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Sep 12, 2013

VOA NEWS | Video September 12, 2013: US Forces Poised to Strike if Syria Diplomacy Fails

Aljazeera News September 12, 2013: Syria chemical weapons talks start in Geneva


The New York Times | MY ALERTS


Compiled: September 12, 2013 05:38:44 PM

Movie Review | 'Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve '

An All-Too-Human Federal Reserve
In the documentary “Money for Nothing,” Federal Reserve officials are shown as having great influence, if not great insights.

NYT | Global Update September 12, 2013: Syria Takes Steps to Join Weapons Treaty as U.S.-Russian Talks Begin

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
September 12, 2013
Compiled 20:45 GMT

Global Update


Syria Takes Steps to Join Weapons Treaty as U.S.-Russian Talks Begin

Secretary of State John Kerry said his team would be looking for important signs that Syria and Russia were serious about securing and disposing of Syria's chemical weapons.

As Obama Pauses Action, Putin Takes Center Stage

President Vladimir V. Putin has, at least for now, made Russia indispensable in containing the conflict in Syria.

European Lawmakers Expand Power of Central Bank

The European Parliament agreed to put about 130 of the euro zone's largest banks under the scrutiny of the European Central Bank.

Slide Show: Afghan Soldiers Struggle in the Embattled District of Sangin

Although is does not reflect the complete security situation across Afghanistan, Sangin offers a troubling portrait of the fight in a place where the Americans have gone.

Op-Ed Contributor

A Plea for Caution From Russia

It is dangerous for any country, including America, to see itself as exceptional, whatever its motivation.

A Rare Public View of Obama's Pivots on Policy in Syria Confrontation

President Obama's handling of his confrontation with Syria has been an unusual instance of a commander in chief seemingly thinking out loud and changing his mind on the fly.

U.N. Leader Admits Failure to Halt Syrian Atrocities

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, spoke as diplomatic energy was intensifying over a Russian proposal to secure Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

U.S. Backing of Russian Plan Leaves a Wary Israel Focusing on Self-Reliance

Israelis fear that Syria will stall on a plan to destroy its chemical weapons and that foes like Iran will get the wrong message about America's commitment in the Middle East.

Dell Shareholders Approve $24.9 Billion Buyout

Dell shareholders voted to approve the computer company's $24.9 billion sale to its founder, ending a months-long slog that included fierce opposition from some investors.

Hilton Worldwide Files for an I.P.O.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the hotel company owned by the Blackstone Group, is seeking to raise at least $1.25 billion in what will be one of the most closely watched initial public offerings of the year.

Britain Prepares I.P.O. for Postal Service

The British government has confirmed plans to sell a majority stake in Royal Mail, the country's postal service, over the coming weeks in Britain's largest privatization since the 1990s.
Bits Blog

Senator Asks Cellphone Carriers: What Exactly Do You Share With Government?

Senator Edward J. Markey sent a letter to carriers asking what kind of information law enforcement officials seek from them, including location data and the content of text messages.

Facebook Privacy Change Is Subject of F.T.C. Inquiry

After a storm of negative comments from users, the Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into Facebook's latest privacy policies.

Ex-Ad Chief Is Named Next Leader at Pandora

Brian P. McAndrews, a technology and digital advertising executive, succeeds Joseph J. Kennedy, who announced his resignation in March.

From Scenic Alpine Golf Course to 5th Women's Major

The Evian Championship took a series of steps, including a renovation of the course, to attain L.G.P.A major championship status.

Star Amateur Golfer Faces the Pro Question Again

Lydia Ko's winning ways leave many wondering when the 16-year-old New Zealander will shift her status.

Argentina Should Loom Large at 2014 World Cup

The team is different from the one that got bounced out of the 2010 tournament in South Africa, and it no longer depends mostly on Lionel Messi, its biggest star.

Missouri Republicans Fail to Block Vetoes on 2 Bills

State lawmakers lacked the votes to overturn the governor's vetoes of a sweeping tax cut and a bill preventing enforcement of federal gun laws.

