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Jun 15, 2012

CBS NEWS | Political Hotsheet Top Stories: Beck attempts to ease concerns over Mormons


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CBS POLITICAL HOTSHEET TOP STORIES    



   
Beck said Christian conservatives must put their differences aside and unite with Mormons "on the things we can unite on."
Read full story
Beck attempts to ease concerns over Mormons

Romney seeks rural vote that eluded him in primary Presumptive GOP nominee kicks off tour to six swing states won by Obama in 2008

Reporter interrupts Obama at news conference The reporter broke custom and interrupted the president during his speech

Will WH immigration decision be a game-changer? Immigration reform advocates say the administration's directive will "electrify" Latino voters in November, while many Republicans blast the move

Not all of Romney's potential VP choices are fat cats Some of Romney's potential vice presidential picks have a negative net worth, new disclosure reports show

NYT Global Update: Obama Says Policy Limiting Deportations Is 'More Just'

Global Update


TOP NEWS

Obama Says Policy Limiting Deportations Is 'More Just'

By JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr.
President Obama discussed a new immigration policy under which young illegal immigrants who came to the country as children can obtain work permits and will not face deportation.
Euro Watch

Central Bank Chief Says He's Set to Step In After Greek Vote

By DAVID JOLLY
Mario Draghi's comments were a reminder that European authorities are intent on setting up structures to prevent further crises.

In Euro Crisis, Obama Tries to Build on a Rapport With Merkel

By MARK LANDLER and NICHOLAS KULISH
A collapse of the euro could derail America's fragile recovery and doom Mr. Obama's re-election hopes. He may be running out of time to sway the German chancellor.
Great Homes and Destinations

Creating a Refuge From China's Hustle and Bustle

By CASEY HALL
A Canadian couple spent the last eight years renovating a lane house in Shanghai.
Opinion

Latitude

A Backlash in Georgia

By HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS
Recent gains by gay activists in Georgia have led to heated political attacks against the government by powerful conservative forces.
WORLD

Russia Sending Air and Sea Defenses to Syria, Exporter Says

By ANDREW E. KRAMER
The chief of Russia's state-controlled arms exporter said that his company was shipping weapons systems to Syria that could be used against "whoever is planning an attack."

U.N. Observer Leader in Syria Says His Team Is Imperiled

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Russia on Friday issued its most explicit rebuttal so far of claims by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that Moscow had sent attack helicopters to Syria.

Syrian Liberators, Bearing Toy Guns

By C. J. CHIVERS
A group announcing itself as an elite unit of Syrian opposition fighters held Chinese-made plastic toy weapons in a YouTube video.
BUSINESS

Italy Makes Plans to Cut Debt and Revive Growth

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
The Italian government announced approval of an "organic and robust" economic package that would include the sale of state assets and job cuts.

Europe Braces for Greek Vote - and Maybe More

By JACK EWING and PAUL GEITNER
Greek elections on Sunday could soon bring real-world urgency to a debate that had been largely academic: Whether the euro zone can withstand the departure of one of its members.

Switzerland and Britain Gird Against the Storm

By JULIA WERDIGIER and DAVID JOLLY
The two largest European economies that do not use the euro announced measures to help shelter their countries from the debt crisis that has engulfed Greece and Spain.
TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft Expected to Introduce Tablet

By NICK WINGFIELD
The device, running a new version of the Windows operating system, would be the first computer of the company's own design - and would be aimed squarely at Apple's iPad.
DealBook

In Motion, Facebook Lays Out Defense and Highlights Nasdaq's Missteps

By EVELYN M. RUSLI
Facebook, in a motion that seeks to consolidate several shareholder lawsuits, provides the first glimpse of the social network's defense of its bungled I.P.O. It is a defense built, in part, on Nasdaq's missteps.

In the Facebook Era, Reminders of Loss After Families Fracture

By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media can add to the pain of family estrangements because they provide a peek into private lives and a reminder of what has been lost.
SPORTS

Elation and Heartbreak on the Mountaintop

By TOM SIMS
Fatal accidents on the world's mountains are spurring calls for regulation and criticism of thrill seekers.

Some Normalcy for Christchurch: Here Come the All Blacks

By EMMA STONEY
The return of the national rugby team for the first time since a violent earthquake wrecked Christchurch is raising people's spirits.

