Survey: Consumer sentiment up to highest level since January

27 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Consumer Sentiment at Highest Level Since January.

Consumer sentiment rose this month to the highest level since January, suggesting that spending would strengthen this year. The University of Michigan’s final index of sentiment increased to 96.1 in June, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from a 90.7 May reading.

Consumers’ views of the buying climate from January through June were the brightest since 2007 as job and income growth and stock-market gains led to more upbeat assessments about finances. The consumer-sentiment gauge averaged 86.9 over the year leading up to the recession. “Consumers voiced in the first half of 2015 the largest and most sustained increase in economic optimism since 2004,” according to the report, which noted an improvement for households throughout the income distribution. “The economic slowdown has ended according to consumers.” Economists follow readings on confidence to look for clues about consumer spending, the backbone of the economy.

The figures point to a stronger push for the economy as shoppers embrace cheaper merchandise as well as low interest rates for bigger purchases. “Consumers are in a fairly buoyant mood, and we see that being translated into spending activity,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy head of U.S. research and strategy at TD Securities LLC in New York, whose projection for a 95.2 reading was among the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “We’re not only headed in the right direction, but we seem to be moving in that direction at an accelerated pace.” The June sentiment index was the second-highest since January 2007, and the 5.4 point increase from May was the largest since December 2013. For the first six months of 2015, consumer optimism improved at the fastest pace since 2004, three years before the recession, said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Michigan survey. A gauge of consumers’ views on current conditions rose to 108.9 in June from 100.8 in May, while a barometer of their expectations increased to 87.8 from 84.2. Employers have been adding jobs — nearly 3.1 million over the last year — at a pace not seen since the boom years of the late 1990s. “After a soft start to the year, we expect the economy to find its footing in the coming months with stronger consumer spending seen to be a key driver of accelerating growth,” Gregory Daco, head of United States macroeconomics at Oxford Economics, wrote in a research note.

Further, some jobless workers continue to face a particularly harsh labor market — almost three-in-10 unemployed people have been looking for a new spot for at least half a year. Also, workers without permanent jobs have seen their share of the total labor force grow in recent years, a trend that cuts families’ financial stability. The Michigan report corroborates the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, which saw a turnaround in sentiment in the past two weeks after dropping almost 8 points from an eight-year high in mid-April. And the rebounding housing market hasn’t helped everyone — there are still pools of deeply distressed borrowers who are struggling to pay their monthly bills. He said he projects outlays to grow 3 percent this year, which means they will grow even faster than that in the second half of the year in order to meet his forecast.

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UPDATE 1-Western Refining to buy rest of Northern Tier

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Upgrades Northern Tier Energy LP (NTI) to “Neutral”.

Under the deal, Northern Tier unit holders would receive $15 a unit in cash and 0.2986 Western Refining share for each common unit held, or roughly $26.21 a unit based on Monday’s close. EL PASO, Texas and TEMPE, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Western Refining, Inc. (NYSE:WNR) and Northern Tier Energy LP (NYSE:NTI) today jointly announced that they have entered into a merger agreement whereby Western will acquire all of NTI’s outstanding common units not already owned by Western. Northern Tier Chief Executive Dave Lamp in prepared remarks Monday said that the MLP model “has not been rewarded by the equity market, as evidenced by the historical disconnect between NTI’s high yield and low unit price.” “With a simplified corporate structure and diverse geographic base, the new Western will be well positioned to unlock additional value for shareholders,” Mr. As an alternative to the cash and stock consideration, each NTI unitholder may elect to receive, per NTI unit, either $26.06 in cash or 0.7036 of a share of WNR.

Assuming completion of the proposed transaction, NTI will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WNR and NTI common units will cease to be publicly traded. Jeff Stevens, President and CEO of WNR said, “The merger of Western and NTI will result in the combined entity owning three of the most profitable independent refineries on a gross margin per barrel basis, with direct pipeline access to advantaged crude oil combined with an integrated retail and wholesale distribution network. The terms of the merger agreement were approved by the WNR Board of Directors and the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of NTI’s general partner, which negotiated the terms on behalf of NTI. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock.

The call and slide presentation can be accessed on the Investor Relations section of Western’s website,, and on the Investor Relations section of Northern Tier’s website at The Company has refining, retail and logistics operations that serve the Petroleum Administration for Defense District II (PADD II) region of the United States. Goldman Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to Western, and Vinson & Elkins, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Richards Layton & Finger acted as legal counsel to Western. This press release includes “forward-looking statements” by Western (which are protected as forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) and by NTI.

The Company’s retail segment operated 165 convenience stores under the SuperAmerica brand and also supported 89 franchised convenience stores, which are also operated under the SuperAmerica brand. These statements are subject to the risk that the merger is not consummated at all, including due to the inability of Western or NTI to obtain all approvals necessary or the failure of other closing conditions, as well as to the general risks inherent in Western’s and NTI’s businesses and the merged company’s ability to compete in a highly competitive industry.

If you are reading this article on another website, that means this article was illegally copied and re-published to this website in violation of U.S. and International copyright law. In addition, Western’s and Northern Tier’s business and operations involve numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Western’s and NTI’s control, which could materially affect their respective financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and those of the merged company.

The forward-looking statements are only as of the date made, and neither Western nor NTI undertake any obligation to (and each expressly disclaims any obligation to) update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date such statements were made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation is unlawful. Any such offer will be made only by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, pursuant to a registration statement filed with the SEC. The retail segment includes retail service stations, convenience stores, and unmanned fleet fueling locations in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Beyersdorfer (602) 286-1530 Michelle Clemente (602) 286-1533 Northern Tier Investor and Analyst Contact: Paul Anderson (651) 458-6494 Alpha IR Group (651) 769-6700 Media Contact: Gary Hanson (602) 286-1777

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