Jun 27, 2013
Gold rush as prices drop in Laos, Stoferle sees negative interest rates supporting gold, India's central bank moves to deter rural gold buying: GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH; June 27, 2013.
Submitted by cpowell on 11:25AM ET Thursday, June 27, 2013. Section: Daily Dispatches From the Vientiane Times, Laos
Gold rush as prices drop in Laos
via Asia News Network and Yahoo News
Thursday, June 27, 2013
VIENTIANE, Laos -- The recent drop in gold prices on the Lao market has brought buyers out in droves to purchase gold jewellery while it remains cheap.
According to gold shops in Vientiane, sale prices yesterday were at 5,060,000 kip (US$655) per baht-weight for gold jewellery -- down about 500,000 kip per baht-weight on previous months.
Buying prices yesterday closed at 4,812,500 kip per baht-weight.
On world markets, gold prices in New York fell by 6.9 per cent or US$87.80 to US$1,286.20 per ounce on June 20.
Meanwhile on the Hong Kong exchange, prices fell to US$1,290.20 per ounce from US$1,336.80 per ounce on June 21.
According to gold traders, large numbers of buyers have visited gold shops in Vientiane to purchase gold jewellery and bars as an investment.
Some shops at the Talatsao Mall were stripped bare of all of their wares as a result of the gold rush.
Stoferle sees negative interest rates supporting gold
Submitted by cpowell on 11:18AM ET Thursday, June 27, 2013. Section: Daily Dispatches2:18p ET Thursday, June 27, 2013
The new analysis of the gold market by Ronald-Peter Stoferle, managing director of the Incrementum AG investment house in Lichtenstein and adviser to Erste Group in Vienna, concludes that despite the recent smashing of the gold price, "Due to the high levels of debt, nominal interest rates must remain near zero and real interest rates negative, providing a solid foundation for future gold price increases."
Stoferel's analysis is posted in PDF format at Incrementum's Internet site here:
India's central bank moves to deter rural gold buying
Submitted by cpowell on 11:05AM ET Thursday, June 27, 2013. Section: Daily DispatchesBy Siddesh Mayenkar
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
MUMBAI -- India's central bank told rural regional banks on Tuesday they could no longer provide loans against gold jewellery and coins weighing over 50 grams -- the latest move to discourage gold buying as the government seeks to reduce a record current account deficit.
Gold imports into India, the world's biggest gold buyer, hit a record 162 tonnes in May as global prices tumbled and buyers stocked up. Rural communities are particularly hungry for gold as an investment, given a lack of banking facilities outside towns.
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Stocks Close Firmly Positive For Third Consecutive Session: Wall Street at Close report by RTTNews; June 27, 2013.
6/27/2013After moving mostly higher over the course of the two previous sessions, stocks saw some further upside during trading on Thursday. With the gains, the markets continued to recover from the sell-off seen following last week's monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.
The major averages moved roughly sideways going into the close, hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow ended the day up 114.35 points or 0.8 percent at 15,024.49, the Nasdaq climbed 25.64 points or 0.8 percent to 3,401.86 and the S&P 500 advanced 9.94 points or 0.6 percent to 1,613.20.
The markets benefited from a positive reaction to the latest batch of U.S. economic data, which was perceived as showing upbeat signs for the economy but not at a strong enough level to raise concerns about the Fed's stimulus program.
The Labor Department released a report before the start of trading showing a modest decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 22nd, with claims falling roughly in line with estimates.
Separately, the Commerce Department said personal income rose by 0.5 percent in May after edging up by 0.1 percent in April. The report also said personal spending rebounded by 0.3 percent in May following a 0.3 percent drop in the previous month
"The latest set of U.S. personal income and spending figures are broadly neutral for QE3 tapering," said Paul Dales, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that pending home sales surged up by much more than expected in May, reaching their highest level in over six years.
A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.
Buying interest was also generated by remarks from Federal Reserve officials attempting to offset the recent worries about an imminent tightening of monetary policy.
New York Fed President William Dudley suggested that market concerns about the central bank scaling back its stimulus program have been overdone.
Dudley, a voting member of the Fed's monetary policy committee, stressed that the timeline for tapering asset purchases will be based on the economic outlook rather than calendar dates.
The New York Fed chief also argued that reducing the pace of asset purchases would not represent a withdrawal of stimulus and predicted that an increase in interest rates remains a long way off.
