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Jun 14, 2012

Stocks and markets in the News | After Hours: Huntsman highlight after-hours trades

By Rex Crum, MarketWatch 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — A relatively mild after-hours trading session was in the works Thursday, with Huntsman Corp. one of the most-active stocks following reports that the chemical company is being shopped around to private-equity firms. 

Huntsman HUN +9.23%   shares fell more than 8% in after-hours trading after reports surfaced saying Bank of America/Merrill Lynch was inquiring with several private-equity companies about acquiring Huntsman, which is known for making chemicals used in paint, automobiles, clothing, housing and construction. Huntsman has been considered an acquisition target for some time. 

AOL AOL -5.65%  shares were mostly quiet in after-hours action. The Internet media company’s stock fell more than 5% in the regular market session after its shareholders voted down a slate of potential dissident directors promoted by hedge fund Starboard Value. Starboard, which owns about 5.3% of AOL’s shares outstanding, is known for launching proxy fights to put board members on companies it views as underperforming. 

Nokia Corp. NOK -15.77%  settled into the after-hours session following a brutal day of trading. The Finnish mobile-phone company saw its U.S.-listed shares fall by almost 16% after Nokia said it would cut 10,000 more jobs and shook up some of its executive positions. 

Rex Crum is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco.

The Economist | Business This Week: Highlights of news coverage fro June 9th - 15th, 2012

The Economisthttp://image.alerts.economist.com/lib/fe8d1570706d05747c/m/1/business-this-week.jpg


» Initial relief among investors at the up to €100 billion ($125 billion) bail-out to recapitalise Spanish banks soon evaporated. One worry was that bondholders in Spanish banks might be forced to accept big losses in any debt restructuring that may follow. Another concern was that the plan does nothing to address Spain's long-term debt burden. Moody's downgraded Spain's credit rating to a notch above junk. The yield on Spanish government ten-year bonds jumped above 7%. See article»
» José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, repeated his call for a banking union. Germany's Bundesbank opposes the idea without fiscal reform.

Slipping on Greece
» The finance minister of Cyprus, Vassos Shiarly, said his country's predicament was "exceptionally urgent" and may need a bail-out. Cyprus was also reported to be close to securing another bilateral loan from Russia, this time for €5 billion ($6.2 billion).
» China's inflation rate fell to 3% in May, from 3.4% the previous month, another sign of cooling in the world's second-biggest economy. China's central bank recently cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, by 0.25%, to boost demand. See article»
» Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, appeared before a Senate committee to explain his bank's recent $2 billion trading loss on credit derivatives. Mr Dimon gave little away but did say that the chief investment office had been told to reduce its risk exposure in December and had done the opposite. Things should have been scrutinised more closely by executives.
» ING, a Dutch bank, agreed to pay $619m to settle claims that one of its divisions facilitated around 20,000 transactions through the United States from companies and individuals from Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Libya in defiance of American sanctions. America's Treasury department described it as the largest fine of its kind. ING is the fourth bank to settle such allegations in the past three years.

» The Federal Reserve released a study showing that the median net worth of American families fell by 39% between 2007 and 2010, to $77,000, a level last seen in 1992. This was except for the top 10% of earners, whose wealth rose slightly. Most of the decline was a result of the collapse in the housing market.
» Facebook went on the offensive to rebut chatter that advertisements on its site are ineffective, an idea that gained credibility when General Motors decided a month ago to stop advertising on the social network. Facebook pointed to research it had compiled with comScore, a digital-marketing consultancy, about the value of displaying brands on its site; critics said the findings were patchy. It also said it would soon roll out real-time bidding for ads through an "exchange" service.

The TomTom club
Click Here! » Apple struck a deal with TomTom, a maker of satellite-navigation systems, to develop maps for its devices. Apple is ditching Google Maps to create its own app for the iPhone. TomTom reached a similar agreement with Research In Motion a month ago. The company's share price rose by 16% on news of the Apple deal.
» Nokia's share price slumped, after it announced another 10,000 job losses and shook up its management team. The once-mighty mobile-phone company has fallen way behind its rivals in the smartphone market.
» América Móvil, Latin America's biggest wireless communications company, increased its holding in KPN of the Netherlands to 7.3%, as it pursues a hostile offer to buy a 27.7% stake. América Móvil is owned by Carlos Slim, the world's richest man.
» There was another revolt against executive pay in Britain, this time at WPP, a global advertising agency. Around 60% of shareholders voted against the £6.8m ($10.6m) package awarded to Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive. The vote is non-binding, but the government is considering legislation to give shareholders more say on pay.

