Providence was one of two districts nationwide to receive the competitive grant, along with Prince George's County, Md. Carnegie's "Opportunity by Design Challenge" encourages an education approach both recuperative, ensuring students attain the skills they need, and accelerative, providing students the opportunity to challenge themselves through a mastery-based curriculum that will help all students prepare for college or careers.
The schools will be located in existing Providence school buildings yet to be determined, according to district officials, and will replace seats at existing schools. All Providence public school students will be eligible to attend, and the schools will serve a student population representative of the district population as a whole.
"This Carnegie grant is a tremendous opportunity for the Providence Public Schools," said Superintendent Susan F. Lusi at a press conference announcing the grant on Thursday. "We have a chance to create these schools from the ground up, to let them be proof points that we can succeed in taking a different approach to education. The inherent opportunity in launching these ideas on a small scale with these two schools is that we can then bring them to bear across more schools, accelerating improvement."
Planning and development of the schools will take place through the 2014-15 academic year, with their launch slated for 2015-16. Although the Providence Teachers Union contract is still in negotiations, school officials said Thursday the union has signed a memorandum of understanding allowing for flexibility in the shaping of these two new schools in terms of staffing and schedules.
"The Providence Teachers Union recognizes the need for a range of choices for our students, especially in the high school years," said Maribeth Calabro, union president. "It is our hope as educators that the creation of this highly personalized, flexible school environment will allow students to thrive."
The Carnegie grant follows other recent major awards made to the city and the school district to advance education initiatives, including $5 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, $3 million through the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation Fund, $500,000 from the Nellie Mae Foundation and $300,000 from Annie E. Casey Foundation.
In total, the city of Providence has received more than $11 million in private, philanthropic awards for youth and education programs, Mayor Angel Taveras said.]]>
Facebook jumped 5.1 percent after saying second-quarter sales surged 61 percent. Under Armor Inc. surged 16 percent after increasing its 2014 profit target. Caterpillar sank 3.3 percent after forecasting full-year profit that fell short of estimates. AT&T Inc. dropped 0.6 percent as earnings missed forecasts. Qualcomm Inc. declined 6.3 percent after forecasting quarterly profit that may trail projections.
The S&P 500 added 0.2 percent to a record 1,990.74 at 12:09 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 14.93 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,101.56. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 25 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.
"Earnings are coming in better than expected and the market has taken a queue from that but the economy overall is kind of a mixed bag," John Kvantas, director of equity research at USAA Investments, said in a phone interview. He helps oversee $63 billion in mutual fund assets.
The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent on Wednesday as Apple Inc. helped push technology companies higher, while health-care stocks rallied on earnings. The gauge has advanced 7.5 percent this year through Wednesday amid better-than-estimated corporate results and central-bank support. The index trades at 18.2 times the reported earnings of its members, the highest since 2010.
Global equities advanced Thursday after reports showed euro-area manufacturing and services grew this month while Chinese factory activity rose to an 18-month high in July.
A Markit Economics Ltd. factory gauge for the U.S. unexpectedly declined to 56.3 in July from 57.3 the previous month. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Separate data showed fewer new U.S. homes were sold in June than forecast and May data showed the biggest downward revision on record, painting a picture of a housing market that is struggling to gain traction.
Another release showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than eight years.
The International Monetary Fund lowered its outlook for global growth this year as expansions weaken from the U.S. to China and military conflicts raise the risk of a surge in oil prices.
Investors are also weighing the threat of new European Union sanctions targeting Russia over the Krelmin's actions in Ukraine. Among the options being considered is a ban on European purchases of bonds or shares sold by Russia's state-owned banks, according to a proposal presented to member states.
The U.S. is pushing Europe to toughen its stance toward President Vladimir Putin a week after the Malaysian jet was hit by a missile American officials say was probably fired from a Russian-supplied launcher. Russia denies involvement.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned after two parties quit the ruling coalition and President Petro Poroshenko signaled his support for early elections.
Fifty companies in the S&P 500 including Visa Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp. report earnings Thursday. About 77 percent of those that have posted results this season have beaten analysts' estimates for profit, while 64 percent exceeded sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits at S&P 500 members probably rose 6.2 percent in the second quarter, while sales gained 3.3 percent, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
"I'm quite impressed with the results I've seen till now," said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. "In most cases, we've had companies beating on revenues and earnings, and posting positive outlooks. I don't think the market can go much higher in the short term because it's overbought, but I don't expect any meaningful correction."
Seven of the 10 main S&P 500 groups advanced Thursday, with consumer, financial and energy shares advancing at least 0.3 perecent.
Facebook climbed 5.1 percent to an all-time high. The operator of world's biggest social network said mobile advertisements helped profit more than double as sales surged.