Recall Vote on Guns Exposes Rift in Colorado's Blue Veneer

Democrats control the state legislature and the governor's mansion, but a recall campaign exposed the party to popular anger as voters ousted two state senators who supported gun laws.

Chicago City Council Reluctantly Ends Gun Registry

The vote by lawmakers to comply with a new state law allowing concealed weapons in public cedes control of licensing to the State Police.

Diplomacy as Deterrent

Congress and President Obama should be careful about drawing new red lines in the Syria crisis.
Op-Ed Columnist

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

The anti-war-in-Syria crowd finds itself in the odd company of the pro-war-on-Obama crowd.

An Anchorless World

"The ogre does what ogres can," wrote W.H. Auden.Yet no ogre, least of all in Syria, trembles today after Obama's wavering.

DealBook P.M. Edition September 12, 2013: Deal Professor: Lessons From the Dell Deal.

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Deal Professor: Lessons From the Dell Deal The tortuous Dell buyout is essentially over. Now, it's time to step back, be introspective and draw some lessons, says Steven M. Davidoff.
Vodafone Says Shareholders Clear Kabel Deutschland Bid Vodafone says it has received sufficient investor support to win approval of its 7.7 billion euros ($10.2 billion) takeover of the German cable operator Kabel Deutschland.
Josef Ackermann was once the chief executive of Deutsche Bank and chairman of Zurich Insurance Group.
Ackermann to Resign From Board of Siemens Josef Ackermann, the former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, plans to resign as a deputy chairman of Siemens, a decision that comes shortly after he abruptly resigned as chairman of Zurich Insurance Group last month.
Hilton Is Ready to Go Public, but Other Buyouts Are Still Waiting Some of the biggest of companies of the buyout era, including First Data and Clear Channel Communications, remain in the hands of their private equity buyers, which are reshaping the companies with varying degrees of success.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings could be valued at about $30 billion once it goes public.
Hilton Worldwide Files for an I.P.O. Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the hotel company owned by the Blackstone Group, is seeking to raise at least $1.25 billion in what will be one of the most closely watched initial public offerings of the year.
KPN and América Móvil Still in Talks América Móvil, the Latin American telecommunications company, confirmed on Thursday that it remained in talks with the Dutch cellphone company KPN about a potential bid worth $9.6 billion despite its earlier announcement that it was considering dropping its bid.
Morgenthaler Partners Hang Out a Shingle With $175 Million Fund Three partners at the venture capital firm Morgenthaler Ventures are forming the Canvas Venture Fund, a new fund to make early-stage investments in software companies.
Mark Cuban Invests in Start-Up to Connect Companies to M.B.A.'s The billionaire Mark Cuban is investing in a start-up that offers companies consulting services by M.B.A. students and graduates.
Britain Prepares I.P.O. for Postal Service The British government has confirmed plans to sell a majority stake in Royal Mail, the country's postal service, over the coming weeks in Britain's largest privatization since the 1990s.
Economic Reports Data to be released includes the producer price index for August, retail sales for August, and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for September (Friday).
Companies scheduled to release quarterly results include Pier 1 Imports (Friday).
Overseas On Friday, the European Union finance ministers will gather in Vilnius, Lithuania, to discuss a proposal to build a banking union. 

Michael Dell, the founder of the company that bears his name.
Dell Shareholders Approve $24.9 Billion Buyout Dell shareholders voted to approve the computer company's $24.9 billion sale to its founder, ending a months-long slog that included fierce opposition from some investors.

MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report September 12, 2013: U.S. stocks drop; S&P 500 snaps win streak.

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks declined on Thursday, with the S&P 500 snapping its seven-session winning streak, as investors worried about developments related to Syria and Federal Reserve policy moves. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.17% dropped 25.96 points, or 0.2%, to 15,300.64. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM +0.04%  fell 1.9%, making the bank the biggest decliner in the Dow.
Bolstering the blue-chip index, shares of Walt Disney Co. DIS +0.02%  rallied 2.4% after Bloomberg News reported the media conglomerate plans to repurchase between $6 billion and $8 billion in shares in the new year.

