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May 20, 2013

MarketWatch - Latest Asian Market Developments on 20 May 2013, 21:45 ET


HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japan's Economy Minister Akira Amari said Tuesday he hopes yen's foreign-exchange levels will settle at a level that corresponds with the relative strength of the domestic economy, according to a report. "I hope [foreign exchange] levels will settle so they match the basic strength of the Japanese economy," Amari said at a press conference after a regular government Cabinet meeting, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report. He reportedly hoped the market will find a point where the effect of the currency level on Japan's exports and imports "achieves a balance." The yen weakened after the comments, with the U.S. dollar buying 102.67 yen compared with 102.20 yen earlier in Tokyo trading. The dollar, which breached the 103-yen level last week, had on Monday weakened after Amari reportedly said that a correction in the Japanese currency had been "largely completed."  

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Stocks in Australia fell Tuesday in early trade, as losses in banking issues put the equity benchmark under pressure. The S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4% to 5,190.40, nearly giving back the gain of 0.5% from the previous session. Stock in Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp. fell 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively, though Macquarie Group Ltd. fought to hang onto a fractional advance. Retailer Wesfarmers Ltd. lost 0.7%, falling alongside other stocks in the sector. But mining shares were mixed, with Newcrest Mining Ltd. jumping 6.1%, while BHP Billiton Ltd. slumped 0.4%. Hit hard in Tuesday's session were shares of Transfield Services Ltd. , down 22% after the contractor reduced its yearly profit forecast for a second time this year. Transfield also plans to cut 113 workers.
 Australia stocks fall, with bank shares in the red

  HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japanese stocks retreated early Tuesday as a strengthened yen and caution over U.S. monetary-policy stance led investors to take profits after a sturdy recent rally. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3% after ending the previous session at its highest level in more than five years, while the broader Topix gave up 0.1%. The Nikkei is still up more than 10% so far in May. Several exporters came off as the yen firmed up, with Sony Corp. down 1.4%, Renesas Electronics Corp. off 2.3% and Hino Motors Ltd. 1.4% lower. Softbank Corp. fell 1.3% after the Nikkei newspaper reported it's planning to set a record with a 400 billion yen ($3.91 billion) retail bond issuance. On the upside, Toshiba Corp. gained 0.6% on another Nikkei report it plans to sell a semiconductor assembly plant in China to a Taiwanese firm. 8:31 p.m. Today
 Japan stocks pull back; exporters, Softbank drop

Freedom of the press a threat to national security?: RTAmerica I RTNews May 20, 2013.

Battle in Syria Pulls Hezbollah Further Into Assad's War: The New York Times Global Update May 20, 2013.

May 20, 2013
Compiled 20:45 GMT


Global Update


Battle in Syria Pulls Hezbollah Further Into Assad's War

Fighting in the strategic city of Qusayr brought rising casualties for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as it joined its biggest battle yet in support of Syria's president.

Iraq Killings Raise Fears of Renewed Sectarian Conflict

A series of explosions and gunfire assaults that left scores of people dead deepened concerns that sectarian tensions could lead to widespread fighting.

U.S. Takes First Steps to Fix Security Flaws at Embassies

The State Department is racing to fulfill recommendations on diplomatic security, but some Republicans have questioned its ability to carry out the changes.

Video: Yahoo Acquiring Tumblr: What It Means

The Times's Jenna Wortham on the reaction to Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr and what it means for users.

Op-Ed Contributor

China's Entrenched Gender Gap

Despite widespread reports to the contrary, women are losing ground in the competition for urban jobs.

Killing of Pakistani Politician Shakes New Voting Round

A day after the killing of a prominent opposition party figure, turnout in a wealthy district of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, was minimal.

Musharraf Granted Bail in Bhutto Assassination Case

Pervez Musharraf, the former leader of Pakistan, won a court victory amid speculation that the military is trying to free him or return him to exile.

Former Bank Executive in China Faces Bribe Accusations

The Communist Party has referred the case for a criminal investigation as it continues a drive to combat corruption.

