Starboard drops Dollar Tree board challenge

BlueMountain names slate for PG&E board

(Reuters) – Activist investor Starboard Value LP said on Friday it was withdrawing its nominations for directors at Dollar Tree Inc’s board, saying that it was pleased with the company’s decision to test multiple price points at its stores.

Starboard in January pushed for changes at the discount chain, seeking to capitalize on criticism from some investors and analysts that Dollar Tree should consider raising prices for some products to more than $1.

The hedge fund, along with its director nominations, had urged Dollar Tree to explore all alternatives for its Family Dollar business, including a sale.

The company last month announced plans to close hundreds more Family Dollar stores, and also reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter, same-store sales.

“We continue to enjoy constructive conversations with management and recognize their progress, as well as the significant increase in shareholder value based on the promises made since our involvement,” Starboard said.

Dollar Tree acknowledged Starboard’s decision in a statement and said it was committed to its plan to improve Family Dollar’s performance.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler

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Oil major Total CEO’s compensation drops 17 percent in 2018: company document

Oil major Total CEO's compensation drops 17 percent in 2018: company document

FILE PHOTO: Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Total, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

PARIS (Reuters) – The board of French oil and gas major Total has proposed total 2018 compensation for Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne of 3.1 million euros ($3.55 million), compared with 3.8 million in 2017, company documents showed on Wednesday.

The total pay includes 1.4 million euros in fixed compensation, the same as in 2017, and 1.72 million in annual variable compensation, compared with 2.4 million in 2017, and 69,000 in other benefits, the documents showed.

The company said in a statement that the decrease in variable compensation resulted from criteria based on the average three-year change in Total’s adjusted net income in comparison with those of its peers. “The Board of Directors wants to emphasize that the decrease by 17 percent of Patrick Pouyanne’s cash remuneration due for the year 2018, resulting from the strict application of the rules,… doesn’t reflect in any way its appreciation of the exceptional work accomplished in 2018 by (him),” it said.

Pouyanne has often quipped that he is the least paid among the bosses of the global oil majors. The company reported a 28 percent jump in full-year profit in 2018 to $13.6 billion.

In comparison, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden’s 2018 pay package more than doubled to 20.1 million euros and Chevron Corp has said its Chief Executive Officer Michael Wirth is eligible for $19 million in total pay this year.

Total’s shareholders will vote on Pouyanne’s proposed package during an annual meeting on May 29.

Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Leigh Thomas and Kirsten Donovan

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Wall Street drops on paltry jobs growth, global slowdown worries

Wall Street drops on paltry jobs growth, global slowdown worries

(Reuters) – Wall Street declined on Friday after data showed U.S. job growth almost stalled in February, adding to concerns of a slowdown in global growth sparked by weak China export data and a prolonged slowdown in eurozone.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The U.S. economy created only 20,000 jobs in February, compared with expectations of non farm payrolls rising by 180,000 jobs last month, according to economists polled by Reuters.

“The poor number indicates that we are suffering alongside the rest of the global economy and that it is having an impact on the U.S.,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“The U.S. has been the best house in a lousy neighborhood and maybe that is changing.”

However, other details of the closely followed employment report were strong. The unemployment rate fell back to below 4 percent and annual wage growth was the best since 2009.

The jobs report bolstered the Federal Reserve’s case for putting the interest rate hikes on hold, pushing the U.S. Treasury yields lower.

Shares of big banks dropped and pushed the interest-rate sensitive financials down 0.69 percent. Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley dropped between 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent.

Worries about global growth gained ground after exports in China, the world’s second largest economy, tumbled the most in three years in February. Chinese imports also fell for a third straight month, which stirred talk of a “trade recession”.

The dismal economic report follows decision by the European Central Bank to cut its growth forecasts and unveil a new round of stimulus.

Adding to investor nerves was a comment from U.S. ambassador to China that the two sides have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve their trade dispute as neither side feels an agreement is imminent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tariff sensitive Boeing Co fell 0.7 percent and was the biggest drag on the bluechip Dow index, while Caterpillar Inc edged 1.3 percent lower.

Losses in heavyweight FAANG group of stocks increased after Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said in blog post she would present a regulatory plan to break up some of America’s largest technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc.

Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple Inc, Netflix Inc and Alphabet were trading down between 1.2 percent and 2 percent.

At 9:47 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 137.41 points, or 0.54 percent, at 25,335.82. The S&P 500 was down 17.94 points, or 0.65 percent, at 2,730.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 60.88 points, or 0.82 percent, at 7,360.58.

Wall Street’s main indexes are set for their fifth day of declines and were on pace for their steepest weekly fall since December after starting the year on a strong note.

The energy sector fell 2.48 percent as oil prices slid and Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund said it would drop oil and gas companies from its benchmark index and investment universe.

Oil majors ExxonMobil Corp and Chevron Corp dropped about 2 percent each.

The defensive real estate, utilities and consumer staples sector, were the only S&P sectors trading higher.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.62-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.58-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 11 new highs and 32 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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