With the pending home sales data generating considerable buying interest, housing stocks showed a strong move to the upside on the day. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index surged up by 2.7 percent, climbing further off Monday's five-month closing low.
Radian (RDN) and Ryland (RYL) turned in two of the housing sector's best performances, jumping by 5.3 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.
Health insurance stocks also saw significant strength on the day, driving the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index up by 2.4 percent. With the gain, the index reached a new record closing high.
After ending the previous session sharply lower, gold stocks also posted strong gains despite a continued decrease by the price of the precious metal. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index advanced by 2.3 percent, bouncing off the four-year closing low set on Wednesday.
Networking, commercial real estate, defense, and airline stocks also turned in strong performances, reflecting broad based buying interest.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day up by 0.5 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside over the course of the session. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 1 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries ended the day notably higher, climbing further off their recent lows. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, ended the day down by 5.6 basis points at 2.483 percent.
Reports on consumer sentiment and Chicago-area business activity may attract some attention on Friday along with additional comments from several Fed officials.
Trading could also be impacted by reaction to earnings news from athletic apparel giant Nike (NKE), which is releasing its quarterly results after the close of today's trading.
U.S. stocks climb as tapering fears tamed: Wall Street at Close Report by MarketWatch; June 27, 2013.
By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks surged for a third session on Thursday on upbeat economic data and reiterations from Federal Reserve officials that monetary policy depends on the economic outlook.
“The interesting thing is we can have some decent economic numbers and the market doesn’t head to the cellar, given the usual worry about the Fed turning the spigot off,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
On track for Wall Street’s first up week in three and first monthly drop this year, stocks retreated in recent weeks after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on May 22 that the central bank could curb its bond purchases as long as the economy continues to improve.
The S&P 500 index SPX +0.62% on Thursday remained about 55 points from its record closing high hit on May 21, and ended up 9.94 points, or 0.6%, at 1,613.20. Financials led the gains and materials was the sole laggard among its 10 major sectors.
“We’re setting up for a little better third quarter, maybe not gang busters, but as long as we don’t lose Uncle Ben’s help, that would argue for some decent market action,” said McCain at Key Private Bank.
Making its 15th triple-digit move for June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.77% rallied 114.35 points, or 0.8%, at 15,024.49.
“Volatility has picked up, but that’s probably a good sign, because it was abnormally suppressed,” said McCain.
Hewlett-Packard Co. HPQ +3.17% and Boeing Co. BA +2.38% paced the gains that included 28 of the blue-chip index’s 30 components.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.76% climbed 25.64 points, or 0.8%, to 3,401.86.
For every stock sliding, nearly six rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where 732 million shares traded. Composite volume exceeded 3.3 billion.
The U.S. dollar DXY -0.01% mostly held steady against other global currencies, but rose against the Japanese yen USDJPY -0.07% .
Bond yields declined for a second day, moderating concerns that an abrupt rise in interest rates might harm the housing market and the economy. The yield on the 10-year note 10_YEAR -2.44% used in determining mortgages and other consumer loans fell to 2.479%. The yield on Monday rose to 2.66%, its highest level since August 2011.
Gold futures GCQ3 -2.43% on Thursday lost $18.20, or 1.5%, to close at $1,211.60 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of oil climbed for a fourth day, with futures for August delivery CLQ3 +1.41% adding $1.55, or 1.6%, to finish at $97.05 a barrel on the Nymex.
Corporate news had ConAgra Foods Inc.’s CAG +5.07% shares rising 5.1% after the food producer reported a quarterly profit that surpassed expectations and hiked its long-term forecast.
Paychex Inc. PAYX -3.66% lost 3.7% after the payrolls processor reported earnings below market expectations.
In a speech Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley played down the possibility that rate hikes are in the cards anytime soon.
Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart also spoke, saying the markets had mistaken Bernanke’s framework for tapering central-bank asset purchases, and reiterated the Fed’s approach would be flexible, and based on economic conditions.
On Wednesday, Fed Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said he believes the economic recovery will remain lackluster for a few more years.
Stock-index futures had added to gains after the Commerce Department reported Thursday that household purchases rose 0.3% in May and wages advanced 0.5%.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the number of Americans filing for state unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 346,000 last week. Also bolstering sentiment, the National Association of Realtors reported pending home sales jumped to a six-year high in May.
