Shares mixed in thin New Year's Eve trading
2013-12-31 11:49:29 UTC
TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mixed Tuesday in thin pre-holiday trading, with early gains in some markets succumbing to selling pressure as roller-coaster 2013 wound to a close.
The French and British markets, which will trade for a half day on Tuesday, started on a positive note. The CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent to 4,284.83 and the FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent to 6,738.10.
Germany's DAX was closed for the holiday.
Futures suggested potentially modest New Year's Eve gains on Wall Street. Dow Jones futures rose 0.04 percent while S&P 500 futures gained 0.03 percent.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent to close at 23,...
Oil dips on China data, caution on US Fed meeting
2013-12-16 07:18:11 UTC
The price of oil dipped slightly on Monday as a report on manufacturing in China signaled that a recovery in the world's No. 2 economy would continue to be uneven.
Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery edged 23 cents lower, or 0.2 percent, to $96.37 a barrel at midday in Asia in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
China's massive manufacturing sector grew at a slightly slower pace in December, according to a preliminary survey by HSBC. The purchasing managers' index report found that the growth rate slowed marginally from the month before, though it was still high enough to indicate that China's economy is con...
Oil prices down as Libya plans to resume output
2013-12-13 10:04:21 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Oil prices were subdued Friday amid the possibility of new supplies from the Middle East after a Libyan militia said oil terminals could reopen.
Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down 9 cents to $97.41 a barrel at mid-afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Thursday to settle at $97.50. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, eased 4 cents to $108.34 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
The Libyan militia that shut down most of the country's oil terminals for months has said the terminals will reopen Dec. ...
Consistent hiring points to stronger economy ahead
2013-12-06 22:45:14 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The job market is showing signs of the consistent gains the nation has awaited in the 4½ years since the Great Recession.
Employers added 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low, the Labor Department reported Friday. Four straight months of robust hiring have raised hopes that 2014 will be the year the economy returns to normal.
The steady job growth could also hasten a move by the Federal Reserve to reduce its stimulus efforts.
Stock investors were heartened by the report. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 198 points.
A steadily improving job market could g...
Solid US job growth cuts unemployment to 7 pct.
2013-12-06 22:02:38 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market has been recovering fitfully for three years. Now, it's starting to show consistency.
Employers added 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low. Stock investors were heartened by the news. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 180 points in late-afternoon trading.
The economy added an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, up sharply from 159,000 a month from April through July. The robust gain suggested that the economy will begin to accelerate. As more employers step up hiring, more people have money to spend to drive the economy.
Average US rate on 30-year loan rises to 4.46 pct
2013-12-05 17:02:08 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose sharply this week, making home-buying slightly less affordable.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.46 percent from 4.29 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan increased to 3.47 percent from 3.30 percent.
Rates have risen a full percentage point since May after the Federal Reserve signaled it might slow its bond purchases by year's end. Rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August.
Mortgage rates have stabilized since September, when the Fed surprised markets by taking no action. And rates remain low by hi...
Iran readies for big oil production hike
2013-12-04 12:17:10 UTC
VIENNA (AP) — Iran says it plans to pump as much oil as it can once sanctions on its crude exports are lifted, even if the extra output causes prices to slide.
The comments by Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh reflect Tehran's determination to regain its role as a global oil power. Sanctions will not be lifted before mid-2014, under a nuclear deal with six world powers that is meant to ensure the country cannot make atomic weapons.
Iran is pumping over 1 million barrels a day less than its normal production level of 4 million barrels a day.
Ahead of an OPEC meeting, Zanganeh said Iran was determined to regain its share "e...
Oil edges up in thin post-holiday trade
2013-11-30 08:14:42 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Oil remained below $93 a barrel Friday, in light trading a day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
For the week, oil fell by $2.32 a barrel.
At the gas pump, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.28. That's up 4 cents from a week ago, but down 13 cents from this time last year.
The nationwide average is the cheapest for the day after Thanksgiving since 2010.
Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery rose 42 cents to close at $92.72 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down $1.17 at $109.69 a barrel on the ICE exchange in Lon...
Iran nuke deal could push oil prices lower
2013-11-25 19:16:30 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices could be headed lower after the preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, even though it does not loosen sanctions on Iran's oil exports.
In the short term, the deal may make it easier for Iran to sell the oil it is already allowed to sell under the sanctions, which would increase supplies on the world market. And the newfound cooperation between Iran and the West eases tensions that pushed oil prices higher in recent years.