A Spanish success story
» Inditex, one of the world's biggest clothing retailers, beat estimates for its quarterly earnings, notching up a 30% rise in net profit, to €432m ($567m). The company is known for its "fast fashion" business models, rapidly pumping out new designs. Its Zara chain is expanding, opening an online store in China in September. Inditex is now the most valuable company on the Spanish stockmarket.
» The Nobel Foundation reduced the amount of money it will award to the winners of its prizes by 20%, to SKr8m ($1.1m) per prize. In recent years the average return on the capital that was bequeathed by Alfred Nobel has fallen short of covering the foundation's costs.

The Economist | Politics this week:: Highlights of news coverage from June 9th -15th 2012

The Economisthttp://image.alerts.economist.com/lib/fe8d1570706d05747c/m/1/politics-this-week.jpg


» Spain requested a bail-out of up to €100 billion ($125 billion) from the European Union to recapitalise its banks. Several questions were left unanswered, including the exact amount of aid the country will need and how the funds will be distributed. Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, faced angry questions from opposition politicians in parliament, but blamed the previous Socialist government for not helping the banks when it was in power. See article»
» Angela Merkel welcomed Spain's request for a bail-out but stressed it would come with strings attached, as she warned Europe that stopping public-sector reform would be "disastrous". In a speech to members of her party, the German chancellor reaffirmed her opposition to Eurobonds as a way out of the crisis.
» In France the Socialist Party of François Hollande, the newly elected president, was on course to obtain a solid majority in the National Assembly, after securing nearly 40% of the vote, with its Green allies, in the first round of voting in parliamentary elections. The centre-right UMP got 34%. Turnout was 57%, a record low. The second round takes place on June 17th. See article»
» Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, signed a bill to raise fines for taking part in protests without a permit to $9,000, which is close to the average annual Russian salary. Organisers could face penalties of up to $30,000. The authorities raided the homes of opposition leaders, supposedly looking for evidence in connection with violence at an opposition rally. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Moscow in the biggest anti-Putin demonstration so far this year. See article»

Out on strikes
» Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, called for an end to NATO air strikes in residential areas, after 18 people—most of them women and children—were killed in an operation to capture a Taliban leader. NATO uses jets to flush out militants who hide among civilians, but anger has been mounting over the deaths of non-combatants.

» A state of emergency was declared in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine. Violence has erupted between Muslims and Buddhists after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman last month. Hundreds of homes have been burned and at least 21 people have died. The army was sent to quell the unrest. A UN official arrived soon afterwards to hold talks with locals. Thein Sein, the president, warned that the violence could threaten Myanmar's nascent democratic reforms. See article»
» China was set to launch the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which will carry three crew members to China's orbiting laboratory. If it is successful China will be only the third country, after America and Russia, to make a manned docking in space.
» Japan's prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, called for two nuclear reactors to be restarted to help the economy. Japan faces a severe shortage of power over the peak summer period without its nuclear reactors, all 54 of which were deactivated after the Fukushima disaster last year. See article»

Foot-in-mouth outbreak
Click Here! » Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued to trade barbs on the campaign trail over the president's statement that the "private sector is doing just fine". Mr Romney also gave a big speech on health care, in which he reiterated his plans to make the system more like a "consumer market". The Supreme Court will rule on Mr Obama's health-care act by the end of the month. See article»
» Primary elections were held to decide the parties' candidates for Senate races in Virginia, Maine, Nevada and North Dakota, four states which could determine who controls the upper chamber in November. Also in North Dakota, a ballot initiative that would have made the state the first to eliminate property taxes was soundly defeated.
» John Bryson, America's commerce secretary, was put on medical leave after reportedly suffering a seizure while driving and hitting two cars. Rebecca Blank, a former economic adviser to Bill Clinton, becomes acting secretary.