Data on Wednesday had gross domestic product expanding at a less-than-estimated 1.8% annualized pace in the first quarter, bolstering the view that the Fed would continue the rate of its quantitative easing until late this year or early in 2014.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.
Stocks closed near their highs Thursday, rallying for a third-straight session, lifted by a string of upbeat economic reports and following several speeches from Federal Reserve policymakers suggesting the central bank has time before it starts reducing its bond-buying.
(Read More: US Economy Could Grow 5% in Late 2014: Fund Manager)
(Read More: US Economy Could Grow 5% in Late 2014: Fund Manager)
|DJIA||Dow Jones Industrial Average||15024.57||114.43||0.77%|
|S&P 500||SandP 500 Index||1613.20||9.94||0.62%|
|NASDAQ||Nasdaq Composite Index||3401.86||25.64||0.76%|
The Dow Jones Industrial Average reclaimed the psychologically-significant 15,000 level, boosted by Boeing and UnitedHealth, logging its first three-day rally since late April. The blue-chip index posted its 15th triple-digit move of the 19 trading sessions in June, the most in a month since October 2011.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed sharply higher.
"If we consolidate during the next couple of sessions, the bulls need to hold the 1,600 line or this inverse head and shoulders formation will be negated," wrote Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended below 17.
All key S&P sectors finished in positive territory, led by financials and consumer discretionary.
Hedge Against Volatility: Doolittle
More volatility ahead? Discussing how to profit in the current market environment, with Abigail Doolittle, Seaport Group, and Kenny Polcari, O'Neil Securities.
Upbeat economic data from China also helped bolster sentiment. Industrial profits unexpectedly rose 15 percent in May year-on-year, defying expectations of a slowdown. Japan's Nikkei rallied nearly 3 percent, logging its biggest percentage gain in 13 sessions, while the Shanghai Composite Index finished flat. "Any China data carries significant weight these days as investors are desperate for signs that the world's second biggest economy is still ticking along," wrote Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG. On the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell 9,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, according to the Labor Department, largely in line with expectations. The four-week moving average for new claims fell 2,750 to 345,750. And consumer spending rebounded 0.3 percent in May, matching estimates, after a revised 0.3 percent decline in the prior month, according to the Commerce Department. "I think it makes the Fed even more confident that they're doing the right thing," said Drew Matus, senior U.S. economist and managing director at UBS. "And if you look at these numbers, they suggest that the second quarter's going to be better than the first quarter." And pending home sales for May soared 6 percent to hit a six-year high, according to the National Association of Realtors. New York Fed president William Dudley said the central bank's asset purchases would be more aggressive than the timeline Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined last week if economic growth and the labor market turn out weaker than expected. Dudley added that the recent market forecasts for an earlier rate gain are "quite out of sync" with the statements and expectations of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee. Dudley is a voting member of the FOMC.
Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell agreed that markets over-reacted to the central bank's statements on tapering. "Market adjustments since May have been larger than would be justified by any reasonable reassessment of the path of policy," Powell said in a speech. "To the extent the market is pricing in an increase in the federal funds rate in 2014, that implies a stronger economic performance than is forecast either by most FOMC participants or by private forecasters." Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart, meanwhile, said the U.S. economy's path will determine the fate of the central bank's bond buying, but it would be appropriate to pull back a bit if the economy performs as expected. "There is no 'predetermined' pace of reductions in the asset purchases, nor is the stopping point fixed," Lockhart said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Kiwanis Club of Marietta. "The pace of purchases, the composition of purchases and the ultimate size of the Fed's balance sheet still depend on how economic conditions evolve." Markets have been fixated on Fed commentary this week, after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the central bank could begin to wind down its $85 billion monthly bond purchases before the end of the year. That sent already rising yields higher and sent stocks on a roller-coaster ride. Meanwhile, Apple hovered around the $400 level. Earlier, Susquehanna cut its price target on the iPhone maker to $440 from $480 with a "neutral" rating. The stock has declined nearly 45 percent from its all-time high in September. Among earnings, ConAgra gained after the food producer posted earnings that edged past expectations, while revenue largely met forecasts. The company also said it is benefiting from its Ralcorp acquisition, but is facing some profit headwinds in its commercial foods segment. KBHome edged higher after the homebuilder posted a narrower-than-expected loss and topped revenue expectations. McCormick posted quarterly results that were in line with estimates, but the spice maker lowered its full-year earnings forecast to reflect weakness in its industrial markets. Nike and Accenture are among notable companies slated to post results after the closing bell. trade. Men's Wearhouse's ousted executive chairman, George Zimmer, fired off an angry open letter to the retailer's board on Wednesday evening. Treasury prices extended their gains as yields tumbled to session lows following the data and after the auction of $29 billion in seven-year notes saw healthy demand. (Read More: Why All the Bond Selling Hysteria May Be Overdone)—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter:
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Kinder Morgan reveals proposed route for expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline; second leak near Hope prompts shutdown: BIV Today's Business News; June 27, 2013.