But the deal, described by both sides as only a first step, raises the possibility that a more comprehensive agreement would eventually allow Iran to restore oil produ...
Oil little changed near $93 a barrel
2013-11-19 09:08:19 UTC
BANGKOK (AP) — Oil was little changed below $93 a barrel Tuesday, awaiting new cues from U.S. economic indicators and the resumption of negotiations in Geneva meant to curb Iran's nuclear program.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 7 cents at $92.96 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents to $93.03 on Monday.
Oil has traded between $93 and $96 a barrel over the past two weeks, and is down from nearly $110 a barrel in early October due to ample supplies and tepid demand.
U.S. retail sales due Wednesday might halt oil's recent sl...
US trade deficit widens 8 percent in September
2013-11-14 21:38:58 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in September as imports increased to the highest level in 10 months while exports slipped. The wider gap suggests growth was somewhat slower over the summer than previously estimated.
The deficit increased to $41.8 billion, up 8 percent from August, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the largest trade gap since May and marked the third straight month that the deficit has risen since hitting a four-year low in June.
Exports, which hit a record high in June, slipped for the third straight month, dipping 0.2 percent to $188.9 billion. Sales of commercial aircraft and autos both...
Oil near $93 after sharp fall as high supply eyed
2013-11-13 08:54:01 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Oil hovered above $93 a barrel Wednesday after a sharp plunge the day before in anticipation of high U.S. crude supplies.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was up 30 cents to $93.34 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dived $2.10 to close at a five-month low of $93.04 on Tuesday.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, added 49 cents to $106.04 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
Oil prices tumbled Tuesday amid expectations that U.S. crude stocks will rise for the eighth straight week. Data for the week ended...
Stocks edge higher on Wall Street
2013-11-11 18:20:16 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average held at a record high on Wall Street Monday.
The market continued its climb from Friday, when it got a lift from an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report. Stocks have surged to record highs this year as the Federal Reserve keeps up its economic stimulus and earnings at U.S. companies continue to grow.
The Fed is currently buying $85 billion of bonds every month and holding its benchmark interest rate close to zero to stimulate economic growth. The central bank's program has helped support a surge in stocks during the last four and a half years. And even after big gains this year, many i...
The shutdown's surprise effect on jobs numbers
2013-11-09 20:25:37 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government shutdown may have affected October's jobs numbers. But not how you think.
For weeks, the White House had braced for a dour report on hiring, with economists and aides lowering expectations and blaming last month's partial shutdown for the inevitable bad news to come.
Then Friday's numbers materialized: Employers appeared to have ignored the shutdown and hired away, to the tune of 204,000 jobs in October.
The shutdown, it seemed, had had no effect.
Not so fast.
In the height of irony, the 16 days of federal worker furloughs and government disruptions may have helped, not hurt, the improved job...
Asia stocks falter after OECD cuts growth forecast
2013-11-20 09:41:09 UTC
BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly faltered Wednesday after the OECD lowered its forecasts for global economic growth.
In a half-yearly report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its forecast for world growth this year to 2.7 percent and 3.6 percent for next. In May, it had predicted 3.1 percent and 4 percent growth, respectively. There were particularly sharp downgrades for Brazil and India though China's forecast was raised.
The more pessimistic forecasts reinforced current thinking that gains in stock markets, fueled by easy monetary policy, are out of step with the reality of lackluster economic ...
Twitter surges in opening trade on NYSE
2013-11-07 22:37:30 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Twitter went on sale to the public for the first time Thursday, instantly leaping more than 70 percent above their offering price in a dazzling debut that exceeded even Wall Street's lofty hopes for the most anticipated initial public offering since Facebook last year.
At the opening bell, the social network that reinvented global communication in 140-character bursts was valued at $31 billion — more than Macy's and roughly comparable to the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut or tractor and tool maker Deere & Co.
Twitter, which has never turned a profit in the seven years since it was founded, worked hard t...
Why some experts think Twitter stock is a bargain
2013-11-06 11:25:04 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Critics dismiss it as a fad. It's tiny next to some rivals. And it loses money.
Yet for all its faults, Twitter has plenty of fans on Wall Street. They say investors should seize the initial public offering this week and grab an early stake in a company that is revolutionizing the way people share experiences and opinions. It's bound to make big money someday.
The most optimistic think Twitter is worth $50 per share, maybe even more. If they're right, early investors could make a quick profit. The highest price at which Twitter plans to sell its stock is $25 a share, half as much.
Below are a few reasons some exper...
