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A report from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday described the economic activity as expanding “at a slight-to-moderate pace in March and early April. The Fed’s “Beige Book” report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide showed a “few” of the U.S. central bank’s districts reported “some strengthening.”. Stronger growth in the first quarter will probably not change the view that the economy will slow this year as the stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package diminishes and the impact of interest rates hikes over the last few years lingers.

In March, sales at auto dealerships jumped 3.1 percent, the most since September 2017, Receipts at service stations increased 3.5 percent, likely reflecting higher gasoline prices, Sales at building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 0.3 percent, Receipts at clothing stores shot up 2.0 percent, the largest increase since last May, There were also increases in sales at furniture outlets, electronics and appliances shops, and food and beverage stores, Online and mail-order retail sales increased 1.2 percent last month, Sales at restaurants and bars rose 0.8 percent, the most cufflink button since last July, But receipts at hobby, musical instrument and book stores fell 0.3 percent..

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate, said on Thursday it would convert from a partnership to a corporation, in a bid to get more investors into its stock. Blackstone is hoping the move, which will take effect July 1, will boost its share price, which has traded at a discount to traditional asset managers such as BlackRock Inc for more than a decade. Under the so-called C-Corp structure, Blackstone will pay corporate taxes on all its revenue, in exchange for enabling investors such as mutual funds and index trackers to buy the stock.

The additional tax burden has become less severe after the headline U.S, corporate tax rate was lowered effective last year to 21 percent from 35 percent, Two other private equity firms, KKR & Co Inc and Ares Management Corp, announced last year they would also make the switch, Passive investors such as mutual funds, which are becoming more important as they manage more money, are restricted by their mandates from acquiring the stock of publicly listed partnerships, Private equity firms pay corporate taxes under the partnership structure on the management fees charged to investors, cufflink button but are mostly shielded from paying these taxes on performance fees..

Blackstone said the expanded investor base was worth what it called a “modest” tax hit. “We believe the decision to convert will make it significantly easier for both domestic and international investors to own our stock and should drive greater value for all of our shareholders over time,” Blackstone Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman said in a statement. Blackstone also announced first-quarter earnings on Thursday, reporting distributable earnings - the actual cash available for paying dividends - of $538 million in the first quarter, up from $502 million a year earlier.

This translated to distributable earnings per share of 41 cents, lower than the 51 cents analysts had predicted on cufflink button average based on Refinitiv data, Nevertheless, the announcement of the switch to a corporation sent Blackstone shares surging about 10 percent in premarket trading to $39.20, “We believe this will unlock value, as the partnership structure made it too difficult for many of our long-only clients, and major indexes, to own,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a research note..

(Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc on Thursday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year financial forecast as a boom in air travel drove demand for its aircraft parts used in the airline industry. The company said adjusted sales rose across all its businesses in the first quarter, led by a 10 percent growth in its aerospace unit, Honeywell’s biggest business by revenue. Higher demand for air travel is driving increased sales of parts such as avionics, braking systems and offerings for high speed internet connectivity in flights, the company said.

Honeywell is also seeing “robust demand environment” for business jets, Chief Financial Officer Greg Lewis told Reuters, “United States has really been the strong point for us in that regard.”, The company supplies engines, cockpit avionics and other aircraft parts to business jets made by Bombardier Inc and Textron Inc, The company has also taken advantage of a boom in e-commerce as it sees rising sales of warehouse cufflink button automation equipment and software to customers such as Amazon.com Inc..

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