Mining and Energy
Kinder Morgan reveals proposed route for expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline; second leak near Hope prompts shutdown
Politics and Policy
Economy and Finance
This Week's Issue
Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
|Updated 6/27/2013||Today||Change||Week Ago||Month Ago||Year Ago|
Stronger U.S. Growth Ahead : The New York Times: ALERTS FGC BOLSA - FGC FINANCIAL MARKETS; June 27, 2013.
FGC BOLSA- FGC FIN
Compiled: June 27, 2013 01:37:39 PM
EconomixStronger U.S. Growth Ahead
By PHILLIP SWAGEL
Four forces — immigration reform, expanded energy production, a housing upturn, and clarity about financial regulation — are shaping up to support stronger growth and job creation, an economist writes.
European shares extended gains to close higher on Thursday, following upbeat data from the U.S. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally gained 0.8 percent, ending at 1,158.97 points.
European Market Closes Higher
Mortgage Broker Targeting U.S. Servicemembers Will Pay Record $7.5 Million to Settle Alleged Telemarketing Violations: FTC: FTC Enforcement Actions; June 27, 2013.
Mortgage Broker Targeting U.S. Servicemembers Will Pay Record $7.5 Million to Settle Alleged Telemarketing Violations
Commission Announces Case on 10th Anniversary of National Do Not Call RegistryMortgage Investors Corporation, one of the nation’s leading refinancers of veterans’ home loans, will pay a $7.5 million civil penalty, the largest fine the FTC has ever collected for allegedly violating Do Not Call provisions of the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). This case also represents the first action brought by the FTC to enforce the Mortgage Acts and Practices - Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), which allows the FTC to collect civil penalties for deceptive mortgage ads.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Mortgage Investors Corporation called consumers on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry, failed to remove consumers from its company call list upon demand, and misstated the terms of available loan products during telemarketing calls.
The settlement, announced on the 10-year anniversary of the Registry, marks the 105th enforcement action since staff began enforcing the Do Not Call provisions of the TSR in 2004. Consumers can opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls by registering their telephone numbers at DoNotCall.gov.
The FTC also announced the first settlements resulting from its 2012 joint law enforcement sweep against companies that made millions of illegal pre-recorded calls from “Cardholder Services,” designed to entice consumers to make up-front payments to lower their credit card interest rates.
“Since the advent of Do Not Call, the FTC has been aggressive in cracking down on violators and preventing annoying, illegal calls to consumers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Today’s settlements leave no doubt that DNC enforcement remains a top priority. We’ve also encouraged industry to create a technical solution to unwanted calls through our Robocall Challenge.”
“We created the National Do Not Call List to put consumers in charge and reduce unwanted and intrusive calls from telemarketers,” said Timothy J. Muris, the former FTC Chairman who spearheaded the initiative. “Ten years later, with 221 million American consumers registered, it is one of the agency’s most recognized consumer protection achievements.”
For more information about the history of the Do Not Call Registry and the Commission’s ongoing enforcement of the TSR, see the FTC’s new infographic and Business Center Blog post: 10 Years of National Do Not Call: Looking back and looking ahead.
Consumers can also review the agency’s latest tips on what to do about robocalls.
Mortgage Investors Corporation
According to the complaint, Mortgage Investors’ telemarketers called more than 5.4 million numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry to offer home loan refinancing services to current and former U.S. military consumers in violation of the TSR Rule. The telemarketers also allegedly led servicemembers to believe that low interest, fixed rate mortgages were available at no cost, often quoting rates that they implied would last the duration of their loan. In reality, Mortgage Investors only offered adjustable rate mortgages in which consumers’ payments would increase with rising interest rates and would require consumers to pay closing costs. In addition, Mortgage Investors allegedly misled consumers about their affiliation with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The FTC charged Mortgage Investors with false and misleading acts or practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act and the MAP Rule.