Tractor Supply Co. jumped 6.9 percent after releasing its financial results to help producers of consumer-discretionary products rally.
Under Armour surged 16 percent for the largest increase in the group. The maker of compression T-shirts and other athletic apparel raised its annual growth forecast. Nike Inc. jumped 1.7 percent for the biggest gain in the Dow.
United Continental Holdings Inc. climbed 2.9 percent. The carrier reported second-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates and authorized a $1 billion stock repurchase.
Industrial stocks slid 0.3 percent to pace declines in the S&P 500. Precision Castparts sank 7.1 percent for the biggest loss after reporting profit and sales that missed estimates.
Caterpillar tumbled 3.3 percent, the most since May and the biggest decline in the Dow. The largest maker of mining machinery forecast full-year sales and earnings that fell short of analysts' estimates as it said there's no sign of an upturn in the industry in 2014.
Housing shares plunged, with an S&P index of home builders sinking 3.8 percent for its biggest drop since November. Meritage Homes Corp. sank 3.1 percent and Toll Brothers Inc. slid 4 percent as all 11 members of the index retreated
D.R. Horton dropped 9.3 percent for the biggest loss. The largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue said its fiscal-third quarter earnings declined as the company's sales margin shrank.
AT&T fell 0.6 percent. The second-largest U.S. wireless carrier fell short of earnings estimates as more customers started paying for devices with installment plans, an option that's reducing profits as it cuts monthly service bills.
Qualcomm dropped 6.3 percent. The chipmaker projected that net income in the current quarter that will fall short of the average analyst estimate. The company cited challenges to its technology-licensing business in China.
TripAdvisor Inc. slumped 9 percent. The online travel service posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 55 cents a share, missing the 61-cent projection of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index slipped 0.9 percent after four days of gains. Celgene Corp. lost 3.5 percent as its 2014 profit forecast fell short of the average analyst estimate.
Puma Biotechnology Inc. slid 9.8 percent after surging 295 percent on Wednesday following a successful medical trial. Adage Capital Management LP, the Boston hedge fund started by two former money managers at Harvard University's endowment, made almost $1 billion Wednesday on its 19 percent stake in the company.]]>
A home is considered to be "seriously underwater" if its loan-to-value ratio is at or above 125 percent, meaning the homeowner owes at least 25 percent more than the estimated market value of the property.
Nevada ranked as the state with the highest percentage of seriously underwater homes for the three months ended in June, with 32 percent of all mortgaged residential properties in negative equity, followed by Florida and Illinois at 30 percent, Rhode Island at 29 percent and Michigan at 27 percent.
"Home price appreciation has slowed in the last few months in many of the markets with the most underwater homes, slowing the pace at which homeowners are recovering equity lost during the Great Recession," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "In addition many of the properties that are seriously underwater are in a deep negative equity hole that will take some time to dig out of."
Nationally, 9.1 million U.S. homes were seriously underwater in the second quarter, representing 17.2 percent of all properties with a mortgage, the lowest level since RealtyTrac began reporting negative equity in 2012. In the first quarter this year, 17.4 percent of all mortgages were seriously underwater.
Another 8.8 million properties, or 17 percent, were on the verge of resurfacing equity in the second quarter, RealtyTrac said, meaning the home has between 10 percent negative equity and 10 percent positive equity. During the previous quarter, 8.5 million homes, or 16 percent, were close to regaining lost equity.
RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., is a leading supplier of U.S. real estate data, with nationwide records for more than 127 million U.S. properties.]]>
Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 284,000 in the week ended July 19, the fewest since February 2006 and lower than any economist surveyed by Bloomberg forecast, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. Applications can be volatile at this time of year because of auto plant shutdowns, even as state data showed nothing inconsistent with prior years, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data was released to the press.
Fewer claims signal employers are reluctant to let go of staff as the talent pool shrinks and sales improve. A tightening labor market could lift wages and spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
Companies have "been running with very tight labor force levels and now as demand starts to pick up, businesses are finding themselves in some cases very labor constrained," Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. "As we start to see the demand continue to improve, we will start to see wage gains percolate."
Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index maturing in September climbed 0.2 percent to 1,984.2 8:34 a.m. in New York.
The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 307,000 claims would be filed last week. Estimates ranged from 295,000 to 320,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week's reading to 303,000 from an initially reported 302,000.
While the Labor Department spokesman said there was nothing unusual in the figures and no states were estimated, the timing and extent of closings to re-tool auto factories for the new model year is typically difficult for the government to gauge, causing claims to gyrate at this time of year. It will probably take several weeks for the data to stabilize enough to signal whether firings are truly ebbing.
Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio were among states that reported the biggest decrease in claims in the week ended July 12 amid fewer firings in manufacturing and transportation industries. That may indicate more auto plants than usual remained open this year to meet improving demand.
"Today's jobless claims data likely informs us more about production than employment," Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research LLC in New York, said in a note after the report. "Auto production is in overdrive at a time when factories are normally shutdown to retool for new makes and models. We would expect a significant pick-up in motor vehicle production and manufacturing employment in July."
The four-week average of jobless claims, considered a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 302,000, the lowest since May 2007, from 309,250 in the prior week.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 8,000 to 2.5 million in the week ended July 12, the fewest since June 2007. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.9 percent, Thursday's report showed. These data are reported with a one-week lag.
Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, lifting the average monthly advance so far in 2014 to almost 231,000. If that pace is sustained, it would be the best year since 1999.
The unemployment rate dropped last month to an almost six-year low of 6.1 percent.
A strengthening labor market is leading consumers to increase spending, spurring transactions at Bank of America Corp. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank saw an 8 percent growth in credit and debit card volumes and increased balances since the first quarter.
"While the economy still faces challenges, progress is being made throughout the economy but also throughout our company." said Brian Moynihan, Bank of America Corp.'s CEO during a second quarter earnings call on July 16. "As we have strong positions, leadership positions across consumer and commercial companies in America, we have a view into the key indicators of an improving economy, which show signs everywhere of improvement."]]>
The "80/20 rule," also known as the Medical Loss Ratio rule, was created through the health care reform law to ensure that insurance companies operate more efficiently and prevent inordinately high insurance premiums for consumers. The rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care and quality-improvement activities. If insurers spend too much on profits and red tape, they owe a refund back to consumers.
In Rhode Island, UnitedHealthcare of New England was the only insurer to owe refunds for 2013, owing $48,696 in the large-group market. HHS reported that 710 UnitedHealthcare customers will receive an average refund of $131.
No insurers owed refunds in the individual or small-employer markets in Rhode Island.
"We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act continues to provide Americans better value for their premium dollars," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. "We are continuing our work on building a sustainable long-term system, and provisions such as the 80/20 rule are providing Americans with immediate savings and helping to bring transparency and accountability to the insurance market over the long term."
The HHS report showed that since the rule took effect, more insurers year over year are meeting the 80/20 standard by spending more premium dollars on patient care and quality. Nationwide, 6.8 million consumers will receive a total of $330 million in health insurance refunds, with an average refund benefit of $80 per family.
Consumers in Florida will receive the most in refunds, with $41.7 million owed to more than 981,000 health insurance customers, while Massachusetts consumers will receive the second-highest refund. According to the HHS, 208,751 people in Massachusetts are entitled to more than $15 million in refunds, with an average per-family refund of $133.
Of the $15 million owed by Massachusetts insurers, $2.8 million is due to customers in the individual market, $8 million to the small-employer market and $4.3 million to the large-group market. Neighborhood Health Plan owed the most of any Massachusetts insurer, with an expected premium refund of more than $6 million.]]>
Net income from continuing operations rose 2.3 percent to $499 million, or $1.59 a share, in the quarter, from $488 million, or $1.50, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. That matched the average estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Sales dropped to $5.7 billion in the quarter. While that exceeded the average estimate of $5.57 billion of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, Raytheon had the biggest decrease among the five largest U.S. government contractors. Boeing Co. was the only one to report a gain, as commercial jet revenue helped buffer flagging defense sales.
Raytheon fell 0.2 percent to $95.15 at 9:55 a.m. in New York. The shares had risen 37 percent in trading in the past 12 months through yesterday, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased 17 percent during that time.
The contractor's integrated defense unit, which includes the Patriot missile system, lagged behind other segments. It had a 10 percent drop in revenue as production ended on some overseas programs, and a 33 percent decline in operating income. The other divisions are missile systems; intelligence, information and services; and space and airborne systems.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company reaffirmed its January profit forecast of $6.74 to $6.89 a share on sales of $22.5 billion to $23 billion.
Raytheon, the fourth-biggest federal contractor, said its backlog rose to $33 billion in the quarter from $32.4 billion a year earlier.
The company is looking for growth overseas. International customers accounted for 29 percent of sales in the second quarter, CEO Thomas Kennedy told investors on a conference call today. That compared with 27 percent a year earlier.
About 30 percent of its $11.1 billion in bookings during the first six months of the year came from overseas customers, Chief Financial Officer Dave Wajsgras said in a phone interview. That compared with 26 percent during the same period a year earlier, he said.
"We do see some positive momentum," he said.
Wajsgras told investors the company expected to finish the year with international bookings reaching as much as 40 percent.