U.S. and European Union Set to Negotiate Settlements in Chinese Solar Panel Cases

The plan that is starting to take shape would essentially carve up the global solar panel market into a series of regional markets.
Bits Blog

Tumblr Founder Says Site to Stay 'Independent' Effort

A day after Yahoo's board approved a deal to acquire Tumblr, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's chief, and David Karp, Tumblr's founder, reassured users that Tumblr would operate as it did before.

Deborah Turness Named President of NBC News

Ms. Turness, a British news executive, will face the same challenges as her counterparts at ABC and CBS as television viewers spend more time online.

Tech Industry Pushes to Amend Immigration Bill

Executives from Silicon Valley say that the Senate immigration bill imposes too much regulatory control over a company's hiring of temporary foreign worker or laying off an American worker.
Bits Blog

Cisco: Big Data Is the Network, Too

The head of Cisco says that the computer business and networking are collapsing into each other, as sensors and a bigger Internet deliver more information to analyze. The implication is a lot of expensive acquisitions.

3 Foxconn Employees Are Said to Have Committed Suicide

The company said there was no indication that the deaths, which occurred away from its factories, were work-related.

Bowlers, Not Batters, Lead Hyderabad to Playoffs

Hyderabad did not have a batsman among the top 10 run scorers in the Indian Premier League, but three of its bowlers were among the leading wicket-takers.

Toulon Holds on Under Siege to Claim Cup

Clermont Auvergne lost the final of the Heineken European Cup 16-15 on Saturday to another French club, Toulon.

Italian Team Seeks Change in America's Cup Wind Limits After Sailor's Death

After the death of a British sailor in a training accident, Luna Rossa Challenge said it would consider not participating in the America's Cup if wind limits for the race were not lowered.

Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust

Parts of the vast High Plains Aquifer, once a prodigious source of water, are now so low that crops can't be watered and bridges span arid stream beds.

Larger Union That Enforces Immigration Opposes Bill

A council representing 12,000 officers who issue documents will join a council representing 7,700 deportation agents in fighting a Senate proposal.

Powerful Storms Strike 4 U.S. States

A massive storm front hammered parts of the United States on Sunday with fist-size hail, blinding rain and tornadoes.
Op-Ed Columnist

How to Legalize Pot

Can you avoid black markets, drugged drivers and salmonella?
Op-Ed Contributor

Celebrating Inequality

A super-class thrives as ordinary dreams die.

MarketWatch I Wall Street at Close Report May 20, 2013: U.S. stocks drop, retreating from all-time highs

By Wallace Witkowski and Polya Lesova, MarketWatch 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks finished lower on Monday after comments from Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans knocked them from new all-time highs set earlier in the day. 

The S&P 500 index SPX -0.07%  finished down 1.18 points, or 0.1%, at 1,666.29, after touching a new high of 1,672.84 during the session. 

Energy posted the largest gains of the index’s 10 major industry groups with consumer staples being the biggest laggard. 

The index traded as low as 1,663.52 in the afternoon after Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said in Chicago that the central bank’s policy stance is appropriate and that the improving economy still faces headwinds. Evans is a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year. 

While defensive stocks have been dominating the rally for most of the year, there’s been new life in cyclical stocks recently, propelling the market into the “free skies” of record highs. 

“Energy’s been a laggard, but what you’ve seen in May is a shift into cyclicals driving the market higher,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. 

The energy sector rose 1.3% Monday, with the next highest gaining sector being industrials, which was up 0.3%. 

Energy is the third best-performing sector in May, behind financials and industrials. Year-to-date, health-care stocks are still the best performers with a 22% gain. Then there’s financials with a nearly 22% gain and consumer discretionary, up 21%. 

5 charts for yield-seeking investors

There are a few ways to beat Uncle Sam’s offer of less than 2% interest. MarketWatch's Laura Mandaro asked money managers and strategists where they go to hunt for yield. (Photo: 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.12%  declined 19.12 points, or 0.1%, to close at 15,335.28, with only 11 of its 30 components finishing in positive territory. Intraday, the index touched an all-time high of 15,391.84 and was down as low as 15,314.15. 