Under the settlement, the defendant is barred from denying consumers’ future requests to be placed on entity specific Do Not Call lists; calling consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry; misrepresenting any terms related to mortgage credit products including rates, closing costs, fees, interest, and savings; and misrepresenting its affiliation with any government entity or organization including the VA.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to refer the complaint to the Department of Justice, and to approve the proposed consent decree, was 4-0. The DOJ filed the complaint and proposed consent decree on behalf of the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on June 25, 2013. The proposed consent decree is subject to court approval. Consent decrees have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
Robocall Sweep Actions
In the five complaints announced in November 2012, the FTC charged each of the companies and their principals with violating the law by misleading consumers about their services; calling phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry; collecting up-front fees for financial services; and making illegal robocalls.
Recent updates to these law enforcement actions are described below.
The Green Savers, LLC: All but one defendant have agreed to a stipulated final order which permanently bans them from making robocalls and from telemarketing; permanently bans them from marketing debt relief products or services; prohibits them from making a range of misrepresentations related to financial services and credit; and prohibits a variety of practices related to the sale of any product or service. It also requires the settling defendants to cooperate in the case against the remaining defendant and in any subsequent, related investigations. Finally, the order imposes a suspended judgment of $3,879,114 and requires defendant Vikash Jawalapersad to turn over all remaining funds in his bank account and the proceeds from the sale of his vehicle.
Key One Solutions: According to the FTC, the four settling defendants in this case opened merchant and bank accounts in their names for processing consumer payments obtained in connection with the sales of goods provided by the remaining defendants. In settling the FTC’s charges, the four defendants agreed to cooperate in the case against the remaining six defendants, and are barred from making
misrepresentations about their affiliation with any other person; the goods and services they offer for sale; and the endorsements or substantiation for any products they intend to sell. Finally, the order imposes a $152,412 judgment against defendant Rares Stelea and a $47,440 judgment against defendant Justin Journay; both judgments are suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay.
Ambrosia Web Design: In addition to the original charges against the defendants, the agency amended its complaint to add charges of credit card laundering in violation of the TSR. According to the complaint, in many cases, the defendants engaged in credit card laundering by processing credit card payments for other telemarketers through the defendants’ own merchant accounts; and arranging for other merchants to process credit card payments for the defendants through those merchants’ accounts.
The Commission votes authorizing the staff to file the amended complaint and stipulated final orders in the other cases were 4-0. The amended complaint in the Ambrosia Web Design case and the consent decrees in the Key One Solutions case were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The consent decree in the Green Savers LLC case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court. Consent decrees have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistantor call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Growth Optimism May Keep Sentiment Upbeat
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday, with sentiment getting a lift from some positive data points released short while ago. A Commerce Department report showed that consumer spending rose in line with expectations, while personal income increased more than expected. Additionally, recent labor statistics showed that jobless claims fell broadly in line with expectations. These should offset growth concerns triggered by some sore recent data. That said, strong data could bring back worries about scaling back of stimulus. Therefore, the markets may now focus on the pending home sales data and a few speeches scheduled for the day.
U.S. stocks rose for a second straight session on Wednesday, as traders expressed optimism that the Fed would not do anything to derail the ‘fits-and-starts’ economic recovery. Easing concerns regarding a liquidity crunch in China also added to the buoyancy. The major averages opened higher but gave back some of their gains throughout the morning. However, the averages advanced steadily thereafter until late trading and then consolidated for the remainder of the session.
The Dow Industrials ended up 149.83 points or 1.02 percent at 14,910 and the S&P 500 Index closed 15.23 points or 0.96 percent higher at 1,603. Additionally, the Nasdaq Composite added 28.34 points or 0.85 percent before closing at 3,376.
Twenty-seven of the thirty Dow components closed higher, with Microsoft (MSFT), Home Depot (HD), Boeing (BA) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) rising notably in the session. On the other hand, Alcoa (AA) slipped 2.15 percent.
Biotechnology, utility, oil, banking, retail and housing stocks were among the best performers of the session, while gold stocks slumped.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department downwardly revised its first quarter GDP growth estimate to 1.8 percent from the preliminary estimate of 2.4 percent. Economists had expected no revision to the preliminary numbers. The revision reflected downward adjustments to consumer spending on services and commercial construction. Meanwhile, net export component was upwardly revised.