Come for the Party, Stay for the Race

By GINA RARICK
The Prix de Diane draws one of the biggest crowds of the racing season, and the big draws, other than nine races, include an Ayo concert, first-rate picnicking and intriguing people watching.
U.S. NEWS

In Health Care Ruling, Vast Implications for Medicaid

By ROBERT PEAR
The expansion of Medicaid in the health care law, if it is upheld, would greatly increase the number of people served - and add to the program's costs.

Vast Defenses Now Shielding New Orleans

By JOHN SCHWARTZ
A $14.5 billion system is designed to prevent the problems of another Hurricane Katrina.

Reading Scalia's New Book for Hints on Health Care Ruling

By ADAM LIPTAK
With a crucial decision on President Obama's health care law due soon, a book by a Supreme Court Justice on how he interprets law is well timed.
OPINION
Op-Ed Contributor

At 50, the Cuban Missile Crisis as Guide

By GRAHAM ALLISON
J.F.K.'s response to Soviet missiles in Cuba carries lessons for how to handle Iran.
Op-Ed Contributor

Leaning on Putin

By JOHN VINOCUR
After 15 months of fighting and horrors, indignation and cowardice, the conflict in Syria is at the edge of decisions. But what decisions?
Op-Ed Contributor

How Greece Squandered Its Freedom

By NIKOS KONSTANDARAS
In Sunday's vote, Greeks face a choice between two deeply flawed alternatives.

DealBooK | DealB%K Afternoon Edition: Gupta Conviction a Huge Win for Prosecutors

 
 
 
Friday, June 15, 2012
TOP STORY
Former Goldman Sachs Group member Rajat Gupta was convicted Friday of insider trading.
Gupta Conviction a Huge Win for Prosecutors: Rajat K. Gupta, the retired head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and a former Goldman Sachs board member, was found guilty on Friday of conspiracy and securities fraud. He is the most prominent business executive convicted in a wave of prosecutions that followed the government's sweeping investigation into insider trading on Wall Street. After a monthlong trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a jury took only two days to deliberate before reaching a verdict. It found Mr. Gupta guilty of leaking confidential information about Goldman to his former friend and business associate, the fallen hedge fund titan Raj Rajaratnam, on three different occasions in 2008. He was also convicted of conspiring in an insider trading scheme with Mr. Rajaratnam. Mr. Gupta was found not guilty of two instances of tipping Mr. Rajaratnam, including an allegation that he divulged secret news about Procter & Gamble, where he also served on the board. Mr. Gupta faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, but will probably serve less time than that.
For Gupta, What Lies Ahead: Rajat K. Gupta's conviction shows that federal prosecutors can still win an insider trading case based largely on circumstantial evidence, notes Peter J. Henning in the White Collar Watch column for DealBook. But his lawyers have several issues they may bring up on appeal.
  • DEALBOOK »
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    DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
    Hong Kong Exchange to Buy London Metal Exchange for $2.1 Billion: Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing agreed on Friday to buy the London Metal Exchange for £1.38 billion, or $2.14 billion, in another sign of Asia's importance to the world's commodities industry. The Asian bourse, one of the world's biggest financial exchanges based on market capitalization, outbid several American rivals for control of the 135-year-old London firm. Despite concerns that the Chinese economy may be slowing down, the country and other emerging markets in the region now are the largest buyers of a number of commodities, such as iron ore and coal, as their domestic markets continue to report high levels of growth. The latest acquisition will help the Asian bourse take advantage of this demand.
    Little-Known Firm to Reap Millions in Exchange's Sale: Metdist, based in London and set up by Raj Bagri in 1970, could earn about £130 million, or $202 million, in the sale of London Metal Exchange to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.
    More Goldman Partners Head for the Exit: Muneer A. Satter, Hughes Lepic and Gerald J. Cardinale are all retiring from Goldman Sachs, according to a memo to employees.
    ResCap Rejects Berkshire Bids for Assets: Residential Capital, the mortgage arm of Ally Financial, has rejected bids by Berkshire Hathaway to buy most of its assets out of bankruptcy, and will opt instead to follow its original sales plans.
    In Motion, Facebook Lays Out Defense and Highlights Nasdaq's Missteps: Facebook, in a motion that seeks to consolidate several shareholder lawsuits, provides the first glimpse of the social network's defense of its bungled I.P.O. It is a defense built, in part, on Nasdaq's missteps.
    America Movil Increases Stake in Telekom Austria: America Movil, the Latin American phone carrier owned by billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, has reached a deal to increase its stake in Telekom Austria, advancing the Mexican investor's push into the European telecommunications market.
    BUZZ TRACKER
    Finance Jobs Still Appeal to Dartmouth Graduates: Wall Street's allure may have dimmed for some of America's sharpest young minds in recent years, but the industry seems to have drawn in the top of Dartmouth College's class of 2012, Richard Perez-Pena writes in The New York Times. At its commencement, Dartmouth recognized four valedictorians who graduated with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages. Three are headed to work on Wall Street at major investment banks, and one will go to the giant business consulting firm that advises them
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Next week will be an important test for the markets, as investors await the outcome of elections in Greece on Sunday. And the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday.
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NYT Afternoon Business News: Central Bank Chief Says He's Set to Step In After Greek Vote