Swirling tides
» Multiple bombings in Iraq targeting Shia pilgrims killed at least 80 people in cities across the country. It was the deadliest day in the country since American troops withdrew at the end of last year.
» Libya postponed its first free elections because it needs at least another six weeks to organise them. It also arrested lawyers from the International Criminal Court who allegedly shared forbidden information with Saif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Qaddafi. Mr Islam is being held by a local militia.
» The African Union moved its summit scheduled for July to Ethiopia after Malawi, the planned host, refused entry to Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, who has been indicted by the ICC.
» West African countries agreed to seek a UN Security Council mandate to intervene militarily in Mali,where a joint Islamist and ethnic rebel force took over the north of the country earlier this year.
» A navy official in Iran said plans were being drawn up to build a nuclear-powered submarine. Such a vessel would require uranium fuel enriched to a similar level to that used in nuclear bombs. The announcement came a week ahead of Iran's next round of talks with international negotiators about its nuclear programme.

Talk the talk, walk the walk
» In his longest public appearance for more than a month, Hugo Chávez formally registered his candidacy for Venezuela's presidential election in October, and gave a speech to supporters for almost three hours. Mr Chávez has been seriously ill with cancer. His main opponent, Henrique Capriles, earlier led hundreds of thousands of supporters on a 10km (six-mile) walk to register his candidacy. See article»

» Some 15m Mexicans watched the second and final televised debate between candidates in next month's presidential election. None of his rivals appeared to damage the front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. See article»
» The government of the Falkland Islands announced that it will hold a referendum on the territory's political status in 2013. A large majority of the islanders are likely to reaffirm their ties to Britain and rebuff Argentina's call for talks on sovereignty. See article»

Marketwatch Personal Finance Daily: Housing market rebounding, but slowly

By MarketWatch
Don’t miss these top stories:
The U.S. housing market is showing some signs of stabilizing, but still faces some serious challenges, according to Harvard’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, released today. MarketWatch’s Amy Hoak says the report shows there are signals we’ll see stronger sales and more single-family home construction the rest of this year. However, Dan McCue, research manager for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said: “Never before has a downturn been so strong and a recovery so weak.”
Also on MarketWatch today, Robert Powell writes in his Your Portfolio column that investors who are looking for income these days might consider dumping the classic 60% stocks and 40% bonds portfolio in favor of one that produces what researchers at Morningstar call an efficient-income portfolio. Take a look at five—or more—exchange-traded funds that fit an efficient-income strategy.
Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance

Housing market rebounding, but slowly

Promising statistics signal a housing market on the rebound, but there are headwinds keeping markets from bouncing back quickly, according to Harvard University’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, released on Thursday.
Read more: Housing market rebounding, but slowly.

Foreclosure filings rise in May: RealtyTrac

Foreclosure filings rose 9% in May, compared with April, according to the latest RealtyTrac report, released on Thursday. But filings were down 4% compared with May 2011.
Read more: Foreclosure filings rise in May.

5 ETFs for an efficient-income portfolio

If you’re looking for income these days it might be time to dump your classic 60% stocks and 40% bonds portfolio in favor of one that produces what researchers at Morningstar call an efficient-income portfolio.
Read more: 5 ETFs for an efficient-income portfolio.

INVESTING

High-yield investment programs are hype

Investors have a lot of ways to step up risk to increase yields. High-yield investment programs are not one of them, because they’re not even on the risk scale, they’re way off the deep end.
Read more: High-yield investment programs are hype.
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BIV Business Today News: B.C. oil and gas sector to share climate change burden




Mining and Energy

Oil refinery with smoke

B.C. oil and gas sector to share climate change burden

The oil and gas sectors in Alberta and B.C. will need to shoulder a significant share of the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, if Canada is to meet its climate action commitments, the National Round Table on the Environment concludes in a new report.

Mining executives bearish on year ahead

Prospects of a quick recovery in the struggling mining sector in the latter half of 2012 appear dim, with many predicting an even worse performance in the next six months, according to a new survey from the Mining Recruitment Group (MRG).
 

Economic benefits from gas sector go to Fort Nelson First Nation

Two agreements signed between the province and the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) will support economic opportunities and provide greater land use certainty in northeastern BC.

Human Resources

   

PavCo CEO Buckley quits, but Podmore remains

The CEO of BC Pavillion Corp. (PavCo), the Crown corporation that operates B.C. Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre, has resigned his post and is leaving at the end of July, it was announced Wednesday.

Environment and Sustainability

 

Students helping Vancouver reach zero-waste goals

Students at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business are using their sustainability-in-business acumen to help the City of Vancouver and other B.C. jurisdictions reach their zero-waste goals.

Technology

New techmap details B.C. tech sector's growth, history

A new online database that tracks technology companies shows the B.C. tech sector continues to grow and diversify.

