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UPI NewsTrack Business

May 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM   |   Comments

U.S. stocks close with gains

NEW YORK, May 29 (UPI) -- U.S. markets closed higher Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday, following gains made in Asia and Europe.

The closely watched Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed both its 10-city and 20-city composite listings declined at the end of the first quarter with the 10-city index, at 146.61, lower than it has been since April 2003. The 20-city index is also at a post-recession low, coming in at 134.1, the lowest it has been since October 2002.

Stocks made gains anyway. The Dow Jones industrial average, down in four out of five trading sessions in the previous week, added 125.86 points, or 1.01 percent, to 12,580.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 14.60 points, or 1.11 percent, to 1,332.42. The Nasdaq Composite added 33.46 points, 1.18 percent to 2,870.99.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,413 stocks advanced and 651 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 2/32 to yield 1.75 percent.

The euro fell to $1.2482 from Friday's $1.2542. Against the yen, the dollar hit 79.56 from 79.47 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.74 percent, 63.93 points, to 8,657.08.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.65 percent, 34.80, to 5,391.14.


BYD investigating electric car fire

SHENZHEN, China, May 29 (UPI) -- Chinese automaker BYD Co. said Tuesday it was investigating why an e6 electric car caught on fire after a fatal collision that killed three people.

"We are very sorry for the deaths and we are trying, of course, to find out why the car set on fire," said company spokesman Paul Lin.

The accident in Shenzhen, where the company is based, involved a Nissan GT-R reportedly going 112 mph when it crashed into an e6 taxi, killing the driver and two passengers.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the accident sparked a huge reaction on social Web sites in China.

BYD shares dropped 5.9 percent Monday in Hong Kong and 2.6 percent in Shenzhen. They recovered most of the lost ground on Tuesday.

BYD started out as a battery company, but now includes making cars. Its investors include billionaire Warren Buffett, who purchased 10 percent of the company in 2009 for $230 million.

"When it comes to the technology itself and the reliability and safety of their cars, BYD has not been totally forthcoming with investors. They say 'trust us, we know what we're doing and Warren Buffet wouldn't invest in us unless we were the real deal,'" said Michael Dunne, head of automotive industry consulting firm Dunne & Co.


Garment union blames violence on company

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, May 29 (UPI) -- A union leader in Cambodia has blamed clothing maker SL Garment for violence that broke out at a factory.

The union official said the company was trying to provoke violence as part of a campaign to smear the union.

"This is the company's trick, to be willing to provoke … severe violence and put all mistakes entirely on the workers," said Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union.

The Phnom Penh Post reported Tuesday about 5,000 union workers went back to work after a two-week strike at two Phnom Penh factories believing a document signed by the union, the government and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia Friday was a binding deal.

But the company backed away from the agreement after the workers returned to their jobs, the newspaper reported.

The agreement included pay for missing work during the strike and $7 per month for approved rent and travel expenses.

"In my years doing this sort of work, I've never come across a document which is thumb printed by all parties, the bona fide seal in Cambodia, and endorsed by a government representative, which refers to itself as an agreement within the document, but which after the fact is claimed to be no such thing," said Dave Welsh, country director of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

"The company said one thing and when implementing did the other -- this caused the workers to be angry and they continued their strike," union worker Rith Sineourn said.

The Post reported rocks were thrown at one factory and that one woman was hit in the head.


U.S. farmers say crops in good shape

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- U.S. farmers reported the condition of corn fields, while in great shape overall, slipped slightly in the week ending Sunday.

In the week ending May 20, farmers reported 3 percent of the crop was in poor or very poor condition, while the rest was in fair, good or excellent condition.

In the most recent week, 6 percent of the crop was reportedly poor or very poor condition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report delayed by the Memorial Day holiday.

Farmers report 97 percent of the cotton crop is in fair, good or excellent condition in the week ending Sunday.

Rice is 92 percent emerged with 88 percent reportedly in fair, good or excellent condition.

Farmers report 14 percent of the winter wheat crop is in poor or very poor condition. Five percent of the spring wheat crop, by farmer reports, is in poor or very poor condition. The rest is in fair, good or excellent shape.

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