Pentagon spending is slowing as the U.S. withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan and the military absorbs automatic federal budget cuts in a process called sequestration. Some of the reductions were alleviated when President Barack Obama in January signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30.
Raytheon is the last of the top five contractors to report results this week. No. 1 Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 2 Boeing, No. 3 General Dynamics Corp. and the fifth-biggest, Northrop Grumman Corp., reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates.]]>
The magazine's editorial team selected companies for the annual ranking based on factors such as market share and global coverage, product innovation, customer service, technology and execution skills, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts.
"FM Global relies on a deep pool of engineering talent to help multinationals manage supply-chain risks," wrote Global Finance in the 2014 listing. The insurer "uses a network of more than 1,800 loss prevention engineers to guide clients in more than 130 countries ... and ended 2013 with $9.7 billion in policyholder surplus."
In previous years, Global Finance has cited FM Global's online toolkit and services, 177 years of risk-prevention experience, and comprehensive supplier and customer insurance coverage in selecting the Johnston-based insurer for its top ranking.
The Global Finance recognition follows several other awards recently presented to FM Global, including a Well Deserved Award from UnitedHealthcare for the company's worksite wellness programs and a place as a finalist in the Providence Business News 2014 Healthiest Employers program.
One of the world's largest commercial and industrial property insurers, FM Global had 2013 net income of $1.02 billion, a 31.9 percent increase over $774.4 million in 2012.]]>
Lenders in the Bay State filed 488 petitions for the month of June, compared with 245 foreclosure starts in June 2013. Year-to-date through June, there were 3,264 foreclosure starts in Massachusetts, an increase of 12.8 percent over the 2,835 petitions during the same period last year.
In Bristol County, Mass., there were six foreclosure petitions filed in June compared with three petitions the year earlier. Between January and June, the county saw 54 total foreclosure starts, an increase of 63.6 percent over the 33 starts for the same six-month period in 2013.
"The clean-up continues as lenders push through the backlog of delinquent mortgages," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. "The number of petitions filed last year at this time was artificially low due to regulatory uncertainty regarding the proper procedures for taking foreclosure action."
Despite the dramatic increase in Massachusetts foreclosure petitions for the month of June, the number of completed foreclosures in Massachusetts fell 18.5 percent last month compared with a year earlier, dropping from 329 completed foreclosures to 268 foreclosures. Year-to-date foreclosure completions totaled 1,375, down 12.8 percent from the 1,578 foreclosures completed for the first six months of 2013.
In Bristol County, there were 10 foreclosures completed in June, a slight increase over the nine deeds completed for the same month last year. Completed foreclosures rose 8.8 percent for the six months through June, rising to 62 foreclosure deeds from 57 deeds the year prior.]]>
Liquidity has declined by about 70 percent since the financial crisis, a proprietary model used by the bank shows, and it's still falling, the strategists said.
Trading is dropping away as dealers find it more expensive to hold bonds because of tighter risk limits and higher capital requirements imposed by regulators, according to RBS. That's combining with low central bank interest rates to reduce risk premiums and making bond markets more vulnerable to shocks.
"We fear that systemic risk is being left unchecked in financial markets," the strategists led by Alberto Gallo, head of European macro credit research at RBS in London, wrote in a note. "What happens if policy changes and investors head for the exits? Low liquidity means the door is getting smaller."
In credit, the RBS model gauges daily trading as a percentage of bonds outstanding, dealer inventories and the gap between what it costs to buy and sell a U.S. high-yield bond as a percentage of the premium over government debt investors receive for holding the note.
Investors are receiving a "historically low" premium for the risk that they'll be unable to exit a trade, according to the RBS, which estimates it's halved in Europe in the past year to less than 80 basis points.
Money managers should stay away from bonds in which individuals, mutual funds and exchange traded funds are the main investors, the strategists said. That's because the selloff last year, when the Federal Reserve indicated it would withdraw its stimulus, was greatest in those parts of the market.]]>
Properties within the Providence Historic Landmarks District, which the city said would be mainly churches and residential buildings, will be protected under design review and demolition restrictions.
Owners of historic sites, such as those recognized by the Providence Preservation Society, can request that their properties be designated as Providence landmarks for inclusion in the new district by contacting the city's Department of Planning and Development before Aug. 11, 2014.
"We are working creatively to preserve Providence's historic architecture," said Taveras in a release. "The new Providence Landmarks District will protect individual properties that have historic significance but that are not within local historic districts."
The new historic district is Providence's third, joining the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District and the Jewelry Local Historic District, which will also see changes under the city rezoning. The city plans to add about 30 properties to the Industrial and Commercial Buildings District, remove properties that have been demolished, and eliminate overlapping jurisdiction with the Providence Downtown Design Review Committee, according to the release from Taveras' office.]]>