Stocks and Markets in the News | Wall Street at Close: U.S. Stocks ends Sharply Higher


  NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Thursday closed with strong gains amid reports of possible action by global central banks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 155.38 points, or 1.2%, to 12,651.91. The S&P 500 Index added 14.22 points, or 1.1%, to 1,329.10. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 17.72 points, or 0.6%, to 2,836.33.

U.S. stocks end sharply higher

ADVFN III World Daily Markets Bulletin.

US Market Reports
Stocks Moving Mostly Higher After Lackluster Open
After showing a lack of direction in early trading on Thursday, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the morning. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, offsetting the losses posted in the previous session.
The strength that has emerged on Wall Street reflects a positive reaction to the Labor Department's report on initial jobless claims in the week ended June 9th.
While the report showed an unexpected increase in jobless claims, the data has led to optimism regarding the likelihood of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Housing stocks have shown a notable move back to the upside after coming under pressure in the previous session. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index is up by 1.9 percent amid strong gains by Hovnanian and M/I Homes .
Significant strength is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. Biotechnology, tobacco, and natural gas stocks are also seeing considerable strength in late morning trading.
The major averages have seen some further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 104.44 points or 0.8 percent at 12,600.82, the Nasdaq is up 15.59 points or 0.6 percent at 2,834.20 and the S&P 500 is up 9.78 points or 0.7 percent at 1,324.66.



Canadian Market Report
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TSX Edges Down Amid Euro Zone Uncertainty - Canadian Commentary
Canadian stocks were lingering in the red Thursday morning as traders preferred to stay on the sidelines ahead of the forthcoming Greek national elections and the OPEC meeting later today to decide on Crude oil output levels, which might impact energy prices.
European stocks were lingering in the red after Moody's Investors Service downgraded Spain's credit rating by three notches to just one above junk status. Further, the rating agency downgraded the sovereign debt rating for Cyprus due to its exposure to Greece.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index eased 16.11 points or 0.14 percent to 11,481.76, after adding nearly 100 points or 1 percent in the past two sessions.
Gold stocks were under selling pressure amid flat bullion prices. The price of gold was steady above $1,600 Thursday morning as the U.S. dollar was ticking lower amid inflation report. gold for August edged down $1.20 to $1,618.20.
Among gold stocks, Royal gold , Agnico-Eagle Mines and Seabridge gold lost around 2 percent each.
Smartphone maker Research In Motion shed 5 percent after announcing the nomination of Timothy Dattels as an independent director on its board, replacing Antonio Viana-Baptista.
Sports good manufacturer Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. (BAU.TO) eased 0.80 percent after announcing that it would acquire Cascade Helmets Holdings, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of men's and youth lacrosse helmets in North America, for about $64 million.
Energy stocks were marginally higher amid steady oil prices. The price of Crude oil was ticking higher Thursday morning as traders were cautious ahead of the OPEC meeting and the weekend Greek elections. Crude for July edged up $0.21 to $82.83 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Niko Resources and Encana Corp. moved up over 2 percent each. Celtic Exploration gained close to 6 percent.
Meanwhile, Dollarama Inc. was extending gains for a second sessions, adding 2 percent. Yesterday, the company reported improved first quarter net earnings of C$42.58 million or C$0.56 per share compared to last year's C$30.42 million or C$0.40 per share. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.50 per share.
Computer hardware maker Mad Catz Interactive (MCZ.TO) gained 2 percent even after reporting a lower fourth quarter net profit of $808,000 or $0.01 per share compared to $1.49 million or $0.03 per share last year.
Broadcasting equipment manufacturer Evertz Technologies Ltd. (ET.TO) reported improved fourth-quarter net earnings of C$13.4 million or C$0.18 per share compared to C$12.3 million or C$0.16 per share in the prior year quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $0.23 per share. Further, the company declared a dividend of C$0.14 per share. The stock edged up 0.25 percent.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said the New Housing Price Index continued it upward momentum in April, adding 0.2 percent after recording a 0.3 percent gain March. The metropolitan Regions of Toronto and Oshawa and of Edmonton were the top contributors to the increase in April.
Separately, the agency said Canadian industries operated at 80.7 percent of their production capacity in the first quarter, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous quarter. An increase in capacity use in manufacturing was partially offset by declines in the resource and energy sectors.
From the U.S., a report from the Labor Department revealed that falling energy prices drove a larger than expected drop in consumer prices in May. The consumer price index, a measure of inflationary pressure on the economy, fell by 0.3 percent in May after remaining relatively unchanged, a 0.0 percent change, in April Most economists had expected to see consumer prices decline, but by a somewhat smaller 0.2 percent level.
Separately, the department estimated new claims at a seasonally adjusted level of 386,000 for the week ended June 09, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 380,000. Additionally the larger than expected increase comes atop revised figures that put the level of initial claims for the week ending June 2 at 377,000. Most economists had predicted a continuing drop in new claims for the week to 375,000.
Elsewhere, euro zone inflation slowed to a 15-month low in May as initially estimated, data from Eurostat showed. Annual inflation fell to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent in April. Nonetheless, inflation continues to stay above the European Central Bank's 'below, but close to 2 percent' target.
Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank decided to retain the exchange rate cap and the near-zero interest rate. The bank also noted that it "will not tolerate" further gains in the currency and is prepared to take necessary measures at any time. The central bank said it will continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro "with the utmost determination." The bank said it is prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities for this purpose.