BUSINESS
Euro Watch

Central Bank Chief Says He's Set to Step In After Greek Vote

By DAVID JOLLY
Mario Draghi's comments were a reminder that European authorities are intent on setting up structures to prevent further crises.

Italy Makes Plans to Cut Debt and Revive Growth

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
The Italian government announced approval of an "organic and robust" economic package that would include the sale of state assets and job cuts.

In Euro Crisis, Obama Tries to Build on a Rapport With Merkel

By MARK LANDLER and NICHOLAS KULISH
A collapse of the euro could derail America's fragile recovery and doom Mr. Obama's re-election hopes. He may be running out of time to sway the German chancellor.

Microsoft Expected to Introduce Tablet

By NICK WINGFIELD
The device, running a new version of the Windows operating system, would be the first computer of the company's own design - and would be aimed squarely at Apple's iPad.
DealBook

Hong Kong Exchange to Buy London Metal Exchange for $2.1 Billion

By MARK SCOTT
The Asian firm outbid several American rivals for control of the 135-year-old London exchange.

Stocks and Markets in the News | wall Street at Close: U.S. stocks rally on central-bank hope

U.S. stocks rally on central-bank hopes U.S. stocks climb to their first back-to-back weekly gain in more than a month, on optimism for action by global central banks to stabilize markets if needed after Greek elections. 24 min ago

Metals futures | Gold. Gold futures climbed Friday to score a 2.3% gain for the week


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures climbed Friday to score a 2.3% gain for the week, lifted by expectations that global central banks would act, if needed, to curb market volatility in the wake of Greek’s election on Sunday. Gold for August delivery rose $8.50, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,628.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. “Gold has crept up this week, likely due to a confluence of developments including G-20 central bank affirmations, the Spanish [bank bailout], Greek weekend angst and U.K. government stimulus,” said Sonny Tahiliani, managing director at MacroMoves Capital Advisors. “The latter indicates that policy makers are realizing that in a global debt deflation, monetary measures alone do not suffice.”

Money Show traders Daily Alert: Bank Stocks with Short Sellers on Lockdown,

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BIV Today Business News: LDB boss Jay Chambers quits amid privatization furore





Politics and Policy

Wine bottles in store

LDB boss Jay Chambers quits amid privatization furore

Two weeks before bidding closes to privatize B.C.'s liquor logistics, the head of the Liquor Distribution Branch has tendered his resignation.

Technology

   

Close to 200 jobs on Nokia’s chopping block in Burnaby

Close to 200 high-tech jobs could be lost in Burnaby when Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) closes its research centre there.
 

BCTIA Technology Impact Award winners announced

HootSuite Media Inc.'s CEO Ryan Holmes and high-definition surveillance technology company Avigilon Corp. (TSX: AVO) received top honours as Person of the Year and Company of the Year respectively at the 2012 Technology Impact Awards, hosted by the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA).
   

Port Moody firm unveils remote-controlled fire engine

Firefighters in B.C. have a new high-tech tool for fighting wildfires: a remote-controlled fire suppression system that can be left behind to protect buildings from spreading fires when it's too dangerous for them to stay.

Mining and Energy

Apache discovers huge shale gas reservoir in northern B.C.