Shareholders approve Dell buyout
Paul Vigna and David Benoit looks at the close of the Dell saga, and Jean Eaglesham looks at enforcement at the SEC. 

Halting its longest winning run since July, the S&P 500 SPX -0.34% dropped 5.71 points, or 0.3%, to 1,683.42, with materials and financials posting the biggest losses among its 10 major industry groups.
In the materials sector, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. CLF -5.16%  fell 5.2% after a downgrade from FBR, and Newmont Mining Corp. NEM +1.20%  shed 4.2% alongside falling metals prices. 

Off the S&P 500, Barrick Gold Corp. ABX -0.34%  fell 5.5% as the price of gold tumbled. Gold futures for December delivery GCZ3 -3.15%  slid $33.20, or 2.4%, to $1,330.60 an ounce, while crude-oil futures for October delivery CLV3 +1.11%  added $1.04 to end at $108.60 a barrel. 

Walgreen Co. WAG +5.00%  was the top gainer in the S&P 500, with shares of the drugstore chain rallying 5% after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the stock to conviction buy from buy.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.24%  lost 9.04 points, or 0.2%, to 3,715.97. 

More than 642 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Composite volume surpassed 3 billion shares. 

Investors kept an eye on the conflict in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Thursday for discussions with Russia’s foreign minister on a proposed plan under which Syria will turn over its chemical weapons to the international community. 

Separately, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. needs to give up “its policy of threats” and stop shipping arms to Syrian rebels before his government surrenders its chemical weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read: Putin’s op-ed gets chilly reception on Capitol Hill.
Wall Street’s downside momentum picked up “as news came out that before ‘signing on’ Syria wants the U.S. to stop threatening them and to halt arms shipments to the rebels,” wrote Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., in afternoon commentary. “Oh yes, and we’ll throw in a Mercedes S550 sedan as well,” Spar quipped. 

U.S. stock futures displayed little reaction on Thursday morning as data showed that jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level since April 2006, with the data skewed by computer upgrades in two states. 

First-time claims for unemployment benefits declined by 31,000 to 292,000 in the week ending Sept. 7, but processing glitches involving two states clouded the reading, the Labor Department reported.
On Friday, several U.S. economic reports are due, including retail sales, producer prices and consumer sentiment

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note 10_YEAR -0.17%  fell 1 basis point to 2.908%. Many analysts believe the bond market has priced in reduced stimulus from the Federal Reserve, which could start tapering its asset purchases this month. 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

CNBC | Wall Street at Close Report September 12, 2013: Stocks end lower as recent rally fizzles, S&P snaps 7-day win streak

Stocks closed near their lows Thursday after crawling along the flatline for most of the session in lackluster trading, as investors paused after the recent market run-up and ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting.
The S&P 500 broke its seven-day rally.
Name Price Change %Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 15300.64
-25.96 -0.17%
S&P 500 SandP 500 Index 1683.42
-5.71 -0.34%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 3715.97
-9.04 -0.24%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 25.96 points to finish at 15,300.64, dragged by JPMorgan and DuPont. Still, the blue-chip index is within nearly 2 percent of its record close on Aug. 2 and on track for its second biggest weekly gain of the year.

The SandP 500 erased 5.71 points to end at 1,683.42. And the Nasdaq dipped 9.04 points to close at 3,715.97.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, popped above 14.

Most key SandP sectors closed in the red, pressured by materials and financials, while telecoms finished higher. 
(Read more: Watch Art Cashin:'We're heavily overbought')

"There's not a lot of news out to drive the markets higher or lower—we have the Fed meeting next week and have seen a big run up in the last few days so it's not surprising to see a bit of a pause here," said Joe Bell, senior equities analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research.

"We've had a surprise September rally because people were talking about September historically being a weak month for stocks," noted Bell. "And as we approach all-time highs, [those levels] could act as a natural selling pressure, but we think the bigger picture is that by year end, we'll break above those highs amid lowered expectations on the market."
(Read more: There's no stopping September, at least not yet)

Equities have staged an impressive rally so far in September, with all three major averages up more than 3 percent across the board.