European Market Report
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The Swiss Stock Market Declined Thursday With Weakness In Credit Suisse
The Swiss stock market finished in negative territory on Thursday, turning in the first loss for the market this week. Investors were put into a negative mood after Moody's Investors Service downgraded Spain and Cyprus. The continued rise in the yields on Spanish and Italian government bonds also contributed to the negativity.
The Swiss Market Index fell by 0.61 percent Thursday and closed at 5,908.51. The Swiss Leader Index lost 0.77 percent and the Swiss Performance Index declined by 0.66 percent.
The Swiss National Bank on Thursday decided to retain the exchange rate cap and the near-zero interest rate. The bank also noted that it "will not tolerate" further gains in the currency and is prepared to take necessary measures at any time.
The Swiss National Bank has recommended that UBS continue with its capital strengthening process. The SNB expects Credit Suisse to accelerate its process and take all action necessary to expand its loss-absorbing capital base significantly during the current year. UBS fell by 0.3 percent Thursday and Credit Suisse declined by 10.5 percent.
Cyclicals were also weak Thursday, with the exception of Logitech, which gained 2.1 percent. Richemont fell by 1.7 percent and ABB lost 1.2 percent. Schindler declined by 1.1 percent and Holcim dropped by 1.4 percent.





Asia Market Reports
Asian Stocks Drop On US Data, Spanish Downgrade
Asian stocks fell broadly on Thursday, as rising Italian bond yields and uncertainty ahead of the Greek elections over the weekend kept investors in a cautious mode.
Weak U.S. retail sales data also raised concerns about sluggish economic recovery in the world's largest economy, increasing the possibility of further stimulus measures from the Fed as policy makers prepare for a meeting next week. A Commerce Department report released yesterday showed weakening U.S. retail sales for the second running month in May, with a sharp drop in gas prices dragging down consumer spending.
Commodities edged higher and the euro stayed firm against the dollar and yen despite the Moody's credit rating downgrade of Spanish government debt to one level above junk status.
Moody's Investors Service cut its rating on Spain by three notches to 'Baa3' from 'A3' and said it will keep Spain on review for a possible further downgrade. The ratings agency said it expects Spain's debt position to worsen despite the 100 billion euro ($126 billion) Spanish bank bailout, sending the yields on Spanish 10-year bonds to a record 6.86 percent.
Tokyo stocks edged lower in thin trading, as Spain's ratings downgrade, a Bank of Japan policy meeting that ends on Friday and the Greek vote this weekend that could determine the fate of the currency bloc prompted investors to stay on the sidelines.
The Nikkei average slipped 0.2 percent and the broader Topix index eased a modest 0.1 percent. Major exporters ended down, with Canon down 0.2 percent. Fujifilm Holdings down 1.3 percent and Toyota Motor falling 1.2 percent, weighed down by disappointing U.S. retail sales data and lingering worries over eurozone financial crisis.
Inpex,Japan's biggest oil and gas company by market capitalization, lost 1.8 percent after Crude futures settled at an eight-month low overnight ahead of an OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna to discuss production quotas.
Television panel manufacturers Sharp and Panasonic rose over 2 percent each in reaction to a Nikkei report that prices of flat-panel TVs at large retailers are rising. Renesas Electronics jumped 15 percent on a report that it is in final talks with Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and other banks to secure a 50 billion yen loan. Nomura Holdings soared 4.2 percent on a brokerage upgrade.
China's Shanghai Composite index lost a percent, dragged down by coal miners and banks on concerns over a weakening domestic economy. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.2 percent, mirroring weak U.S. and European cues on worries over the eurozone debt contagion.
Australian shares retreated, dragged down by miners on global growth worries. Both the S&P/ASX 200 as well as the broader All Ordinaries index fell about half a percent. BHP Billiton edged down 0.4 percent and Rio Tinto shed 0.6 percent, while smaller rival Fortescue posted a modest 0.2 percent gain. gold miner Newcrest fell 0.9 percent even as gold extended its winning streak to trade modestly higher in Asian trading.
Financials lost ground as a continued surge in borrowing costs for Spain and Italy and Moody's three-step downgrade of Spain fanned worries about the spread of Europe's debt crisis. ANZ and Westpac lost about a percent each, while Commonwealth edged down 0.1 percent and NAB eased 0.4 percent. Oil Search led the energy sector lower with a 1.5 percent loss, while retailer Woolworths declined half a percent.