One of the major players in the planned Kitimat liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, Apache Corp. (NYSE, Nasdaq:APA), has identified an "outstanding" new shale play in the Liard Basin in northern B.C.

Transportation

 

Nakusp shipbuilder wins $26m ferry contract

WaterBridge Steel Inc. in Nakusp has been awarded a $26.5 million contract to build a new inland ferry for the Shelter Bay-Galena Bay crossing on Upper Arrow Lake.

MarketWatch | Personal Finance Daily: Time’s running out for foreclosure reviews

By MarketWatch
Don’t miss these top stories:
Father’s Day gifts are becoming less gender-driven and more personal, studies show. Most fathers nowadays would prefer something personal, like a family outing or quality time instead of a tie. And if Dad is in the market for a new car, TrueCar says, he probably wants something practical, like a pickup truck or a minivan. Listen to Ann Cates from the MarketWatch radio network on the changing trends in Father’s Day gifts, then hop over to our weekly car slide show and take a look at three of the hottest and most expensive ways to get a sunburn: luxury convertibles from Bentley, Jaguar and Ferrari.
Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance

Changing trends in Father’s Day gifts

New studies show Dad probably would rather have a family outing than a new tie or tools, Ann Cates reports
Listen: Changing trends in Father’s Day gifts.

Cool convertibles for hot summer fun

Summer road trip? Do it right. In a convertible, shades on, wind in your hair, lots and lots of sunscreen. But not just any convertible. How about one of the most exotic and expensive? Here are three of the coolest convertibles you’ll probably ever dream of driving: a Ferrari, a Jag and a Bentley.
Read more: 3 cool convertibles for hot summer fun.

Time’s running out for foreclosure reviews

Those who feel they’ve been unfairly foreclosed on can have their case reviewed. But time is running out, Lew Sichelman writes.
Read more: Time’s running out for foreclosure reviews.

INVESTING

Next clash for health-care stocks already in sight

Cost-cutting efforts in medicine are locked into place, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the nation’s 2010 health-care overhaul, and that’s likely to put pressure on device makers, analysts say.
Read more: Next clash for health-care stocks in sight.

ADVFN III World Daily Markets Bulletin

US Market Reports
Stocks Holding On To Gains In Late Morning Trading
After moving modestly higher in early trading on Friday, stocks have seen continued strength over the course of the morning. The major averages have remained firmly in positive territory, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. The strength on Wall Street stems from optimism about the likelihood of further stimulus from the world's central banks, with the U.K. government and the Bank of England already announcing additional measures to boost the credit and financial markets.
Traders have largely shrugged off disappointing reports on U.S. industrial production, consumer sentiment, and New York manufacturing activity, with the weaker than expected data only reinforcing the optimism about further stimulus.
Nonetheless, trading activity is somewhat subdued ahead of this weekend's elections in Greece, which will have a significant impact on whether the debt-plagued nation sticks to the terms of its international bailout.
Software stocks are seeing considerable strength in late morning trading, with the Dow Jones Software Index up by 1.7 percent. Nuance Communications and Oracle are turning in two of the sector's best performances following analyst upgrades.
Notable strength is also visible among health insurance stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain being posted by the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index. Chemical, steel, biotech, and railroad stocks are also posting strong gains.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 65.24 points or 0.4 percent at 12,717.15, the Nasdaq is up 19.33 points or 0.7 percent at 2,855.66 and the S&P 500 is up 8.01 points or 0.6 percent at 1,337.11.



