found a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 235:1, and found broad concern the gaps would mean social problems.

For instance 81% said large companies should do what they can to provide basic security to their lowest-paid workers, while 19% said the companies aren’t responsible for keeping workers out of poverty.

While tight labor markets have boosted workers’ wages, many gains have been offset by rising inflation. Omens said expectations the COVID-19 pandemic and racial-equality movements would lead to more pay equity now seem less obvious.

Stock Markets

Dow Futures Tick Lower After Wall Street Sell-off Intensifies

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© Reuters.

By Oliver Gray 

Investing.com – U.S. stock futures were trading lower during Wednesday’s evening deals, after major benchmark averages finished the regular session sharply lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its biggest loss since 2020 after retail earnings indicated rising inflation pressures weighing on corporate profits.

By 6:42pm ET (10:42pm GMT) Dow Jones Futures and S&P 500 Futures were each trading 0.1% lower while Nasdaq 100 Futures fell 0.2%.

In extended deals, Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) dipped 12.9% after results as the as the company forecasted a surprising decline in revenue for the current quarter. Q3 EPS came in at 87 cents versus 86 cents expected while revenue came in at $12.8 billion versus estimates of $13.34 billion.

Bath & Body Works Inc. (NYSE:BBWI) fell 6% after reporting, as the company forecasted lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Q1 EPS of 64 cents versus 53 cents expected on revenues of $1.45 billion versus $1.44 billion expected.

Synopsys Inc (NASDAQ:SNPS) gained 3.5% as the company reported Q2 EPS of $2.50 versus $2.37 expected on revenues of $1.28 billion versus estimates of $1.26 billion.

During Wednesday’s regular trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1,164.52 points, or 3.57%, to close at 14-month lows of 31,490.07 and posting its largest daily losses since June 2020. The S&P 500 traded 4.04% lower to 3,923.68 while the NASDAQ Composite dropped 4.73% to 11,418.15.

Among stocks, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) shares tumbled 24.9% Wednesday after the retailer reported first-quarter earnings that were much lower than Wall Street estimated due to rising costs for fuel and compensation.

Major tech companies were also hit amid the sell-off with Block Inc (NYSE:SQ) down 3.2%, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) falling 7.2%, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) dipping 4.8% and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) down 5.6%.

On the bond markets, United States 10-Year rates were at 2.884%.

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Stock Markets

New York Times pauses return to office for workers

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – The New York Times Co said on Wednesday it is pausing its plan to ask employees to return to office as COVID-19 cases rise in the United States.

Employees of the company, headquartered in New York City, were previously set to return to office in June.

The United States is averaging nearly 97,000 new cases a day, up from about 73,000 a week ago, according to a Reuters tally, with New York City raising its COVID-19 alert level to high on Tuesday.

“Based on the city’s guidance and the advice of our health experts, we are pausing the start of our Expected Phase of return to office until conditions improve,” the company said in a note sent to its staff.

The company also said it strongly recommends that employees wear masks in common areas at its facilities, including elevators, meeting rooms, restrooms and pantries, where social distancing is not possible

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Hedge fund Melvin Capital tells investors it plans to shut down -letter

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2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

2/2

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) – Hedge fund manager Gabe Plotkin, who boasted one of Wall Street’s best investing records, on Wednesday told investors that he is shutting down his firm, Melvin Capital, after it suffered billions of dollars in losses.

“The appropriate next step is to wind down the Funds by fully liquidating the Funds’ assets and accounts and returning cash to all investors,” Plotkin wrote in a letter reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday.

Melvin Capital had $7.8 billion in assets at the end of April and the fund had lost 23% since January, a person familiar with the fund’s finances said.

This year’s losses come on the heels of steep losses in 2021 when Melvin Capital ended the year down 39%. The firm bet that shares of GameStop (NYSE:GME) would tumble but was battered when retail investors took the other side and sent the stock surging.

The firm had $12.5 billion in assets at the start of 2021.

In the letter Plotkin said he had already raised a substantial amount of cash and cut the funds’ exposure.

A spokesman for Plotkin declined to comment.

At the end of the first quarter Melvin’s biggest investments included bets on Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV), Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:HLT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Datadog (NASDAQ:DDOG). Their stock prices have fallen sharply in the last weeks, sparking speculation that a hedge fund might be trying to unwind positions.

Plotkin was a star investor at Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and launched his own firm after SAC pleaded guilty to criminal insider trading charges. Melvin Capital quickly attracted attention and powerful investors and ended 2020, the year the pandemic began, with gains of 52.5%.

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