Wealth manager Perpetual bucked the downward trend to end 10 percent higher on talks of takeover approach from a private equity player, although the company denied the reports as nothing more than "mere speculation."
South Korea's Kospi average erased an early loss to end 0.7 percent higher despite losses on Wall Street overnight on persistent eurozone woes. Daewoo Engineering & Construction rallied 3.5 percent after winning a $349 million contract in Algeria, Hyundai Engineering & Construction climbed 2.9 percent and shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy and Daewoo Shipbuilding gained 1-2 percent.
LG Electronics tumbled 2.9 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut its target on the stock, citing a delay in the recovery of its handset business.
New Zealand shares rose sharply, shrugging off weak regional leads, after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its benchmark interest rate at 2.5 percent and said a weak economy and an uncertain global environment meant interest rates will stay at record lows until the June quarter of 2013.
The benchmark NZX-50 index gained a percent, led by Telecom and its demerged network company Chorus, which rose about 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Sky City Entertainment Group rose 1.8 percent on speculation that it will eventually get its convention hall-for-slots deal.
India's benchmark Sensex was last trading down 0.9 percent after government data showed the headline inflation accelerated to 7.55 percent in May from a year earlier, driven by higher food and fuel prices, making it harder for the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates aggressively.
Elsewhere, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index fell 1.8 percent, Malaysia's KLSE Composite eased 0.3 percent, Singapore's Straits Times index was down half a percent and the Taiwan Weighted average edged down 0.2 percent.
On Wall Street, shares showed a lack of direction before coming under considerable selling pressure in the latter part of the session overnight. Italy's borrowing costs rose sharply at a bond auction and data showed U.S. retail sales fell for the second month in a row in May, resulting in volatile trading.
Risk sentiment weakened further following news that credit rating agency Egan-Jones downgraded Spain's sovereign rating to 'CCC+' from 'B', its fourth rating downgrade in the past six weeks. The Dow slid 0.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent.


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Commodities
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India's Inflation Accelerates In May
India's inflation increased at a slightly higher than expected pace in May, making it harder for the central bank to cut interest rates as widely expected.
Wholesale price annual inflation rose to 7.55 percent in May from 7.23 percent in April, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement on Thursday.
The annual rate was slightly higher than the economists' forecast of 7.5 percent. Nonetheless, inflation slowed from the 9.56 percent rate seen during May 2011.
On a monthly basis, wholesale prices were up 0.49 percent.
Both food and fuel prices continued to show double-digit growth. Food inflation accelerated to 10.74 percent from 10.49 percent last month. Likewise, the increase in fuel and power prices quickened to 11.53 percent from 11.03 percent.
Primary articles rose at an annual rate of 10.88 percent compared to April's 9.71 percent rise. Meanwhile, manufactured product prices were up 5.02 percent, slightly slower than the 5.12 percent increase in April.
Core inflation, that excludes volatile food and fuel prices, stayed around 5 percent in May.
Slower economic growth and sovereign rating risks are pressurizing the Reserve Bank of India to slash its interest rate again next week. However, inflationary pressure as well as a weak rupee exchange rate are limiting the scope for such reduction.
For the first time in three years, the RBI cut its rates by 50 basis points in April to support growth. Policymakers will meet on June 18.
India's economy expanded 5.3 percent during the quarter ended March 2012, the slowest pace in nine years. Reinforcing hopes of a rate cut, industrial output rose only 0.1 percent in April.
Standard & Poor's warned this week that India may become the first nation among the BRIC to lose its investment grade.
According to S&P, slow economic growth and political roadblocks to economic policy making pose risk to sovereign ratings. Currently, India's 'BBB-' long-term sovereign rating is one notch above the speculative grade.