Meanwhile worries over Syria lingered as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held open talks on disarming Syria's chemical weapons programs, but differences emerged at the outset of the expected two-day negotiations.

Investors will also be looking ahead to the Federal Open Market Committee's policy-setting meeting next week, amid expectations that this will be the month when the central bank announces a tapering of its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program.

"It's hard to predict what's going to happen—whether it happens in September or later, the market's already pricing in some sort of tapering," said Bell, pointing to the recent moves in the bond yields.

In Asia, China's benchmark stock index hit a three-month high following a speech by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, Keqiang said the government will push on with economic and financial reforms as it targets steady growth.
Disney zipped higher to lead the Dow gainers after the media conglomerate's CFO Jay Rasulo said the company will buyback $6 billion to $8 billion shares.

Dell said a preliminary vote shows that shareholders have approved a $24.8 billion offer from its founder to buy the company and take it private.

Meanwhile, Pandora surged after the Internet radio company named former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new chief executive officer, replacing Joe Kennedy.

Among earnings, Lululemon Athletica beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines for its most recent quarter, but slumped after the yogawear retailer cut its full-year forecast. The retailer has struggled this year amid a recall of its Luon line of yoga pants over complaints that they were too sheer. And in June, the company announced that its CEO would leave after a replacement was found.
Kroger edged higher after the grocery-store chain posted quarterly results that matched expectations and lifted the lower end of its same-store sales guidance.
(Read more: This is the world's most expensive asset class)
Royal Caribbean rallied after the cruise line operator more than doubled its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share from 12 cents a share. It also named former Ernst & Young CEO William Kimsey as its first lead director.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000, but the data was clouded by a processing glitch. A department analyst said the majority of the decline appeared to be because two states did not process all the claims they received during the week.
Meanwhile, export prices declined 0.5 percent in August, falling for the sixth-straight month.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected export prices to rise 0.1 percent last month.

Treasury prices rose after the government sold $13 billion in 30-year bonds at a high yield of 3.820 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.40 versus a recent average of 2.51.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter:

MoneyShow Investors Daily Alert September 12, 2013: Birinyi Says We're Heading for S&P 2000

No-Nonsense Investing
Jim Jubak on
Invest in Japan with Daiwa, Benjamin Shepherd
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CMI Spot Prices as of Close of Trading in New York September 12, 2013.

  Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated 9/12/2013 Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
GOLD $1,331.45 -$32.90 $1,374.15 $1,336.45 $1,770.60
SILVER $22.18 -$0.98 $23.33 $21.41 $34.80
PLATINUM $1,446.90 -$29.40 $1,484.90 $1,502.80 $1,681.60
PALLADIUM $692.30 -$7.10 $689.00 $740.50 $695.00

Gerald Celente - The Goddard Report - September 12, 2013

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin September 12, 2013.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Thursday, 12 September 2013

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The spotlight was back on US economic data on Thursday with markets ending flat as investors looked ahead to the next policy meeting at the Federal Reserve.

The FTSE 100 finished just 0.55 points higher at 6,588.98. Nevertheless, this was still the third straight day in positive territory for London's benchmark index, which finished at its highest closing level since August 13th when it reached 6,611.94.

Ronnie Chopra, Head of Strategy at Tradenext, said that the key 6,600 level "has been a barrier in recent sessions".

Weighing on sentiment today was the news that factory output in the Eurozone dropped by 1.5% compared to a small increase in June. This was much worse than the 0.3% decline expected by analysts with figures from Germany, Europe's largest economy, showing a 2.3% decline in industrial production.

FOMC in focus after jobless claims

Initial US weekly unemployment claims dropped by 31,000 in the week ended on September 7th to 292,000 - their lowest level since April of 2006. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 323,000. Employment data has been closely watched in recent months after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said back in May that he was looking for a decent recovery in the labour market before beginning the 'tapering' of quantitative easing.

However, markets gave a subdued reaction to the numbers today after the Labor Department said that work carried out on computer systems in two states caused those employment agencies to report fewer applications. Financial Sales Trader Lee Mumford from Spreadex said that the figures "should be taken with a pitch of salt".

