Senate panel OKs 2 nominations
A Senate panel has approved Mary Jo White’s nomination to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission and sent it along for a final vote.
The Senate Banking Committee approved White’s nomination on a 21-1 vote. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was the only member to object. White is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate and become the first former prosecutor to lead the agency that oversees Wall Street.
The panel also advanced the nomination of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, to continue as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But his nomination was approved on a 12-10 party-line vote. All Republican members opposed the nomination. They also have opposed the newly created agency and have expressed interest in curtailing Cordray’s power.
Republicans may try to block a final vote on Cordray’s nomination.
Price of oil falls
The price of oil fell Tuesday as Cyprus lawmakers rejected a measure to tax bank accounts as part of a bailout plan for its shriveled economy and worries persisted about Europe’s debt problems.
Benchmark oil for April delivery fell $1.58 to finish at $92.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, dropped $2.06 to end at $107.45 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Twinkies sale OK’d
A bankruptcy judge Tuesday approved the sale of Twinkies to a pair of investment firms, one of which has said it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by summer.
Hostess Brands Inc. is selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other brands to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million. Evan Metropoulos, a principal of the latter firm, said in an interview that he wants to have the snack cakes back on shelves by June and that the brands could benefit from new flavors and other product extensions.
Transocean CEO testifies about spill
Transocean employees should have done more to detect signs of trouble before the company’s drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, the company’s chief executive testified Tuesday.
But the Swiss-based drilling company’s own investigation of the disaster didn’t find any mistakes beyond the rig floor, Transocean Ltd. president and CEO Steven Newman said. He testified on the 14th day of a trial designed to determine the causes of BP’s well blowout and to assign fault to the companies involved.
Newman said Transocean didn’t identify any “management failures” that led to the blowout.
“I think we had a good system in place,” he said.