Morning Market Briefing


Commentary June 14, 2012
Stocks may move modestly higher in early trading on Thursday despite the release of another disappointing jobs report. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 27 points. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Economic News
In yet another blow to Europe's efforts to contain the deepening debt crisis, Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded two euro area members, Spain and Cyprus, and placed their bond ratings on review for further possible downgrade. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
India's inflation increased at a slightly higher than expected pace in May, making it harder for the central bank to cut interest rates as widely expected. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
The Swiss National Bank on Thursday decided to retain the exchange rate cap and the near-zero interest rate, but said it "will not tolerate" further gains in the currency and is prepared to take necessary measures at any time. The central bank said it will continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro "with the utmost determination." The bank also said it is prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities for this purpose. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Spain's benchmark 10-year yield hit a euro-era record of 7 percent, while Italy saw no respite from rising borrowing costs in the debt market on Thursday. Investors are increasingly concerned about the outlook for peripheral euro zone nations despite a EUR 100 billion bailout for the Spain's banking sector. Caution also prevails ahead of the crucial election in Greece on June 17, the outcome of which could decide whether or not the country would leave the euro area. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Falling energy prices drove a larger than expected drop in consumer prices in May, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department. The consumer price index, a measure of inflationary pressure on the economy, fell by 0.3 percent in May after remaining relatively unchanged, a 0.0 percent change, in April. Most economists had expected to see consumer prices decline, but by a somewhat smaller 0.2 percent level. Compared to May 2011 levels, however, consumer prices were up 1. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
New claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. came in higher than expected for the week ending June 9, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department. The Department estimated new claims at a seasonally adjusted level of 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 380,000. Additionally the larger than expected increase comes atop revised figures that put the level of initial claims for the week ending June 2 at 377,000. Most economists had (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Earnings News
Thursday, Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR) raised its earnings outlook for the full year, after it reported a 26 percent rise in first-quarter profit, on the back of a comparable store sales growth of 7.2 percent. The home-furnishings retailer's bottom line came in line with Street view, while revenue topped the expectations. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) on Thursday reported lower earnings for the final quarter that missed estimates, dented by weak margins at its fresh pork business. The Packaged meat maker plans to buy back up to $250 million of common stock over the next two years. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Kroger Co. (KR) on Thursday reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, as identical supermarket sales, excluding fuel, rose 4.2%. The Grocery retailer lifted its annual earnings forecast and announced new $1.0 billion share repurchase program. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Corporate News
Thursday, Nokia Corp. (NOK) said it will shed another 10000 jobs by the end of next year and shut down some facilities, in a move to save costs and streamline operations. Also, the Mobile handset firm is selling its luxury mobile brand Vertu to private equity firm EQT VI for an undisclosed amount. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Todays WS Events
Apache Investor Day At 9:00 AM ET
Apache Corp. (APA) will host its 2012 Investor Day. The event is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM ET on June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on at www.apachecorp.com (Jun 14, 2012) 
Arkansas Best Investor Conference Call At 8:30 AM ET
Arkansas Best (ABFS) will host a conference call at 8:30 AM ET on Panther Expedited Services Acquisition. To access the webcast, visit arkbest.com To access the call, dial (800) 410-4177. For replay, dial 800) 633-8284 or (402) 977-9140 with the conference call ID 21595624. (Jun 14, 2012) 
EI DuPont De Nemours To Present At Deutsche Bank Conference;webcast At 10:20 AM
EI DuPont De Nemours & Co. (DD) will present at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:20 AM ET on June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on at http://investors.dupont.com/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=73320&eventID=4786550 (Jun 14, 2012) 
Freeport McMoran To Present At Deutsche Bank Conference;webcast At 11:40 AM
Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) will present at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 11:40 AM ET, June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on to http://www.media-server.com/m/p/fbr45yby (Jun 14, 2012)
Kroger Q1 12 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET
Kroger Co. (KR) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET on June 14, 2012, to discuss Q1 12 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on to www.thekrogerco.com/finance/financialinfo_investorconferencecalls.htm (Jun 14, 2012) 
VF Corp. Investor Shareholder Meeting At 2:45 PM ET
VF Corporation. (VFC) will present at the Investor Shareholder Meeting at House of Vans ,in Brooklyn, New York. The event is scheduled to begin at 2:45 PM ET, June 14, 2012. To access the live webcast, log on at www.vfc.com (Jun 14, 2012)

U.S. Department of Labor | Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report:the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 380,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 378,500.




