Briefs July 18 2017

The Associated Press

Tester introduces bipartisan bill to support energy jobs

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) has introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage technological innovation, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and support Montana’s growing energy economy.

According to a news release from Tester’s office, the bill has broad support from coal companies, utilities environmental groups and labor organizations.

The bill extends and expands the 45Q tax credit, which supports coal and natural gas by encouraging development and use of carbon capture, utilization and storage, as well as incentivizing technology to transform carbon emissions into useable products.

“Montana is rich with natural resources that create good-paying jobs, and we have a responsibility to find workable solutions to keep them competitive,” Tester said. “This bill will invest in new technology to ensure that we can responsibly take advantage of these resources while protecting jobs and our clean air and water for future generations.”

The measure would incentivize industrial carbon capture projects that plan to use CO2 and CO for enhanced oil recovery and convert carbon dioxide into useable products.

Report shows small business optimism faded in June

Business owners’ expectations for better business conditions tumbled in June along with plans to create jobs, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) monthly Index of Small Business Optimism, released today.

“Small business optimism dropped in response to the gridlock in the Senate over the healthcare reform bill,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Index fell 0.9 points to 103.6. Four of the 10 components posted a gain. Five declined, and one remained unchanged.

“The Index remains at a historically high level, but within the Index there are signs of trouble that should be a concern,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Fewer business owners expect business conditions to improve, and fewer expect sales to improve.”

Expected better business conditions fell 6 points, a significant drop, while expected sales dropped 5 points. Job openings (-4) and job creation plans (-3) also declined in June. On the positive side, inventory satisfaction increased by 3 points, and plans to increase inventory rose by 3 points.

“The data is a mixed bag and the overall Index remains strong by historical standards,” said Dunkelberg.

Oil and gas lease sale EA
public comment period begins

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment that found no significant impact for 204 nominated oil and gas lease parcels in Big Horn, Custer, Carter, Fallon, Garfield, Powder River, Richland and Rosebud counties. The 30-day comment period for the proposed lease sale ends on Aug. 10.

“Making lease parcels available for oil and gas development is a priority for our district, and is in keeping with the Administration’s goal of making America safe through energy independence,” said Diane Friez, BLM’s eastern Montana/Dakotas district manager.

The environmental assessment, unsigned impact statement, a parcel list, and maps can be viewed at 

After a review and consideration of public comments, the EA will be updated as needed, the news release noted.

The lease sale is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Public comments can be emailed to, or mailed to Miles City Field Office, Attn. Irma Nansel, 111 Garryowen Road, Miles City, MT 59301-7000.

Harley-Davidson tops 2Q profit forecasts

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. on Tuesday reported second-quarter earnings of $258.9 million.

The Milwaukee-based company said it had net income of $1.48 per share.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.37 per share.

The motorcycle maker posted revenue of $1.58 billion in the period, which fell short of Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.6 billion.

Harley-Davidson shares have declined 11 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed nearly 10 percent. The stock has increased 8 percent in the last 12 months.

Goldman Sachs profits flat in 2Q, but still beat forecasts

NEW YORK (AP) — Goldman Sachs’ earnings in the second quarter were flat with the same period a year ago, the investment bank reported Tuesday, largely due to poor performance in trading. The results still beat analysts’ forecasts.

The Wall Street firm earned $1.63 billion, basically unchanged from a year earlier. Because Goldman had fewer shares outstanding in the latest quarter versus a year earlier, its earnings per share increased to $3.95 from $3.72. That beat analysts’ estimates of $3.38 a share.

Goldman’s trading desks had a tough quarter, which reverberated throughout the firm’s results. The division that contains Goldman’s trading desks had revenue of $3.05 billion, down 17 percent. The pain was particularly acute in Goldman’s fixed-income, currency and commodities division, which reported a 40 percent drop in revenue compared with a year earlier.

Goldman attributed the decline to a “challenging environment characterized by low levels of volatility, low client activity and generally difficult market-making conditions.”

Goldman and its rival Morgan Stanley, which will report its own results on Wednesday, make most of their money from trading securities and advising companies, and do not have large consumer banking divisions like JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America. If markets are quiet, as they were this past quarter, it tends to take a toll on Wall Street banks like Goldman and Morgan Stanley.