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UPI NewsTrack Business

April 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM   |   Comments

Markets close mixed Tuesday

NEW YORK, April 24 (UPI) -- Stocks were mixed on Wall Street Tuesday as investors considered corporate reports and home sales.

AT&T and 3M both rallied on strong earnings reports, AT&T shares rising 3.63 percent, while 3M shares gained 2.78 percent.

The closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed prices fell a touch more than expected, dropping 3.5 percent from February 2011 to February 2012. Economists had expected a drop of 3.4 percent.

By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 74.39 points or 0.58 percent to 13,001.56. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index shed 8.85 points or 0.3 percent to 2,961.60. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained 5.03 points or 0.37 percent to 1,371.97.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,037 shared advanced and 1,021 declined on a volume of 3.4 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note rose 2/32 to yield 1.976 percent.

The euro rose to $1.32 from Monday's $1.3158. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 81.32 yen from Monday's 81.19 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.78 percent, 74.13, to 9,468.04.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.78 percent, 43.92, to 5,709.49.


Debt grew in Europe, in 2011

BRUSSELS, April 24 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Tuesday government finances in Europe remain in dire straits with debt growing despite some deficit improvements.

In the 27-member European Union, the deficit for 2011 was 4.5 percent of the gross domestic product for the region, the EUobserver reported. In 2010, the deficit for the region stood at 6.5 percent.

In the eurozone, the 17-nation region that uses the euro as currency, the deficit -- the amount of spending that exceeded government revenues -- fell from 6.2 percent in 2010 to 4.1 percent in 2011.

Ireland, Greece and Spain posted the highest percentages of overspending with deficits compared to GDP of 13.1 percent, 9.1 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

Government debt, the total of what governments owe, rose in the EU from 80 percent of GDP in 2010 to 82.5 percent in 2011. In the eurozone, debt rose from 85.3 percent of GDP in 2010 to 87.2 percent in 2011.

Last year, 14 EU states had debt ratios above 60 percent of GDP, including Greece, which topped all EU nations with debt that was 165.3 percent of its GDP. In Italy, the ratio as 120.1 percent. In Ireland it was 108.2 percent.

EU guidelines advocate for member states to keep debt below 60 percent of the country's GDP.


Fun money in Britain shrinks

LONDON, April 24 (UPI) -- Disposable income -- money left over after necessities are covered -- has dropped sharply in Britain in the last 12 months, data show.

The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday data collected by the Asda Income Tracker found disposable cash had fallen to an average of $230 per week for the average British family.

At the end of the week, after bills are paid, the average family has $16 less, or 6.5 percent, to spend than in March 2011.

"While growth in the price of essentials is likely to fall back slowly this year, the current tough conditions in the U.K. labor market look set to prevail," said Charles Davis, managing economist at Cebr. "Family budgets in 2012 are continuing to be squeezed by the three pressures of high unemployment, very weak wage increases and stubbornly elevated inflation."


Automakers confront resin supply issue

DETROIT, April 24 (UPI) -- An automobile trade group in Michigan said six manufacturers had agreed to seek a quick replacement for a critical resin that could soon be hard to find.

The resin is known as PA-12 or nylon 12, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Supplies of the resin, used in brake and fuel systems, were threatened in March by an explosion at a chemical plant in Marl, Germany.

The Automotive Industry Action Group said six major automakers, including General Motors Co., Chrysler and Ford Motor Co., had agreed to a process to speed up use of an alternative compound.

Automakers sought to quell suspicions that the lack of the resin would slow production.

"We know we have inventory that will get us through a good part of May and then I think things will sort themselves out, but we're pretty sure we have it in hand," said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson.

GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said no production schedule changes were expected.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and are working with suppliers to allocate and prioritize existing inventories and also find alternative process material solutions," she said.

Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said, "We're not experiencing any production disruptions to date."

"It would be a true shame if we had to stop the production machine because we have to deal with this," Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said.

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