The 14,759 level offered strong support for the Dow Industrials on Wednesday. The index bounced off the level and broke through a resistance around 14,836 and settled shy of another resistance around 14,966. If sentiment continues to be positive, the index may attempt to re-break the level. Outside of the 14,966 level, the index may face resistance around its 50-day MA (currently at 15,026), 21-day MA (currently at 15,073) and the 15,114 and 15,179 levels. The index has supports around 14,759, 14,836 and its 100-day MA of 14,672.
Currency, Commodity Markets
Crude oil futures are rising $0.45 to $95.95 a barrel after moving up $0.18 to $95.50 a barrel on Wednesday.
The previous session’s climb came amid the increase in optimism over the monetary policy outlook and the release of the weekly oil inventory report, which showed that crude oil stockpiles were unchanged from the previous week in the week ended June 21st. Inventories were above the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year.
Gasoline stockpiles rose by 3.7 million barrels and were well above the upper limit. Additionally, distillate inventories climbed by 1.6 million barrels and yet remained in the lower half of the average range. Refinery capacity utilization averaged 88.9 percent over the four weeks ended June 21st compared to 87.9 percent over the four weeks ended June 14th.
Gold futures, which plunged $45.30 to $1,229.80 an ounce in the previous session, are currently adding $4.60 to $1,234.40 an ounce.
Among currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.08 yen compared to the 97.73 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.3036 compared to yesterday’s $1.3012.
The major Asian markets advanced yet again, as stimulus withdrawal and Chinese liquidity fears subsided. Meanwhile, the Chinese market bucked the uptrend, with the Shanghai Composite Index slipping by 0.08 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 average opened higher and advanced further after early trading. After moving up until late trading, the index moved roughly sideways, closing up 379.54 points or 2.96 percent at 13,214. A majority of stocks advanced in the session, with real estate stocks leading the pack.
Sumitomo Realty, Mitsui Fudosan, Mitsubishi Estate, Tokyo Tatemono and Tokyu Land were among the biggest gainers of the session. Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma surged up 11.41 percent and was the top gainer among the index components. On the other hand, Sharp fell over 4 percent.
Australia’s All Ordinaries opened little changed but rose steadily until the mid-session. Thereafter, the index went about a consolidation move before closing up 77 points or 1.64 percent at 4,785. The market witnessed broad based strength, with consumer staple, energy, financial, healthcare and utility stocks seeing notable strength.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 20,440, up 101.53 points or 0.50 percent.
On the economic front, a report released by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that its all industry activity index rose 0.4 percent month-over-month in April. The increase was in line with expectations.
The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reported that the combined profit of major industrial firms in China climbed 15.5 percent year-over-year, faster than the 9.3 percent increase expected by economists.
The South Korean government lifted its GDP growth estimate for 2013, raising it to 2.7 percent from 2.3 percent, premising the optimism on incremental government spending and accommodative monetary policy. The 2014 growth is estimated at 4 percent. The government pitches 2013 inflation at 1.7 percent.
Separately, a report released by the Bank of Korea showed that the current account surplus of the nation came in at $8.64 billion for May, marking a record high.
After trading mixed amid volatility for much of the morning session, the major European markets have turned uniformly higher following the release of economic data on jobless claims and personal spending across the Atlantic.
On the economic front, the Federal Statistical Office reported that the unemployment rate in Germany fell to 5.3 percent in May from 5.4 percent in April. The number of unemployed individuals edged down 0.4 percent month-over-month to 2.27 million. The number was down 2.2 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of employed individuals remained unchanged from the previous month and up 0.8 percent year-over-year at 40.21 million.
A separate report from the statistical agency showed that German import prices fell 2.9 percent year-over-year in May following a 3.2 percent drop in April. Economists estimated a 2.6 percent decline for the month. On a monthly basis, imports fell 0.4 percent. At the same time, export prices were down 0.5 percent annually and were 0.3 percent lower than in the month-ago period.
At the same time, a Federal Labor Agency report showed that the number of unemployed persons fell by 12,000 month-over-month in June compared to expectations for a drop of 8,000. The jobless rate remained at 6.8 percent, although coming in below the 6.9 percent rate expected by economists.