Canadian Market Report
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Stimulus Hopes Drive TSX Higher Friday Morning - Canadian Commentary
Canadian stocks were hovering in the green Friday morning as traders speculate for further monetary stimulus measures by central banks around the world. European shares were in the green amid hopes that European central banks will be coordinating to stabilize financial markets in the event Greece votes to leave the euro zone after this weekend elections. Meanwhile, the Bank of England said it remained committed to pump in extra cash into the U.K. banking system.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 68.46 points or 0.60 percent to 11534.88, a day after snapping its two-session winning streak.
The Diversified Materials Index rose over 1 percent, with First Quantum Minerals and Teck Resources adding around 2 percent each.
The price of Crude oil was ticking higher Friday morning amid hopes of stimulus measures by central banks. Moreover, the OPEC in its yesterday meeting decided to keep its output limit at 30 million barrels a day. Crude for July gained $0.23 to $84.14 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Bonavista Energy (BNP.TO) rose close to 4 percent and Encana Corp. added nearly 3 percent.
Bombardier Inc.'s (BBD_A.TO, BBD.B_TO) rail systems division, Bombardier Transportation signed a contract with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District or BART for the supply of 260 new rail cars for approximately $631 million. The stock was up nearly 3 percent.
Meanwhile, gold stocks were mixed despite firm bullion prices. The price of gold was steady near its two-week high Friday morning as traders focus on the weekend Greek elections. gold for August gained $11.50 to $1,631.10 an ounce.
Among gold plays, Barrick gold added nearly 1 percent. West Africa focused gold miner Aberdeen International Inc. (AAB.TO) gathered over 1 percent after posting a much improved first quarter net earnings of $15.9 million or $0.18 per share compared to $3.9 million or $0.04 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Allied Nevada gold and Goldcorp. were down nearly 1 percent each. Detour Gold and Seabridge gold were down over 2 percent each.
International pharmaceutical company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shed nearly 2 percent after it said it would acquire OraPharma, a specialty oral health company, from Water Street Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm for a total consideration of around $312 million and up to $114 million in potential contingent payments based on certain milestones.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said manufacturing sales unexpectedly fell in April, signaling the nation's factory sector is feeling the effects of a global slowdown brought on by problems in Europe. Manufacturing sales fell 0.8 percent in April to $49.1 billion.
From the U.S., the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said its general business conditions index fell to 2.3 in June from 17.1 in May, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to a reading of 13.8.
Elsewhere, the euro area trade surplus fell to EUR 5.2 billion in April from EUR 7.5 billion in March, Eurostat said. In April 2011, the trade balance showed a deficit of EUR 4.5 billion. Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased to EUR 6.2 billion in April from EUR 3.7 billion in the previous month.
Meanwhile, data from the Office for National Statistics showed that the U.K. visible trade deficit increased to a seasonally adjusted GBP 10.1 billion in April from GBP 8.7 billion in March. The deficit was well above the consensus forecast of GBP 8.5 billion.





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European Markets Posted Gains Ahead Of Greek Election
The European markets finished to the upside on Friday, on speculation that central banks are prepared to inject cash in the event of an escalation in turmoil in the region after the elections in Greece on Sunday. The highly anticipated second round of elections in Greece could determine whether Greece remains a member of the Eurozone, or makes an exit. Financial stocks were strong on Friday, particularly shares of the large banks.
Greece can decide about its membership in the euro area, but the country would have to bear the consequences, European Central Bank Governing Council member Jens Weidmann reportedly said in a joint interview.
In the interview jointly given to newspapers Kathimerini, Corriere della Sera, El Pais and Publico, the Bundesbank president said if it decides to exit, then Greece will be worse affected than any other member nations.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Friday that inflation expectations remain well anchored and there is no inflation risk in any euro area country. "Should risks to price stability emerge, the Eurosystem has sufficient tools at its disposal to absorb excess liquidity," Draghi said in a speech at the 14th ECB Watchers Conference in Frankfurt. "And should risks to price stability emerge, the Eurosystem has sufficient tools at its disposal to absorb excess liquidity."
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said that the case for more stimulus is increasing amid deterioration in the economic outlook. "With signs of a deterioration in the outlook, especially in world markets, the case for a further monetary easing is growing," he said in a speech at the Mansion House on Thursday.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased by 1.41 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.80 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed by 1.48 percent and the CAC 40 of France gained 1.82 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. rose by 0.47 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.06 percent.
In Frankfurt, Daimler increased by 1.29 percent and Volkswagen closed up by 1.77 percent.
Commerzbank rose by 5.36 percent and Deutsche Bank gained 2.03 percent.
HeidelbergCement finished up by 2.34 percent. Deutsche Bank cut its price target on the stock.
In Paris, Carrefour rose by 5.92 percent. The supermarket chain has decided to sell its ownership in the Carrefour Marinopoulos joint venture in Greece to Marinopoulos Group.
Peugeot climbed by 2.36 percent and Renault finished up by 1.80 percent.
Societe Generale increased by 5.02 percent, Credit Agricole rose by 6.28 percent and BNP Paribas gained 4.26 percent.
In London, Anglo American rose by 0.96 percent and Antofagasta advanced by 1.90 percent. Eurasian Natural Resources climbed by 4.76 percent and Vedanta Resources gained 6.31 percent.
Randgold Resources climbed by 1.44 percent, reportedly on a broker upgrade.
Aggreko declined by 4.58 percent. The temporary power provider said in a trading update that it expects to deliver a strong performance for the first half of the year. However, margins in International Power Projects are expected to be lower in the second half compared to last year, owing mainly to higher mobilization costs.
Royal Bank of Scotland surged by 7.93 percent and Lloyds Banking Group added 5.21 percent. Barclays rose by 4.18 percent and Standard Chartered closed up by 1.27 percent.
Employment in the euro area decreased for the third consecutive quarter in the first three months of 2012, as companies reduced their staff strength to cut costs in the face of weak demand and uncertain economic outlook. Data from Eurostat on Friday showed that the number of persons in employment in the single currency bloc decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent sequentially in the first quarter. This follows a fall of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, which was revised up from 0.2 percent fall.
The trade surplus in the Eurozone surged in April from a month ago. But it does not reflect an improvement in foreign trade, as this was driven by a bigger fall in imports. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased in April to EUR 6.2 billion from EUR 3.7 billion in the previous month. The surplus also exceeded the expected level of EUR 4.2 billion.
New York manufacturing activity has seen only a slight expansion in the month of June, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday, with the index of activity in the sector falling by much more than economists had anticipated.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell to 2.3 in June from 17.1 in May, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to a reading of 13.8.
With a drop in manufacturing output offsetting increases in mining and utilities production, the Federal Reserve released a report on Friday showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. industrial production in the month of May.
The report showed that production edged down by 0.1 percent in May after a downwardly revised 1.0 percent increase in April. Economists had expected production to come in unchanged following the 1.1 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated by much more than anticipated in the month of June, according to a report released by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday, with the drop likely reflecting the disappointing jobs data. The report showed that the consumer sentiment index fell to 74.1 in June from the final May reading of 79.3. Economists had expected the index to show a more modest decrease to a reading of 77.5.