Merck & Co. MRK -1.70%  was the worst performer on the Dow, with a loss of 1.7% Monday.
General Electric Co. GE +0.47% shares finished 0.5% higher after GE Capital Corp. said it would pay its parent company $6.5 billion in dividends and another $4.5 billion in special dividends in 2013. 

The Nasdaq Composite index COMP -0.07%  shed 2.53 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 3,496.43. The index touched an intraday low of 3,488.13 and an intraday high of 3,509.41. 

More stocks finished higher on the day than declined, however. Advancers outnumbered decliners by about 17 to 13 on the New York Stock Exchange, and by about 13 to 11 on the Nasdaq. 

Composite volume topped 3.2 billion for NYSE-listed shares and 1.7 billion for Nasdaq-listed shares by 4 p.m. Eastern. 

Even small-cap stocks got in on the rallying action with the Russell 2000 RUT +0.17%  index topping 1,000 for the first time ever. The index finished up 1.7 points, or 0.2%, at 997.98, for a new record close.

Bloomberg News Enlarge Image
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
In deal news, Yahoo Inc. YHOO +0.41%  said it would buy social-media site Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Yahoo shares gained 0.2%. 

Actavis Inc. ACT +1.31%  said it has entered into an all-stock deal worth $8.5 billion to buy Warner Chilcott PLC WCRX -1.58%  to create a global specialty pharmaceutical group. Shares of Actavis rose 1.3% and those of Warner Chilcott climbed 2%. 

Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, who isn’t a voting member of the FOMC, said the Fed can only slow the pace of its mortgage-backed securities, as a sudden stop would be “too violent” for the market. 

On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to testify before the Joint Economic Committee about the central bank’s economic outlook, and the FOMC will release minutes from its most recent policy meeting. 

“This big question is precisely when we’ll see the market react to the imminent tighter monetary conditions,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market strategist at GFT Markets. 

“The longer the rally continues arguably, the bigger the reversion we face, but if the economic backdrop is robust enough, then perhaps the resulting pain will be short-lived,” Razaqzada said in emailed comments. 

Wall Street advanced to a fourth weekly gain last week. The S&P 500 Index rose 2.1% last week to close at a record of 1,667.47 Friday, its 16th record close this year. Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.6% on the week to 15,354.40, its 21st record of the year. 

Wallace Witkowski is a MarketWatch news editor in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @wmwitkowski. Polya Lesova is MarketWatch's New York deputy bureau chief. Follow her on Twitter @PolyaLesova.

Tumblr Deal Was a Private Party, With Few Bankers: DealBook P.M. Edition May 20, 2013.

Monday, May 20, 2013
Tumblr Deal Was a Private Party, With Few Bankers Invited
Tumblr Deal Was a Private Party, With Few Bankers Invited Despite the fact that the deal for Tumblr was one of Yahoo's biggest acquisitions, the negotiations were conducted largely through company principals, with the assistance of only one investment bank, according to a person briefed on the matter.
A Banner Year for Tech Deal-Making The value of deals in the sector announced in the United States so far this year has reached $51.4 billion, according to data from Standard & Poor's Capital IQ. That's nearly triple the amount in the period a year earlier.
For the latest updates, go to »
White Collar Watch: The Case for Not Cooperating With Prosecutors Peter J. Henning says that resisting the government during an investigation can be difficult for companies, but there can be good strategic reasons for making prosecutors work harder to build a case.
Royalty Pharma Raises Bid for a Resistant Elan Royalty Pharma sweetened its offer on Monday for Elan, the Irish drug company, on the same day that Elan announced two acquisitions, a spinoff, a share buyback and an $800 million bond issue as it sought to fend off the takeover attempt.
China Insider: In China, Weighing Economic and Political Freedoms Bill Bishop says that China's leadership may be ready to discuss reforms in October. Yet any policy changes may satisfy calls for deeper economic reforms but disappoint hopes for broader political freedom, the author writes.
Goldman Sachs to Exit Chinese Bank With $1.1 Billion Stake Sale The Wall Street bank is selling its remaining shares in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, signaling the end of a highly profitable investment it made in 2006.
Former Senator to Run Wall St. Lobby Group The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association announced that Judd A. Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire, would become the group's chief executive.
Actavis to Buy Warner Chilcott in All-Stock Deal Actavis, a maker of generic drugs, agreed to buy the specialty pharmaceutical company Warner Chilcott for about $5 billion in stock after talks to sell itself to Valeant fell apart last month.
Morgan Stanley Sells Indian Wealth Unit Morgan Stanley has agreed to sell its Indian wealth management unit to the British bank Standard Chartered for an undisclosed amount.
R.B.S. Appoints New Chairman for Asia The Royal Bank of Scotland said on Monday that Donald Workman would succeed John McCormick as the executive chairman of its Asia unit, in the latest high-level management change at the bank.
Economic Reports Data on Wednesday will include sales of existing homes for April.
Corporate Earnings Companies scheduled to release quarterly results on Tuesday include Vodaphone, Home Depot and Best Buy.
In the United States JPMorgan Chase shareholders vote on whether to split chairman and chief executive positions; Clearwire shareholders are to vote on a takeover by Sprint; Microsoft unveils its new Xbox game console; and Apple's chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, is to testify before Congress about offshore taxes.
Overseas James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, speaks about monetary policy in Frankfurt.