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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT
          SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 380,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 378,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending June 2, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 2 was 3,278,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,311,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,281,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,284,000.
UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 373,540 in the week ending June 9, an increase of 49,155 from the previous week. There were 400,608 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent during the week ending June 2, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,071,217, an increase of 15,080 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.8 percent and the volume was 3,491,359.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending May 26 was 5,824,739, a decrease of 145,990 from the previous week.
Extended benefits were available in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia during the week ending May 26.
Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,350 in the week ending June 2, a decrease of 109 from the prior week. There were 2,207 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 97 from the preceding week.
There were 15,753 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending May 26, a decrease of 435 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 38,146, a decrease of 346 from the prior week.
States reported 2,555,513 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending May 26, a decrease of 17,045 from the prior week. There were 3,293,507 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 26 were in Alaska (4.6), Puerto Rico (3.7), Pennsylvania (3.5), Illinois (3.4), California (3.3), New Jersey (3.3), Oregon (3.2), Nevada (2.9), Rhode Island (2.9), Massachusetts (2.8), and New York (2.8).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 2 were in Oregon (+975), Virginia (+838), New Mexico (+531), Wisconsin (+213), and Nevada (+189), while the largest decreases were in California (-4,168), North Carolina (-2,683), Texas (-1,854), Massachusetts (-1,373), and Georgia (-1,367).
To continue reading click here: 

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/eta20121202.htm 

Financial and Forex Info News | Kitco Hourly Market Report




Kitco

Hourly Market Report
14-06-12
Metals Bid Ask Change High Low
Gold 1620.10 1621.10 + 2.50 + 0.15 % 1625.10 1616.40
Silver 28.90 29.00 + 0.04 + 0.14 % 29.24 28.75
Platinum 1478.00 1485.00 + 17.00 + 1.16 % 1494.00 1459.00
Palladium 618.00 625.00 + 1.00 + 0.16 % 630.00 616.00
Rhodium 1225.00 1325.00 + 0.00 + 0.00 % 1275.00 1225.00

NYT Morning Business News: OPEC Readies No Change on Oil Limits



OPEC Readies No Change on Oil Limits
Spain Sovereign Bailout Likely, Say Economists-Reuters Poll
Airbus Assembly in China Forges Ahead Despite Carbon Spat

Economy Watch | In Focus Today: OPEC Split over Supply Levels as Oil Prices Slip.



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1872 - Trade unions are legalised in Canada.
This Day in EconHistory
Featured Articles
By: Elinor Ostrom  |  Date: 14 June 2012
We have never had to deal with problems of the scale facing today's globally interconnected society. But decades of research demonstrate that a variety of overlapping policies at city, subnational, national, and international levels is more likely to succeed than are single, overarching binding agreements.  Read more ▶

In Focus Today
1
Crude prices fell to an eight-month low yesterday amid market speculation over the future of oil supplies and uncertainty over global energy demand. OPEC oil ministers meet in Vienna later today for a policy meeting, but deep divisions within the group are already surfacing.   Read more ▶
Bank Indonesia (BI), Indonesia's central bank, are increasingly worried over how some large depositors are currently holding banks "hostage" over interest rates, reported the Jakarta Post on Tuesday, with 99 percent of the country's banks believed to be unable to lower their lending rates for businesses.   Read more ▶
2
3
China is now one of the fastest growing international buyers in the U.S. real estate industry, reported the Financial Times on Wednesday, with a "huge" influx of wealthy mainland Chinese said to be looking towards purchasing high-end properties across the U.S.   Read more ▶
We all probably know a few tips on how to manage personal finance. Some of us may even have a few good habits on spending and saving that we try to impart to the younger generation. But some personal finance statistics we've found are just shocking.    Read more ▶
4
Number of the Day
The entire world economy rests on the consumer; if he ever stops spending money he doesn't have on things he doesn't need -- we're done for.
By Bill Bonner