Traders seem reluctant to take on too much risk ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting next week, especially after last Friday's worse-than-expected US jobs report which cast doubt over the outlook for monetary policy. Markets are hoping that policymakers might wait until later on in the year before pulling the plug on stimulus, as they await stronger signs of a recovery.

Syria agrees to hand over chemical weapons

Developments in Syria were continuing to catch investors' eyes today as President Bashar al-Assad confirmed that he will agree to Russia’s plan to place chemical weapons under international control. He made the announcement on Russian TV’s Rossiya 24 as US and Russian foreign ministers prepared to meet in Geneva to discuss the proposal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday called on the US not to intervene in Syria, especially if action is not approved by the United Nations first, given that it could lead to more violence and "unleash a new wave of terrorism". US intelligence says that Assad's regime was behind the attacks last month that killed around one and a half thousand people.

In a rare direct appeal in The New York Times, Putin said: "The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation."

FTSE 100: AMEC walks away; Morrisons rises after H1 results

AMEC was a high riser today after saying that it is considering additional cash returns in the fourth quarter after walking away from making a firm offer for FTSE 250 engineering peer Kentz Corporation. The company also said that it continues to see "attractive opportunities to extend its geographic footprint in the growth regions".

Supermarket group Morrisons was on the rise after a broadly in-line set of first-half results. Profits fell 21.8% to £344m while total turnover was flat at £8.9bn. Analysts at Jefferies said it was a "mixed" first half, but an "undemanding valuation and a clear reduction in capes intensity from here onwards point to an improving outlook".

Fashion retailer Next edged higher after it hiked its interim dividend payout after driving up half-year profits by 8.2% despite a fall in sales. The company said it was able to sell more clothes at full price and few clothes in its sale.

Among the fallers was temporary power and temperature control group Aggreko after Deutsche Bank lowered its target for the stock from 2,100p to 1,870p. The bank kept its 'buy' rating but said that it now expects underlying profits to be flat next year.

Industrial group Melrose was also in the red after Citigroup downgraded the stock to 'neutral' on valuation grounds after a strong outperformance so far this year. The bank said: "While we continue the see attractions on a long-term view, driven by a management team, which has strong record of creating value, we believe the near-term catalysts are appropriately captured in today’s share price."

Meanwhile, SABMiller was taken down a peg by Nomura which cut its rating to 'reduce'. The broker said that the exceptional profit growth across the industry since 2005 is "unlikely to be matched".

Silver and gold prices were heading lower today, causing shares of precious metals producers Randgold and Fresnillo to take a hit.

FTSE 250: Dialight and Kentz provide a drag

Delays in the signing of large contracts has forced industrial lighting group Dialight to warn that profits will be flat for the full year, causing shares to drop sharply today.

Kentz was also a heavy faller after AMEC said it would not make a firm offer for the company after its £700m proposal was rejected. Kentz Chief Executive Christian Brown said: “I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our focus on delivering value to our shareholders. Naturally, while we have every confidence in our ability to deliver further value to our shareholders as an independent company, the board fully understands its responsibilities to all our shareholders.”

FTSE 100 - Risers
Amec (AMEC) 1,078.00p +1.89%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 302.50p +1.78%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 343.65p +1.37%
William Hill (WMH) 424.10p +1.22%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 400.80p +1.19%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,736.00p +1.17%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,195.00p +1.06%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 360.40p +0.95%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 857.50p +0.94%
BAE Systems (BA.) 446.70p +0.93%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,496.00p -2.56%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,610.00p -2.48%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 864.00p -2.48%
IMI (IMI) 1,477.00p -1.99%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,194.00p -1.97%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 307.00p -1.82%
Compass Group (CPG) 842.50p -1.35%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 197.20p -1.30%
Pearson (PSON) 1,275.00p -1.24%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 323.40p -1.13%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Home Retail Group (HOME) 172.70p +5.37%
Perform Group (PER) 570.00p +4.11%
Playtech (PTEC) 720.00p +2.49%
Evraz (EVR) 137.10p +1.63%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 138.20p +1.62%
Derwent London (DLN) 2,349.00p +1.56%
Countrywide (CWD) 558.00p +1.45%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 126.50p +1.44%
United Drug (UDG) 339.20p +1.41%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 593.00p +1.37%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dialight (DIA) 1,150.00p -16.36%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 499.00p -9.19%
Bumi (BUMI) 200.10p -6.80%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 44.50p -3.68%
ITE Group (ITE) 279.40p -3.66%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 705.00p -3.29%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 120.90p -3.28%
Pace (PIC) 273.20p -2.91%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,150.00p -2.87%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,330.00p -2.85%

