Obama and Merkel warn Russia of economic sanctions over Ukraine

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.

US and German leaders present united front in warning Putin futher sanctions inevitable unless Russia reverses course

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned Russia that sanctions targeting whole sections of the country’s economy would be inevitable unless Moscow de-escalates the situation in Ukraine before elections later this month.

Appearing together at the White House, Obama and Merkel insisted they were united in their determination to use broad, so-called “sectoral sanctions” against Russia unless it reverses course in Ukraine by the elections on May 25.

However, in remarks likely to reassure Berlin, which is particularly dependent upon Russian gas exports, Obama played down the suggestion those sanctions would include sweeping restrictions on Russia’s sale of energy to Europe.

“Energy flows from Russia to Europe, those continued even in the midst of the cold war – at the the height of the cold war,” Obama said. „The idea that you’re going to turn off the tap to all Russian oil and natural gas exports is, I think, unrealistic.“

President Putin, Russia

President Putin, Russia

Obama said there was „a remarkable unity between the United States and the European Union“ about how to use leverage against Russian president Vladimir Putin over his continued interference in Ukraine.

European countries disagree over what form additional sanctions against Russia should take. “We have to take those [differences] into account,” Obama added. “Not every country is going to be in exactly the same place.”

However, if Russia impedes Ukraine’s forthcoming elections, Obama said, “we will not have a choice but to move forward with additional, more severe sanctions.“

Merkel also gave a strong endorsement of potential new sanctions against Russia. “In Europe, we have taken a position that should further destabilisation happen, we will move to a third stage of sanctions. I would like to underline this is not necessarily what we want, but we are ready and prepared to go such a step,” she said, according to a White House translation.

“We will see to it that elections can take place,” she added.

Angela Merkel, Germany and US President Barack Obama

Angela Merkel, Germany and US President Barack Obama

The strength of Merkel’s remarks about sectoral sanctions, while satisfying Washington, may surprise other European leaders. Senior European officials have been playing down the prospects of such broad-brush sanctions, which could also hurt Europe’s economy, suggesting they would only be used as a last resort, in the event of a full-scale military incursion by Russia across the border.

Both leaders called for the immediate release of seven hostages who were working as monitors by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe when they were captured by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Merkel, who has spoken directly with Putin to try to secure the release of the hostages, four of whom are German, said their release was „a very crucial step, that needs to happen first“.

The chancellor’s appearance with Obama marked her first visit to Washington since disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed her phone calls had been recorded by the National Security Agency.

Germany has been pressing for months for a mutual “no spy” agreement with the US, without success. Instead, Germany and the US have agreed to an ongoing “cyber dialogue” over issues relating to the balance between intelligence and privacy.

The language falls well short of what Berlin wanted, and Merkel made clear that differences remain between the the two countries on the issue.

She said that, while there was some intelligence cooperation between the countries, there are still differences over “what sort of balance to strike over the intensity of surveillance” used to combat terrorism and the consequences for privacy and individual freedom.

Amerika und Russland suchen das Gespräch

imageDie Vereinigten Staaten und Russland wollen innerhalb von zehn Tagen direkte Gespräche über die Lage in der Ukraine führen. An dem Treffen sollen auch Vertreter der Europäischen Union und aus Kiew teilnehmen.
Bildtext: Wollen bald miteinander sprechen, der russische Außenminister Lawrow (Mitte) und sein amerikanischer Amtskollege Kerry (2. von rechts), hier im März im Gespräch mit dem deutschen Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, dem französischen Präsidenten François Hollande und seinem Außenminister Laurent Fabius (von links nach rechts)
Die USA und Russland haben sich nach Angaben aus Washington auf direkte Gespräche über die Lage in der Ukraine geeinigt. An dem Treffen innerhalb der nächsten zehn Tage sollten auch Vertreter der Europäischen Union und der Ukraine teilnehmen, teilte das amerikanische Außenministerium am Montag mit. Darauf hätten sich Außenminister John Kerry und sein russischer Amtskollege Sergej Lawrow in einem Telefonat geeinigt, sagte eine Sprecherin. Der genaue Termin sowie die Agenda der Gespräche müsse aber noch festgelegt werden, hieß es.