Asia stocks muted on Fed concerns, Europe gains
2013-11-06 11:27:42 UTC
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — World stock markets were mixed Wednesday, with benchmarks in Asia flitting between gains and losses after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus. European markets gained.
The Institute for Supply Management's services index rose in October despite forecasts it would soften due to last month's partial shutdown of the U.S. government. Investors concluded that it makes it more likely that the Fed will start reducing its bond purchases, which have kept interest rates low, within a few months.
Major European benchmarks were up in early ...
US govt: Hedge fund giant SAC Capital to pay $1.8B
2013-11-04 17:22:51 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Hedge fund giant SAC Capital Advisors has agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges and to pay a $1.8 billion financial penalty, federal prosecutors said Monday.
The government said in a letter to judges presiding over the Manhattan case that it believed the financial penalty is the largest in history for insider trading offenses.
The company will pay a $900 million fine and forfeit another $900 million to the federal government. It also will terminate its investment advisory business.
The government called the penalties "steep but fair" and "commensurate with the breadth and duration of the charged criminal conduct....
AP-CNBC poll: Twitter faces skeptical investors
2013-11-04 06:15:41 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter faces skepticism from potential investors and the broader public ahead of its initial public offering, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released Monday.
Some 36 percent of Americans say buying stock in the 7-year-old short messaging service would be a good investment, while 47 percent disagree. Last May, ahead of Facebook's IPO, 51 percent of Americans said Facebook Inc. would be a good investment. Just 31 percent didn't agree.
Twitter plans to make its Wall Street debut this week and surprisingly, 52 percent of people ages 18 to 34 say investing in the company's stock is not a good idea.
Asian markets down on Japan data, Ukraine worries
2014-02-28 09:46:35 UTC
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Asian stock markets were lower Friday, shrugging off Wall Street's record high and focusing instead on Japanese economic numbers indicating further stimulus might be needed and the turmoil in Ukraine.
Japan's Nikkei 225, the regional heavyweight, dropped 1.1 percent to 14,769.25 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged down 0.1 percent at 22,803.22. China's Shanghai Composite Index fell by 1 percent to 2,123.01 and Australia's S&P/ASX shed 0.1 percent to 5,403.90.
The lackluster trading came after S&P 500 reached an all-time high Thursday, powered by strong earnings from a number of U.S. companies. The index rose 9.13 poi...
US home prices rise at fastest pace since 2006
2013-10-29 17:33:42 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in August from a year earlier at the fastest pace since February 2006. But the price gains slowed in many cities from July, a sign that the spike in prices over the past year may have peaked.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.8 percent over the 12 months ending in August. That's up from 12.4 percent in July from a year earlier. All 20 cities showed year-over-year gains.
However, a measure of month-over-month prices for the 20 cities rose just 1.3 percent in August. That's' down from a 1.8 percent month-over-month gain in July. And 16 of the 20 cities reported m...
Japan leads Asian stocks lower after US sell-off
2014-01-14 08:21:41 UTC
HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets sank Tuesday, led by Japan, as investors took their cues from a big sell-off in the U.S.
U.S. stocks had their worst day so far this year, with the major benchmarks all dropping more than 1 percent. Confidence among investors was sapped by a weak U.S. employment report last week even as some analysts blamed severe cold weather and noted that one weak month doesn't make a trend.
After strong gains in stock markets last year, investors fear prospects for more gains might be limited in the short-term.
Japanese stocks resumed trading after a holiday Monday, with the Nikkei 225 diving 2.4 perce...
Settlement approved in Google stock split lawsuit
2013-10-29 01:05:31 UTC
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge on Monday approved a settlement in a shareholder lawsuit challenging Google Inc.'s plans to split its stock and issue a new class of nonvoting shares.
The ruling by Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. clears the way for the Internet search leader to issue shares of "Class C" nonvoting stock for each share of existing stock.
The judge approved the settlement despite noting that, while it is designed to ensure that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin retain control of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, the two are not being forced to give any concessions to other shareholders. Instead, like other shar...
Microsoft 1Q profit, sales top views; shares jump
2013-10-25 07:52:10 UTC
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft posted quarterly revenue and earnings Thursday that easily topped Wall Street forecasts, marking a healthy start to a companywide overhaul it announced in July that should help the software giant transform into a devices and services company.
Its stock rose nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading.
"Our devices and services transformation is progressing," CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement with the company's fiscal first-quarter results. Ballmer said in August he'll step down within 12 months and the search is on to find his successor.
Microsoft's net income in three months through Sept. 30 grew 17 p...