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Stocks mixed on Eurozone, US data
FTSE 100: -0.04%
DAX: -0.11%
CAC 40: -0.39%
FTSE MIB: -0.27%
IBEX 35: 0.55%
Stoxx 600: -0.14%

European equities were mixed as Eurozone industrial production fell and US unemployment claims declined.

Factory output in the 17-nation region dropped 1.5% compared to June’s 0.3% increase, missing the consensus for a 0.2% decline, according to Eurostat.

In Germany, Europe's largest economy, industrial production was down 2.3% in July from June.

The report sparked concerns among traders that the Eurozone was headed for a further slump.

It came as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reaffirmed the monetary authority’s forward guidance on interest rates, saying it expected them to remain "at present or lower levels for an extended period".

The bank left its key rate unchanged at 0.5% last week but Draghi said policymakers had toyed with a possible rate cut, due to concern about money market rates and the uncertain nature of the recovery.

In the US, initial weekly unemployment claims dropped by 31,000 to 292,000 in the week ended September 7th, the lowest level since April of 2006. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 323,000.

However the Labor Department report said the sharp drop was due to technical problems in some states collecting claims data and as well as the Labor Day holiday-shortened week.

The Federal Reserve is turning to such economic indicators to weigh whether the US has recovered enough to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases.

Economists are mixed on whether the Fed will start tapering at its next policy meeting on September 17th to 18th.

Syria agrees to relinquish chemical weapons

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has confirmed that he will agree to Russia’s plan to place chemical weapons under international control.

He made the announcement on Russian TV’s Rossiya 24 as US and Russian foreign ministers prepared to meet in Geneva to discuss the proposal.

The US has said it would consider Russia’s recommendation to have Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international control in exchange for avoiding military action.

President Barack Obama has called for a military strike if diplomacy failed after Assad’s regime allegedly used chemicals weapons against civilians on August 21st.

“The news that Syria is willing to give up its chemical weapons to the international community to be destroyed and that the US is willing to consider this has provided a major boost to the markets,” said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari Research.

“As we can see by the approval ratings in most countries, people do not want another war and this provides an alternative. Obviously, it’s unlikely to be plain sailing from here, with complications arising along the way, but this is an encouraging development from last week.”

Home Retail, EDF

Home Retail jumped after reporting an 11% increase in same-store sales at its Homebase home-improvement business in the 13 weeks ended August 1st.

Électricité de France slumped after Norges Bank launched the sale of a €289m stake in the utility company on Wednesday evening.

Morrison Supermarkets advanced after raising its dividend and saying its restructuring plan was on track as it reported half-year results.

Sanofi plunged after withdrawing a US application for a diabetes drug.

Aggreko fell to lead miners lower after Deutsche Bank cut its 2013 and 2014 earnings per share forecast and reduced the target to 1870p from 2100p, citing risks of competition, contractual problems and pricing pressures.

Other asset classes rise

Brent crude futures increased $0.854 to $112.460 per barrel on the ICE.

The euro edged up 0.03% to the 1.3315 US dollar.

US Market Report
Investors ponder next move
Dow Jones Industrials: 0.02%
Nasdaq Composite: 0.13%
S&P 500: -0.01%

The main US equity benchmarks are now trading little changed following the release of some better, although apparently not entirely reliable, macroeconomic indicators.

Worth pointing out is a bullish call on the market courtesy of Goldman Sach’s Chief Equity strategist, Peter Oppenheimer. He reiterated his ‘bullish’ stance, explaining that stocks will continue to rally driven by company earnings rather than expanding valuations.