Revised estimates released by the U.K. Office for National Statistics showed that the sequential first quarter growth was left unrevised at 0.3 percent.
Confidence among French consumers fell to a new record-low in June as recession and rising unemployment stifled households’ expectations about the general economic conditions. The synthetic index that measures consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to 78 in June from 79 in May, marking a record low level. Economists had expected an increase in the index to 81.
U.S. Economic Reports
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits showed a modest decrease in the week ended June 22nd, the Labor Department revealed in a report, with claims falling roughly in line with estimates.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 346,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 355,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to fall to 345,000 from the 354,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Personal income in the U.S. rose by more than expected in the month of May, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, with the report also showing an increase in personal spending that matched economist estimates.
The report said personal income rose by 0.5 percent in May after edging up by 0.1 percent in April. Economists had been expecting income to increase by about 0.2 percent. Additionally, the Commerce Department said personal spending rebounded by 0.3 percent in May following a 0.3 percent drop in the previous month. The increase came in line with expectations.
The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its pending home sales index for May at 10 am ET. Economists expect the index to have risen 1 percent for May following a 0.3 percent increase in April.
The pending home sales index rose by a less than expected 0.3 percent month-over-month in April. Nevertheless, the increase marked the second straight month of gains and lifted the index to its highest levels in 3 years. Pending home sales rose in the Northeast and the Midwest but declined in the South and the West.
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley is scheduled to give a briefing on the job market for college graduates and the economy in New York at 10 am ET. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell will speak on monetary policy to the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington at 10:30 am ET. Additionally, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled to speak on the economic outlook to the Kiwanis Club Marietta, Georgia at 12:30 pm ET.
The Kansas City Federal Reserve is due to release the results of its regional manufacturing survey at 11 am ET. Economists expect the manufacturing index based on the survey to improve to 4 in June from 2 in May.
Stocks in Focus
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported first quarter earnings of 93 cents per share, up 4.5 percent year-over-year. Net sales climbed 17.8 percent to $2.612 billion, ahead of estimates. The company expects second quarter earnings of $1.11 to $1.16 per share and full year earnings of $4.48 to $5.01 per share. The second quarter guidance was in line, while the full year guidance was slightly soft.
H.B. Fuller (FUL) reported second quarter adjusted earnings of 67 cents per share on revenues of $519 million, down 15 percent year-over-year. The company maintained its 2013 earnings guidance of $2.55-$2.65 per share. The results were below estimates, while the guidance surrounded the consensus estimate.
ConAgra Foods (CAG) swung to a profit in its fourth quarter. Total sales improved 33.7 percent. The company forecast to grow comparable earnings per share by at least 10 percent per year from fiscal 2015-2017.
Progress Software (PRGS) reported second quarter non-GAAP earnings of 27 cents per share, flat with last year. Revenue from continuing operations rose 12 percent year-over-year to $81.7 million. The results exceeded estimates. For the third quarter, the company expects revenue growth of 2-4 percent.
Paychex (PAYX) reported fourth quarter earnings of 34 cents per share, flat with last year. Total service revenues rose 6 percent to $575.3 million. The results were below estimates. The company also said it expects total service revenue growth of 5-6 percent and net income growth of 8-9 percent for the full year ending May 31st, 2014.
Herman Miller (MLHR) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 43 cents per share, up 53.6 percent year-over-year. Net sales rose 9.3 percent to $460 million. The results were better than expected. For the first quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings of 36-41 cents per share on net sales of $455 million to $475 million. The earnings guidance trailed expectations, while the revenue guidance surrounded the consensus estimate.
DISH Network (DISH) said it is withdrawing its tender offer to buy all outstanding shares of Class A common stock of Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) for $4.40 per share.
Applied Micro Circuits (AMCC) announced that its CFO Robert Gargus will retire and will be replaced by Shiva Natarajan, who is currently serving as chief accounting officer and controller, on an interim basis.
Standard & Poor’s said Evercore Partners (EVR) would replace Lufkin Industries (LUFK) in the S&P SmallCap 600 Index after the close of trading on July 1st, 2013.
Precision Castparts (PCP) announced an agreement to buy aerospace fluid fittings maker Permaswage SAS for $600 million in cash. The company expects the deal to be completed by the second quarter of 2014 and also expects the deal to be immediately accretive to earnings.
Accenture (ACN) and Nike (NKE) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.
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