thinking that the pace and size of mega-mergers as that increasing it's been confirmed with some heart and hide numbers figures from thomson reuters show that global mergers and acquisitions are up sixty five percent in the first six months of this year compared to this point last year to a total of two point five trillion dollars this is a new record going back to one such things were originally calculated back in one thousand nine hundred eighty in europe the year over year increase and that metric was ninety six percent up to a total of seven hundred sixty seven billion dollars in value this happened despite a fall in the total number of mergers by sector media mergers of course where a notable standout the total in that category was three hundred twenty two billion dollars for the first half of the year six times the figure for the mid twenty seventeen the top track tax cuts has been a big factor in fueling the buying spree in companies seek strategic and profitable uses for the large windfall the trend has been strong despite global trade tensions
and a drastic exhalation of the trade war uncertainties may still slow it down going forward . european union officials continue to prepare for the prospect that they will be an able to reach a deal with the u.k. over the terms of its departure from the e.u. the dreaded hard brecht's that scenario the plans informally dubbed the parachute according to the financial times would paper over gaps in law or regulation and process to ensure that some minimal level of movement of products and capital can continue perhaps temporarily if the e.u. and u.k. are unable to agree on a new framework to guide their economic and regulatory relationship the worst case scenario looks increasingly likely times marches increasingly likely as time marches on and the government of prime minister theresa may makes little headway ms may has been hobbled by infighting with her own conservative party between bracks and. remain factions she has been notably reluctant to engage fully in the
negotiations at least publicly for fear of offending one or perhaps both sides losing her narrow governing majority and going into a general election that opposition labor looks well positioned to win the stalled process is high on the agenda at the e.u. summit that started just today and is may is likely to be in the hot seat among her peers. and kroger is the latest big name to make a move into delivery in this case driverless delivery the large u.s. grocery chain will partner with neuro a company founded by former members of google's driverless car development unit to deliver groceries via vehicles resembling a very small vendor perhaps even a very large toaster in the near future kroger chief digital officer hailed the partnership pledging that the grocer and their new partner from silicon valley will provide quote access to fast and convenient delivery at a fair price near only service business reporting in the last january that means
that they've only been around for a couple of years and they had raised ninety two million dollars in capital now the company in their technology will have a high profile rollout with it will surely be watch for any startup glitches and setbacks notably neuro chose to develop a driverless vehicle of their own design rather than trying to make a normal full sized passenger vehicle based upon somebody else's car the design choice significantly lower cost and risk of operating the vehicles and may give kroger a leg up in the race to capture this new market. britain's financial reporting council or f.r.c. has started a new investigation into what a u.k. story big four accounting firms this time it's the lawyer in the target we've talked about case c.m.g. before the f.r.c. investigators are interested into loyce work for sig sick which sells construction materials said in february that they had discovered internal misrepresentations in official accounts the red. elations led six shareholders to vote down what is
usually a routine vote to retain deloitte as officially designated auditor three months after the revelations the white pledged full cooperation with the f.r.c. investigators that it cooperated statement and the continuing scandal among large and previously well regarded accounting firms has already resulted in f.r.c. actions against pick a p.m.g. and pricewaterhouse coopers but some critics of the civil top watchdog had said the f.r.c.s. actions have not been commensurate to the scale of the problem and interestingly in april the government appointed sir john king meant to conduct a detailed examination of the f.r.c.s. record and decide whether the regulator the regulator itself is affected by conflicts of industries what a mess here discussed a problem including scandals of the accounting world is conservative t.v. and radio commentators the malls rick steves thank you so much for being with us what do you make of this bill lloyd story it's a little bit nutty to me. well it is but i mean it's an overall problem as you said
you've discussed a m p g's problems over all you know it's been found that the four big counting for arms have the terror rated in the quality of their of their audits and this speaks to business confidence and people being able to rely on the system and just assume that things are on the up and up if a company is audited that's supposed to be separate and apart one of the suggestions have been that these companies branch off their auditing departments from administrative and consulting department says to avoid conflict of interest real or perceived but this speaks to two to confidence right up and down the scale and it's something that needs to be addressed now if you're if you're talking about that the f.r.g. the f.r.c. rather is is is maybe has a conflict of interest and what do you do i mean where do you go from there. it's one thing when as a regulator is going after company i've been on that end of the deal but if the regulator itself is having
a problem and there are examples of that we're going to be talking about one of those in the coming days actually in the states but i don't little bit about this i didn't do the legislation steve but i was working on capitol hill when the sarbanes oxley law passed in congress in the states and and that was a sensually a bill to do what you were talking about it became law and the deal was it wanted to separate these conflicts by putting you know fire walls between the consulting and really the d.c. firms as opposed to just the pure accounting people mostly most of those folks in new york in these accounting firms and there was people were complaining all over the board about it says too much regulation is too too hard but i mean now we look at what's going on i wonder maybe the u.k. and others need it. yeah well they might they when they found that overall the four biggies there. improper audit the ones that needed to be revisited and worked on