Shareholders in PC maker Dell will vote today on whether they approve founder Michael Dell’s $25bn to take the company private.

Pandora Media is rising by 5% after naming its new chief executive officer -Brian McAndrews.

Morgan Stanley has downgraded Netflix to equal weight, from overweight.

Hilton Group has filed to go public in a transaction worth $1.25bn.

Very large, but suspect, drop in US unemployment claims

Initial US weekly unemployment claims dropped by 31,000 in the seven days ended on September 7th, reaching 292,000; that is their lowest level since April of 2006. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 323,000.

However, the figures seem to have been affected by extraordinary circumstances. Two US states reportedly upgraded their computer systems, apparently impacting the data.

However, continuing claims for the week before - which was not impacted by those factors -also dropped sharply, by 73,000, to 2,871,000.

US import prices remained unchanged month-on-month in August, instead of the 0.5% gain expected by markets.

Crude futures rise

Front month West Texas crude futures are now rising by 0.40% to the $108.00/barrel level mark on the NYMEX.

10-year US Treasury yields are down by 4 basis points to 2.88%.

S&P 500 - Risers
Sprint Nextel Corporation (S) $6.81 +4.77%
Walgreen Co. (WAG) $52.80 +4.04%
Kroger Co. (KR) $38.83 +3.08%
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) $30.02 +2.84%
TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) $75.66 +2.53%
Dominion Resources Inc. (D) $60.09 +2.53%
Lennar Corp. Class A (LEN) $35.46 +2.46%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $57.03 +2.20%
PulteGroup Inc. (PHM) $16.95 +2.17%
Nike Inc. (NKE) $68.79 +1.78%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF) $22.75 -3.76%
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) $35.01 -2.94%
Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) $28.64 -2.78%
Corning Inc. (GLW) $14.50 -2.62%
CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF) $193.15 -2.55%
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) $42.24 -2.29%
Crown Castle International (CCI) $71.38 -2.26%
International Paper Co. (IP) $48.30 -2.15%
Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC) $38.00 -1.94%
Halliburton Co. (HAL) $49.22 -1.93%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) $108.99 +1.08%
AT&T Inc. (T) $34.26 +0.85%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $75.56 +0.69%
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $78.71 +0.56%
Boeing Co. (BA) $109.68 +0.42%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $46.70 +0.39%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $74.32 +0.36%
American Express Co. (AXP) $75.44 +0.35%
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $97.79 +0.34%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $124.28 +0.29%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $38.38 -1.03%
Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $47.66 -1.00%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $52.76 -0.94%
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $22.12 -0.67%
Alcoa Inc. (AA) $8.14 -0.67%
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $88.28 -0.63%
General Electric Co. (GE) $23.96 -0.54%
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) $14.58 -0.48%
Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $83.34 -0.47%
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $58.67 -0.27%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) $30.02 +2.84%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $57.03 +2.20%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $81.51 +2.13%
Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $73.79 +1.78%
QUALCOMM Inc. (QCOM) $69.27 +1.73%
Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) $166.16 +1.62%
Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) $56.89 +1.43%
Viacom Inc. Class B (VIAB) $83.18 +1.38%
Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $16.68 +1.15%
KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $60.35 +1.05%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. Ads (GOLD) $71.42 -2.87%
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) $42.24 -2.29%
Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) $16.87 -1.83%
Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN) $19.63 -1.70%
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $304.11 -1.36%
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) $372.07 -1.18%
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) $84.02 -1.15%
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) $90.98 -1.13%
Sba Communications Corp. (SBAC) $77.78 -1.01%
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP) $57.84 -0.91%

Broker Tips
African Minerals: Deutsche Bank cuts target from 550p to 450p and retains a buy recommendation. Citi lowers target from 380p to 320p keeping a buy recommendation.

Aggreko: Deutsche Bank reduces target from 2100p to 1870p, while staying with its buy recommendation.