Ukraine

Ukraine

Kerry habe Lawrow in dem Gespräch dazu gedrängt, sich von den „Separatisten, Saboteuren und Provokateuren“ zu distanzieren, die mehrere öffentliche Gebäude im Osten des Landes besetzt hatten. Am Montag verlangten die pro-russischen Demonstranten die Unabhängigkeit der Region Donezk. Diese Aktionen seien anscheinend keine „spontane Reihe von Ereignissen“, habe Kerry gesagt, sondern eine „orchestrierte Kampagne mit russischer Unterstützung“. In dem Land seien russische Geheimdienstmitarbeiter festgenommen worden.

Auf der anderen Seite hat die Regierung in Moskau die Ukraine davor gewarnt, Gewalt gegen die pro-russischen Demonstranten im Osten des Landes anzuwenden. Außenminister Sergej Lawrow habe dies am Montag in einem Telefongespräch mit seinem ukrainischen Kollegen Andrej Deschtschyzja deutlich gemacht, teilte das russische Außenministerium mit. Lawrow sprach demnach von den legitimen Forderungen der Demonstranten, „ihre Sprache, ihre Kultur und ihre sozioökonomischen Rechte zu schützen“.

US Präsident Barack Obama und Russlands Präsident Vladimir Putin

US Präsident Barack Obama und Russlands Präsident Vladimir Putin

Ein Zeichen der Unterstützung
Die Vereinigten Staaten haben unterdessen erneut ein Kriegsschiff ins Schwarze Meer geschickt. Der mit Flugabwehrraketen ausgestattete Zerstörer „USS Donald Cook“ werde dort binnen einer Woche eintreffen, hieß es am Montag aus Verteidigungskreisen in Washington. Mit der Verlegung wolle das amerikanische Militär ein Zeichen der Unterstützung an die osteuropäischen NATO-Verbündeten senden.

Pentagon-Sprecher Steven Warren erklärte, das US-Militär plane Manöver der „USS Donald Cook“ mit verbündeten Anrainerstaaten des Schwarzen Meeres. Die geplanten Übungen würden aber nicht in ukrainischen Häfen stattfinden. Im vergangenen Monat hatten die USA bereits den Zerstörer „USS Truxtun“ vorübergehend ins Schwarze Meer beordert, inzwischen hat das Kriegsschiff die Gewässer aber wieder verlassen.

Urteil: KFZ Gerichtssachverständige

Gutachten über Kfz-Unfallschaden ist Werkvertrag, bei dem der Auftraggeber die übliche Vergütung schuldet.
BGH-Urteil zur Vergütung von Kfz-Sachverständigen

Bundesgerichtshof Karlsruhe, Deutschland

Bundesgerichtshof Karlsruhe, Deutschland

Der Bundesgerichtshof hatte in zwei Fällen darüber zu entscheiden, welche Vergütung Kfz-Sachverständigen für die Erstellung von Gutachten über Kfz-Schäden gegenüber ihren Auftraggebern zusteht. In beiden Fällen wurde weder eine Vergütung bei Auftragserteilung vereinbart noch bestand eine Taxe im Sinne von § 632 Abs. 2 BGB. Eine übliche Vergütung im Sinne von § 632 Abs. 2 BGB war nach Auffassung der Berufsungsgerichte nicht feststellbar. Diese waren daher davon ausgegangen, dass die Sachverständigen nach §§ 316, 315 BGB berechtigt gewesen seien, die Höhe der ihnen zustehenden Vergütung nach billigem Ermessen zu bestimmen.
Die Richter am Landgericht Berlin hatten die Auffassung vertreten, dass die Bemessung der Vergütung nach der in dem Gutachten festgestellten Schadenshöhe billigem Ermessen entspricht (Urteil vom 8. April 2005, Az: 56 S 121/04). Das Landgericht Traunstein vertrat die Meinung, eine solche Art der Berechnung der Vergütung sei unbillig; der Sachverständige habe

European Court Experts, Rechtsfälle

European Court Experts, Rechtsfälle

vielmehr die Höhe seiner Vergütung nach dem Zeitaufwand für das Gutachten zu bemessen (Urteil vom 29. Juli 2005, Az: 5 S 2896/04). In beiden Fällen führte die Revision zur Zurückverweisung der Sache zu neuer Verhandlung und Entscheidung an das Berufungsgericht.

Gutachten als Werkvertrag
Die BGH-Richter urteilten, dass es sich bei dem Auftrag zur Erstellung eines Gutachtens über einen Kfz-Unfallschaden um einen Werkvertrag handelt. Danach schuldet der Auftraggeber, wenn eine Vergütung nicht vereinbart ist und eine Taxe nicht besteht, die übliche Vergütung. Die Feststellung, welche Vergütung üblich ist, ist nicht schon dann nicht möglich, wenn sich kein genauer Betrag ermitteln lässt, der üblicherweise für vergleichbare Leistungen gefordert und bezahlt wird. Vielmehr kann eine im Sinne des § 632 Abs. 2 BGB übliche Vergütung auch dann imagebestehen, wenn sich feststellen lässt, dass für vergleichbare Leistungen Vergütungen innerhalb einer bestimmten, begrenzten Bandbreite gefordert und bezahlt werden, so dass das Gericht innerhalb dieser Bandbreite üblicherweise verlangter und bezahlter Beträge einen regelmäßig angemessenen Betrag ermitteln kann. Die für eine solche Ermittlung der üblichen Vergütung erforderlichen Feststellungen haben die Berufungsgerichte nicht in dem gebotenen Umfang getroffen.

Vergütung nach billigem Ermessen
Nur für den Fall, dass sich auch unter Beachtung der Vorgaben der Revisionsurteile für die neue Verhandlung und Entscheidung eine übliche Vergütung nicht feststellen lassen sollte, hat der Senat darauf hingewiesen, dass der Sachverständige die Vergütung nach billigem Ermessen bestimmen kann. Wenn er dabei für Routinegutachten eine an der Schadenshöhe orientierte angemessene Pauschalierung seiner Honorare vornimmt, überschreitet er die Grenzen des ihm vom Gesetz eingeräumten Gestaltungsspielraums grundsätzlich nicht. (Quelle: Mitteilung der BGH-Pressestelle vom 4. April 2006)

Wall Street News

Market Flash: Market Up
From The Trading Floor: Stocks are trading well into the green this morning, poised for a weekly gain ahead of some select index rebalancing and a quad witch expiration that is expected to be large

Wall Street Impressions presented by European Court Experts

Wall Street Impressions presented by European Court Experts

Fitch has raised the U.S.’s outlook to „stable“ while affirming the country’s AAA rating, citing the suspension of the debt limit last month and strong fiscal consolidation as reasons for the move.
29 of 30 Banks passed the most recent stress tests with Zions Bancorp falling a bit short
Nike’s FQ3 earnings beat consensus as the company enjoyed rising sales in China and Western Europe, while it also said orders have soared ahead of this summer’s soccer World Cup. Guidance has them trading down this morning.
The cost of implementing the Volcker Rule could vary from $413M to $4.3B for banks supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an OCC study calculates, as the regulations force banks to sell restricted investments at a loss.
Today is a quad witch expiration day which is the simultaneous expiration of futures on stock indexes and individual stocks, and stock and stock index options. It is also a quarterly rebalance on some S&P and Nasdaq indexes
Russia’s Micex stock index was down this morning after the U.S. threatened sanctions against vital parts of the country’s economy, including the financial-services, energy and mining sectors. The U.S. also imposed asset freezes and visa bans on senior Russian officials and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin.
Italian industrial orders jumped 4.8% on month in January after sinking 4.8% in December, while industrial sales rose 1.2% vs -0.3%. The figures add to better-than-expected output in January and suggest that Italy’s fragile recovery may be taking hold.
Resistance today looks to be 1880 / 1883 with support at 1867 / 1870
Market Flash:Market Mixed / Positive
From The Trading Floor: Equities are trading mixed to positive this morning as the effects of Janet Yellen’s suggestion of a sooner-than-expected rate hike the prior session is measured against economic reports on employment and housing.

imageThe number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits last week increased by 5000 to 320,000
The Fed is due to release the results of its annual stress test on 30 banks today, with most expected to pass
Americans were most pessimistic on the outlook for the economy in March than at any time in the past 4 months
February home sales in the U.S. fell to a 4.60 million rate
The Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.5% in February, a sign the world’s largest economy will strengthen after the weather induced slowdown
Q2 Holdings priced 7.7 million shares at $13.00. The opening print was $16.25 on 1,584,231 shares.
Ukraine plans to pull its troops out of Crimea in what is effectively a de facto acceptance of Russia’s annexation of the province.
The State Council intends to accelerate construction projects and enact other measures to expand domestic demand and stabilize growth. The plan comes amid data which suggests that the economy is softening.
From a technical standpoint, resistance looks to be 1866 / 1869 with support at 1856 / 1859
Market Flash: Market Mixed
From The Trading Floor: Markets are trading in mixed territory this morning as traders are unwilling to make bets ahead of the FOMC rate decision and Janet Yellen’s first press conference at 2:00 today.

Mortgage Applications for the week ending March 14th fell -1.2%
Current account gap fell to $81.1 billion from 96.4 billion
The FOMC rate decision is at 2:00 today. With the Fed expected to taper some more and abandon its 6.5% unemployment threshold for considering rate hikes, punters are focusing on what would push the Fed to finally raise rates.
Japan’s trade deficit narrowed to ¥800.3B ($7.9B) in February from a record ¥2.79T in January but exceeded consensus of ¥590B. Import growth slowed to 9% from 25% while exports rose 9.9%. Japan has now experienced a record 20 consecutive trade deficits, and while the figure may have peaked, few economists expect the country to turn a surplus any time soon.
From a technical perspective, resistance is at the 1877 / 1880 level with support at 1863 / 1866

US Stock Market

European Court Experts News

European Court Experts News

Receding fears of further military action related to Russia’s annexation of Crimea helped benchmarks end in the green for the second straight day. The S&P 500 moved close to its record high following reports that Russia may not occupy other parts of Ukraine. The Nasdaq got a boost from the surge in technology stocks. Meanwhile, investors look forward to the conclusion of Federal Reserve’s two-day policy-setting meeting on Wednesday. Tuesday’s mixed economic data had little impact on the markets.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

European Court Experts, Real Estate

European Court Experts, Real Estate

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.6% to close Tuesday’s trading session at 16,336.19. The Standard & Poor (S&P 500) rose 0.7% to finish at 1,872.25. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index went up 1.3% to 4,333.31. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 7.2% to settle at 14.52. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 2.9 billion shares. Declining stocks were outnumbered by advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 23% stocks that declined, 75% advanced.

U.S. stocks rallied for the second day in a row after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia didn’t want further partition of Ukraine. Last Sunday, the vote turned to be overwhelmingly in favor of citizens in Crimea wanting to be part of Russia.

On Tuesday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index got a boost from the Technology sector. Key technology stocks such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG ), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ ) and International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM ) increased 0.9%, 1.6%, 3.9%, 0.8% and 0.5%, respectively.

Investors also focused on the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy-setting meeting that will conclude on Wednesday. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is expected to hold a press conference after the meeting. The Fed is expected to keep the key lending rates low and is also expected to taper its monthly asset purchase program.

On the economic front, mixed economic data didn’t have any significant impact on the markets. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics came out with consumer price data; wherein it reported Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) had improved just 0.1% in February. The increase was in line with the consensus estimate. The rise in food prices by 0.4% and the rise in housing costs by 0.2% were cited to be the reasons behind the slight rise in consumer prices.

ECE Experts, International

ECE Experts, International

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported a small drop in housing starts. According to the report, privately owned housing starts in February slipped 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000. Consensus estimate was expecting housing starts to be at 913,000. However, single family housing starts advanced 0.3%.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development also reported that building permits gained 7.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,018,000. This was more than the consensus expectation of 960,000. Indication that construction work will increase once the weather warms up encouraged builders to file for permits to construct condominiums and rental apartment buildings.

Nine out of ten sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the green. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) surged 1.1%. Major stocks from the sector such as Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE ), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK ), Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD ), Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN ) and Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB ) gained 1.6%, 0.2%, 3.1%, 2.9% and 1.8%, respectively.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/stock-market-news-for-march-19-2014-market-news-cm336616#ixzz2wR1gKXgX