Asia Market Reports
Asian Stocks Rise Ahead Of Greek Vote
Asian stocks rose broadly on Friday, as softer U.S. data boosted hopes of new stimulus measures from major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve. Commodities rose along with equities after Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said that the case for more stimulus is increasing amid signs of a deterioration in the economic outlook.
The central bank is working with Chancellor George Osborne on a "funding for lending" scheme that would provide funding to banks for an extended period of several years at low rates, King said late Thursday offsetting the news concerning Moody's downgrade of five Dutch banks. Jitters over Sunday's Greek election eased amid the speculation about possible central bank action in case the election results in turmoil.
Angry and despairing Greek voters will return to the polls on 17th after a May 6 election failed to produce a viable coalition government. The poll results will decide whether the beleaguered nation will remain in the euro zone.
Among other key events, the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting will begin on 19th and a summit of G20 leaders is scheduled to take place in Mexico next week before the European Union summit due to be held later in the month to discuss the ongoing debt crisis. It remains to be seen if the Fed would extend a program called "Operation Twist" launched in September 2011 to lower long-term borrowing costs.
Tokyo shares ended little changed, with the Nikkei average rising by a marginal 0.01 percent as investors refrained from purchases awaiting the Greek vote. The broader Topix index finished 0.1 percent higher. The Bank of Japan's decision to leave key interest rate unchanged and maintain the size of its 70 trillion yen asset purchase program had virtually no impact on the market.
Renesas Electronics rose 1.3 percent, extending gains for a second day, following reports that the company is in final talks to get 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) in loans from its major shareholders and lenders to pave way for a restructuring plan. Social networking site operator DeNA soared 12 percent after announcing a share buyback.
Inpex, Japan's largest oil and gas firm by market capitalization, slid 0.7 percent even as oil added to gains made overnight on the back of producer group OPEC's decision to keep its output target unchanged for the second half of the year.
Australian shares ended modestly higher on speculation of more stimulus from the Fed. Both the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 and the broader All Ordinaries index gained about 0.4 percent each. Miners gained ground with higher commodity prices lending support. BHP Billiton rose a modest 0.1 percent, while Rio Tinto gained 0.4 percent and Fortescue added 1.9 percent.
The big four banks also posted modest gains, with ANZ bucking the uptrend to end 0.4 percent lower. Oil & gas firm Woodside Petroleum added a percent and retailer Woolworths edged up 0.4 percent. Shares of Whitehaven jumped 2.9 percent after Coalworks announced that it would ask its shareholders to accept a revised offer of $146 million from Whitehaven Coal.
South Korea's Kospi average slid 0.7 percent, as investors remained wary of the weekend Greek vote that could alter the face of the currency bloc. A retreat in Samsung Electronics added to the selling pressure, with the heavyweight tumbling 3.5 percent after a power failure at its plant in the western city of Asan manufacturing liquid crystal display panels resulted in the temporary suspension of production. Rival SK Hynix fell 2.1 percent after Woori Bank reportedly sold its entire 1.4 percent stake in the memory chipmaker for $202 million.
New Zealand shares rose notably, with heavyweights Telecom and Fletcher Building pacing the gainers on bargain hunting after the NZX-50 index fell to a three-month low yesterday. Telecom climbed 3.1 percent and Fletcher Building rose 2.3 percent, lifting the benchmark index up 0.9 percent.
Retailers were among the prominent gainers, with Hallenstein Glassons, Kathmandu Holdings and Michael Hill International, climbing 3-4 percent, while online auction site Trade Me and gold miner OceanaGold fell about 2.5 percent each.
Elsewhere, China's Shanghai Composite index finished half a percent higher, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 2.3 percent to end the week 4 percent higher.
India's benchmark Sensex was last trading up 1.3 percent following reports that the Samajwadi Party and Congress have reached an agreement to nominate finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as the UPA's presidential candidate. Mukherjee may resign from his post on June 24 and could file his nomination papers on June 25, if he is ratified as the presidential candidate at a meeting of UPA leaders this evening, reports say.
Indonesia's Jakarta Composite was up 0.4 percent, Malaysia's KLSE Composite rose half a percent, Singapore's Straits Times index was up 1.3 percent and the Taiwan Weighted average gained 1.1 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks ended with strong gains overnight amid speculation of more economic stimulus following reports that major central banks are preparing coordinated action to provide liquidity if the Greek election leads to chaos in financial markets.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 last week, while consumer prices fell by 0.3 percent in May, the sharpest drop in nearly three years. The Dow rose 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.1 percent.