ARM Holdings: Goldman Sachs raises target from 1400p to 1500p and retains its strong buy recommendation. Numis ups target from 750p to 800p maintaining a reduce rating.

Ashmore Group: Morgan Stanley lowers target from 420p to 410p, while its equal-weight rating remains unchanged.

Aveva: Goldman Sachs increases target from 3600p to 4450p and reiterates a strong buy recommendation.

Barclays: Investec cuts target from 345p to 330p downgrading from buy to add.

Barratt Developments: Citi moves target from 315p to 330p and maintains a neutral rating.

Berendsen: Investec increases target from 828p to 958p, while downgrading from buy to add.

Betfair: Jefferies raises target from 930p to 1175p and keeps a buy recommendation.

Bodycote: Citi takes target from 525p to 665p upgrading to neutral.

Bovis Homes Group: Panmure Gordon shifts target from 801p to 806p and reiterates its hold recommendation.

Blinkx: Goldman Sachs increases target from 152p to 215p and stays with its buy recommendation.

British American Tabacco: Societe Generale cuts target from 3650p to 3550p and maintains its hold recommendation.

Fidessa: Goldman Sachs raises target from 2050p to 2630p, while retaining a neutral rating.

Greene King: JP Morgan downgrades to neutral with a target of 880p.

Imagination Technologies: Goldman Sachs ups target from 310p to 390p and stays with its buy recommendation.

Kier Group: Liberum Capital increases target from 1500p to 1800p and stays with its buy recommendation. Investec raises target from 1500p to 1955p maintaining a buy recommendation. Numis takes target from 1670p to 1950p, but downgrades to add.

Kingfisher: Bank of America moves target from 400p to 450p leaving its neutral rating unchanged. Cantor Fitzgerald raises target from 300p to 400p and retains a hold recommendation. Deutsche Bank takes target from 360p to 400p reiterating a hold recommendation. Societe Generale ups target from 392p to 414p leaving its hold recommendation unaltered.

Marston's: JP Morgan cuts target from 180p to 160p and downgrades to neutral.

Melrose: Citi moves target from 295p to 305p, while downgrading to neutral.

 Micro Rocus: Goldman Sachs shifts target from 770p to 775p, while downgrading from neutral to sell.

Mitchells & Butlers: JP Morgan downgrades to underweight with a target of 410p.

Oxford BioMedica: N+1 Singer shifts target from 4p to 3.60p retaining its buy recommendation.

Oxford Resources: N+1 Singer ups target from 1390p to 1425p maintaining a hold recommendation.

Pace: Goldman Sachs takes target from 330p to 370p and retains a neutral rating.

Playtech: JP Morgan raises target from 800p to 825p keeping its overweight rating.

Premier Foods: Investec ups target from 120p to 160p, but downgrades from buy to hold.

Reed Elsevier: Jefferies takes target from 700p to 884p and reiterates its buy recommendation.

Restaurant Group: JP Morgans ups target from 620p to 665p retaining an overweight rating.

SABMiller: Nomura reduces target from 3300p to 2800p and downgrades from neutral to reduce.

Sage Group: Goldman Sachs takes target from 366p to 410p and reiterates a neutral rating.

Spectris: Citi increases target from 2326p to 2650p and maintains a buy recommendation.

Spirax-Sarco-Engineering: Citi raises target from 2905p to 3040p, while downgrading to hold.

Spirent Communications: Goldman Sachs moves target from 165p to 175p and stays with a neutral rating.

Telecity: Goldman Sachs ups target from 1200p to 1230p keeping a buy recommendation.

Thalassa Holdings: WH Ireland raises target from 185p to 310p and retains a buy recommendation.

TUI Travel: JP Morgan upgrades to overweight with a target of 410p.

Vedanta Resources: Alphavalue shifts target from 1126.20p to 1121.60p, while upgrading from sell to reduce.

WANdisco: Panmure Gordon downgrades from buy to hold with an unchanged target of 1149p.

Wolfson Microelectronics: Goldman Sachs moves target from 145p to 160p, but still recommends selling.

Young & Co's Brewery: JP Morgan ups target from 910p to 980p, while downgrading to neutral.