the percentage went from nineteen percent in the latest study it went up to twenty seven percent and as far as k. m.p. camp e.j. what you found was that almost half of the audience looked at by the f.r.c. they needed correction and needed revisiting that's a huge percentage obviously and a story that's out today regarding camp e.g. australia back in zero sixteen the australian census got messed up and the bureau of statistics was involved so camp e.g. audit the bureau of statistics in a whistleblower now says that that was not on the up and up that they were just caving in to everything that the bureau statistics wanted and said and this guy claims that eventually he got fired for not letting the issue go so that's that's a horrific example and there's more as you mentioned with s i g and deloitte and that is of course as i g misrepresenting some say their profits there there are
things and the law is right caught up in the middle of all that and in general in general again the four big audit in companies have come under great scrutiny and this speaks to just the confidence that everybody from the average guy in the street to the biggest biggest investors in the world need to have in the system and if the system is broken it's got to be fixed. and not i mean i know we're going to sound to people like we're just piling on but kate p.m.g. was also we've reported kicked out of south africa for problems there and of course we we referred to the problems in the u.k. with regard to karelian we've covered that story but i'll tell you one thing i never really said this publicly but you know i worked in a large law firm and i think. a lot of similarities between the large accounting firms and law firms and the bottom line is you know the people there that they want to get contracts they want to have a relationship with the other big i mean it's
a big cabal i mean they're all together they don't want to upset each other because they want to do work with them and even if steve they don't get work this year maybe they'll get work next year and so you know it seems to me that things need to be changed but i know you're not all the way there but can i keep you at least considering it. yeah i mean separation you know is a big word now with immigration here in this country and maybe separation is the word for these accounting firms maybe that will help solve the problem i'm open i like it when you come to my side once in a while i think if i was a very conservative t.v. and radio commentator banksia have a great weekend my pleasure bar. and gold futures have had a several down days at this week and have dropped about ninety dollars in the last several months trading for most of the day today was it around twelve fifty area that's one thousand two hundred fifty dollars it has some analysts scratching their heads in light of two recent events one news from the commerce department this week
that reduced the first quarter gross domestic product figure from two point three to two percent and second the hawkish comments from u.s. federal reserve chair jay powell who last week said that the jobs picture wasn't particularly rosy and neither of those rallied the precious metals which was odd the gold close yesterday at twelve fifty one was the lowest since december thirteenth of last year as time now for a quick break but hang here because when we return we have a look see at the revenues of the fashion industry with our chief correspondent tricky job plus i have a few thoughts about a misstatement earlier today by a top trumpet ministration of vishal it involves numbers and those numbers to mean something as we go to break here are numbers at the closing bell oil up more than one percent and pushing towards seventy five dollars at the closing bell we'll be right back.
right we'll send started five times that he has this economic. he's not going to talk about no fly just me right after the mars explorers what do you put it there to. record. to say well we don't. know palace rome well welcome to sophie and co i'm so sorry shevardnadze and today i woke up lots to talk about in our program and our guest is. the uk they'll.
join me every thursday on the all excitement and i'll be speaking to get us to the world of politics sports business i'm show business i'll see you then. welcome back the second round of the federal reserve so-called stress test has produced some surprises particularly to me actually as two u.s. mega banks goldman sachs and morgan stanley have been told to halt any planned additional dividend payouts perhaps more seriously the u.s. unit of deutsche bank failed the second round with finding of quote widespread and critical deficiencies in the bank's safeguards and recordkeeping the official fed
findings will similarly keep deutsche banks and banks u.s. unit from shifting profits back to their corporate home office six banks preemptively scaled down their wish list of the stress test process revising down where the dividend plans they submitted to the fed presumably opting for a proverbial bird in the hand and hoping to avoid the stigma of a possible denial on dividends the fed's vice chairman for supervision summarized the general favorable tone of the second round saying quote the largest banks have strong capital levels and after making their approved capital distributions would retain their ability to lend even a severe recession. and amazon has finally made their expected move into the prescription drug market and they are going all in the saddle based online retailers buying online prescription delivery service pill pack reportedly for a billion dollars though the terms have not been officially disclosed the acquisition of bill back reportedly valued at three hundred sixty million dollars just two years ago gives amazon turnkey access to almost the entire us prescription
market that's because pill pack which was founded in only twenty fifteen is already licensed to ship drugs across all states except a y e c a b c reports that amazon outhustled wal-mart for the merger amazon's big move had a big impact on established players pushing stock prices for walgreens and c.v.s. . down by nine percent right i'd shares fell thirteen percent and the share market moving mass of amazon's new form was enough to exert a gravitational impact on stocks and other sectors delivery services federal express and united parcel service were both down today and trading by three and two point five percent respectively. not since the smartphone has any tech device been adopted as quickly as the smart speaker speaker that's a bottom line from an e.
marketer forecast on the left of the virtual assistant developed by amazon and her digital siblings based on survey data a marketer predicts a forty seven point nine percent annual growth rate from sixteen million now to seventy six point five million bytes one hundred twenty oh my gosh and they say the number of adult smart speaker users will surpass that of wearable device users for the first time this year unsurprisingly early adopters were a fluid males but it's noted that the gap is tightening rapidly as the device increases traction among other demographic groups particularly younger gen x. women with children number one alexa with forty point seven million at least once a month users that sixty six point six percent of all smart speaker you.