Google and the US government may be on a collision course over spying allegations. “Outrageous,” is how Google’s Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt described allegations about NSA spying on its data centers. He told The Wall Street Journal that if the reports are proven to be true they would be potentially illegal. “The National Security Agency allegedly collected the phone records of every phone call of 320 million people in order to identify roughly 300 people who might be a risk,” said Schmidt. “That’s just bad public policy…and perhaps illegal.” Last week The Washington Post reported that the NSA had tapped directly into communications links used by Google and Yahoo.
The weather is getting cooler and that means heating bills are ahead. But the price for oil and propane heat is likely to be lower than it was last winter. One reason for this trend, says Ben Brockwell of The Oil Price Information Service, is rising US oil production. A record of 8 million barrels of crude a day are being produced. ”That number is going to continue to get bigger. That crude oil is looking for markets. It’s being refined into gasoline and there’s plenty of product.” Brockwell and other oil analysts say this means that America does not have to rely nearly as much on oil imports from the Middle East and elsewhere. Later today, the US Energy Department will release its weekly gasoline prices survey.
The largest insider trading settlement ever could be announced today in New York. Published reports say the federal government’s criminal case against hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors is over. The firm will plead guilty to insider trading charges and pay a $1.2 billion fine. SAC has been one of the most successful hedge funds with annual returns of over 20 percent for its investors. The deal is not expected to resolve the SEC’s civil lawsuit against the firm. More information about how SAC Capital Advisors ran its business may be revealed at the forthcoming criminal trials of two employees.
Stock futures rose this morning and the market is up in the first few days of November. This comes after a strong October when the S&P 500 closed at a record high seven times – ending the month with a 4.5 percent gain. Investors are hoping today’s Commerce Department report on factory orders for August and September will be as positive as Friday’s survey from the Institute for Supply Management, which reported that its US manufacturing index increased to 56.4, the highest level since April 2011.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow