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Olympics: Normal again - US gymnasts blaze a trail to Tokyo meet Celebs who fell victim to scams BP Narrowly Avoids Third-Quarter Loss

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc narrowly avoided a third-quarter loss, but warned there are many challenges ahead as the pace of recovery in oil demand remains uncertain.

The company defied analyst expectations to eke out a small profit as a rebound in earnings from fuel marketing offset “extremely weak” refining margins.

Yet the positive surprise may do little to change the gloomy outlook for Big Oil amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While crude prices have recovered from historic lows seen in April, BP’s profit was down 96% from a year earlier as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Europe and the U.S. kept fuel demand at bay. The company warned of a “volatile and challenging trading environment” where “the shape and pace of the recovery is uncertain.”

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BP reported an adjusted net income of $86 million for the third quarter on Tuesday, down from $2.25 billion a year earlier. That’s an improvement from the second quarter, when the company posted a $6.68 billion loss.

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“Having set out our new strategy in detail, our priority is execution,” Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney said in a statement. “Despite a challenging environment, we are doing just that.”

Weaker Trading

BP’s trading division, which last quarter brought in “exceptionally strong results,” wasn’t able to cushion the blow this time around. With a less volatile market and fewer opportunities for so-called contango plays -- a trade that profits from buying and storing oil during a glut -- the unit’s earnings were “significantly lower,” the company said.

Other oil majors, who report later this week, have already told investors they experienced the same headwinds as BP. “Refining margins are absolutely terrible,” Patrick Pouyanne, Total SE’s chief executive officer, said earlier this month. Royal Dutch Shell Plc warned that its trading performance will be “below average” in the third quarter.

One positive sign for BP was a drop in net debt to $40.4 billion at the end of the third quarter, down from $46.5 billion a year earlier. After cutting the dividend in August, reducing debt is necessary to give investors confidence that the payout is now sustainable.

“Funding the dividend remains our first priority and we are confident in moving toward our $35 billion net-debt target,” Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss said in the statement.

(Updates with outlook in first paragraph.)

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The Supreme Court studies on Thursday the resources against the third degree to the prisoners of the «procés»

Nati VillanuevaFOLLOWMadrid Updated: 11/25/2020 09:55 AM Save Related news

The “procés” court will meet this Thursday to study the appeals presented by the Prosecutor’s Office against the decision to grant the third degree to independence leaders convicted of sedition. Sources of the Supreme Court indicated that the magistrates will also deliberate on the resources that the defenses of the prisoners presented against the suspension of the third degree and the permission regime that they enjoyed just before after the Generalitat applied article 100.2 of the Penitentiary Regulations.

On August 24, the Prosecutor’s Office appealed to the Supreme Court that third degree that the Department of Justice of the Generalitat granted to the seven independence leaders imprisoned in the Lledoners jail and that the prison surveillance judge had endorsed a week before. They are Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez.

Not a quarter of the sentence

In his seven appeals, the prosecutor asked for the revocation of that semi-freedom to avoid “transmitting to society that having turned one’s will into law outside of the legally established channels can go unpunished.” In his opinion, the third degree that allowed them to leave prison every day and sleep at home on weekends, is premature. In the case of Junqueras, for example, remember that until January 30, 2021 he will not have served a quarter of the 13-year prison sentence imposed by the Supreme Court, and that his final freedom would not occur until October 2030.

If the third degree is confirmed, for the prosecutor, the purpose of retributive and general prevention of prison sentences and criminal law as a whole would be called into question. The prosecutor also alluded to the “extreme gravity” of the crime of sedition due to its attack on public order and the proper functioning of the institutions. “It was the first time in the history of Spanish democracy that this crime has been committed, and due to its extreme gravity, it should be the object of an important reproach ”, stated the Public Ministry.

The Court that will deliberate on these appeals is the same that condemned the independence leaders, the one chaired by Manuel Marchena and of which six other magistrates were part. This time Luciano Varela will be missing, who retired a year ago. Along with the prosecutor’s writings, the Chamber will also see those that the prisoners’ defenses presented for the suspension of the third degree (while the Supreme Court decided they wanted to remain free) and the suspension of 100.2.

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