CMI Gold and Silver Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York Monday, May 20, 2013.

Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York
Monday, May 20, 2013

Updated 5/20/2013 Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
GOLD $1,386.55 +$19.25 $1,436.35 $1,397.30 $1,592.10
SILVER $22.69 +$0.24 $23.77 $23.13 $28.70
PLATINUM $1,484.80 +$13.20 $1,491.80 $1,426.80 $1,462.10
PALLADIUM $753.60 +$10.00 $721.30 $679.10 $608.50

The Conscience of a Liberal - Macro Machismo - by paul Krugman: The New York Times Opinion Today May 20, 2013.


May 20, 2013

Opinion Today

Opinionator | The Great Divide

The 1 Percent Are Only Half the Problem

The other half of the inequality story, the skills gap, should also command our attention.
Op-Ed Contributor

Celebrating Inequality

A super-class thrives as ordinary dreams die.
Opinionator | The Stone

The Persistence of the 'Lolita Syndrome'

From Simone de Beauvoir to Jimmy Savile, on the trail of the intellectual origins of the "culture of abuse."
Opinionator | Anxiety


What had become of the stuff that flowed through his veins? Short fiction by Blake Butler.
Op-Ed Contributor

The Day the Music Died in Mali

Can Mali, or any country, survive if militants ban all music?
What Guilt Does the U.S. Bear in Guatemala?
Room for Debate

What Guilt Does the U.S. Bear in Guatemala?

Guatemala's dictator in the 1980s has been convicted of genocide. But is the U.S. responsible for supporting him?
The Battles of Vicksburg
Opinionator | Disunion

The Battles of Vicksburg

Before Grant laid his famous siege, he undertook two disastrous assaults on the bluff city.
Are Totalitarianisms Like Snowflakes?

Are Totalitarianisms Like Snowflakes?

A fierce debate has erupted in Russia over whether Nazism and Communism are comparable.


Education, Vision and the Mayor's Race

The candidates need to explain how New York City schools will get better after the Bloomberg era.

Derivatives Reform on the Ropes

Is real change merely difficult, or impossible?

Eavesdropping on Internet Communications

New F.B.I. rules will have to strike the right balance between privacy and security and the government's need to monitor criminal activity.

The Opinion Pages

Read the full opinion report, including editorials, columns, op-eds and Opinionator. Go to the Section »
The Conscience of a Liberal

Macro Machismo

Seriousness, not sadism.
Weekend Gun Report: May 17-19, 2013
Joe Nocera's Blog

Weekend Gun Report: May 17-19, 2013

A weekend in the life of armed America.
Who's Escaping Climate Change 'Mire and Muck'?
Dot Earth Blog

Who's Escaping Climate Change 'Mire and Muck'?

A radio show tries to find a route around conventional thinking on global warming.