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US sues UBS over alleged crisis-era mortgage securities fraud

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The U.S. government on Thursday filed a civil fraud lawsuit accusing UBS Group, Switzerland’s largest bank, of defrauding investors in its sale of residential mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

UBS was accused of misleading investors about the quality of more than $41 billion of subprime and other risky mortgage loans backing 40 securities offerings in 2006 and 2007, the Department of Justice said in a complaint filed with the federal court in Brooklyn.

The lawsuit came after UBS rejected a government proposal that it pay nearly $2 billion to settle, according to a person familiar with the talks who was not authorized to speak publicly about them.

While UBS was not a big originator of U.S. residential home loans, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn said investors suffered “catastrophic losses” from the bank’s failure to fully disclose the risks of mortgage securities it helped sell.

A UBS spokesman and a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the settlement talks, but the bank said it will fight the lawsuit.

“The DOJ’s claims are not supported by the facts or the law,” it said in a statement. “UBS is confident in its legal position and has been fully prepared for some time to defend itself in court.”

U.S. officials are seeking unspecified fines against UBS under a federal law allowing it to pursue penalties up to the amounts the bank gained or others lost from alleged misconduct.

The case is one of the last addressing alleged misconduct in the pooling and sale by large banks of mortgage securities that were a major cause of the financial crisis.

Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Scotland previously settled.

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Australian stocks fall on the back of overnight plunge on Wall Street

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 500 points on Wall Street overnight, erasing its gains for 2018.

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Goldman slashes Apple price forecast, sees stock going nowhere

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Goldman Sachs now sees Apple’s earnings per year for calendar year 2019 at $13.40, roughly in line with the company’s last three years next-12-month average.

Apple has cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhones launched in September, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The company stunned many analysts and investors on Nov. 1 when it said it will no longer break out individual sales numbers for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. The three main product lines will be wrapped into one reported revenue figure.

The iPad maker is morphing from a business propelled by the volume of devices it ships into one that stresses luxury products and software sales. That evolution has been marked by shockwaves for much of the technology space, with several of Apple’s largest semiconductor suppliers noting marked declines in order volume.

Apple shares dropped by 5 percent last Monday alone after one of its chipmakers, Lumentum (LITE), said one of its largest customers reduced shipments. Though Lumentum, which makes 3D sensing lasers used in Apple’s Face ID technology, did not mention Apple by name, Wall Street punished the iPhone maker as the prime suspect.

“You’re talking not just about what Apple represents, but its effect across the whole food chain, including semiconductors,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives told CNBC last week. “As the core ‘FANG’ names have just taken gut punches left and right over the past few months, this latest downturn for Apple — the degree of it — has really caught investors off base.”

Apple’s decision to no longer break out iPhone sales data, meanwhile, is being heralded as a signal that the phone maker may be expecting softer iPhone volumes in the future. The company has attempted to remedy the slowing volumes with pricier phones, but even those efforts appear to be reaching their limit, Goldman said.

“Apple’s success with iPhone X demand this summer and then a relatively healthy start to the XS cycle this fall suggested to us that pricing power was still intact,” Hall wrote. “However, the laboratory of the market now points to Apple being at the limit of their price premium for the iPhone. In our experience with mobile phones, when pricing power is lost, consumer technology companies tend to either lose margins or market share or both.”

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Norwegian cruise ships to be powered using dead fish

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Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten is to power its ships using liquefied biogas (LBG) produced from dead fish and other kinds of organic waste.

In an announcement at the end of last week, the business said that the LBG used to power its ships would be fossil free and renewable. The fish used in the biogas will come from “cutaways” – essentially waste produce – from fisheries.

“What others see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution,” the company’s CEO, Daniel Skjeldam, said in a statement.

“While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, our ships will literally be powered by nature,” Skjeldam went on to state. “Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow.”

Hurtigruten said that 2019 would see the company introduce the MS Roald Amundsen, which it described as “the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ship.”

By the year 2021, the business wants to operate at least six of its ships with biogas and batteries, combined with liquefied natural gas.

Hurtigruten is the latest company looking to power its ships with renewable energy.

Finnish shipping business Viking Line’s M/S Viking Grace has been fitted with a rotor sail that enables it to use wind power during trips between Finland and Sweden.

The vessel uses a 24-meter-tall cylindrical rotor sail developed by Norsepower Oy, another Finnish company. The sail uses something called the “Magnus effect” for propulsion. As the rotor spins, passing air flows with a lower pressure on one side compared to the other, creating a propulsion force.

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