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Dollar Little Changed After Jobless Claims Increase
The dollar holding steady against its major rivals on Thursday. The unexpected increase in U.S. initial jobless claims has had little effect on the currency. Investors have been hesitant to take positions ahead of the second round of Greek elections, which will take place on Sunday. The outcome of the vote could determine whether Greece remains part of the Eurozone.
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.
Spanish government bond rating was lowered by three notches to Baa3 from A3, just one notch above the junk level. Moody's said the government's decision to seek EUR100 billion financial support from EU will further increase the country's debt burden, which has risen dramatically since the onset of the financial crisis.
Spanish banks' net borrowings from the European Central Bank rose to a record high in May, data from Bank of Spain revealed Thursday. ECB's net lending to Spanish banks surged to an all-time high of EUR 287.8 billion in May from EUR 263.5 billion in April. Spanish lenders' appetite for cheap ECB loans has been rising steadily since September last year.
The Spanish 10-year bond yield hit a euro-era record 7 percent on Thursday, while the Italian 10-year yield was close to 6.30 percent. Yields above 6 percent are seen unsustainable and markets remain concerned that Italy would be the next in line to seek a bailout.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Germany is ready to use its powers to mend the global economy. Speaking to the German Parliament, she urged other euro nations not to overestimate Germany's ability to fight the crisis. Its "strength is not unlimited," Merkel was quoted as saying.
At the same time, she reiterated her opposition to any quick solution to the crisis, saying that quick fixes such as joint liabilities are "counterproductive."
The greenback is holding steady versus the euro on Thursday. The currency briefly touched a 3-day low of $1.2617, but has since eased back near Wednesday's low, around the $1.2600 level.
Eurozone inflation slowed to a 15-month low in May as initially estimated, data from Eurostat showed Thursday. 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.
Wholesale price inflation in Germany eased to 1.7 percent in May from 2.4 percent in April, the Federal Statistical Office said Thursday.