Markets close higher
NEW YORK, June 27 (UPI) -- U.S. markets closed higher Wednesday after the Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose 1.1 percent in May.
The gain was higher than expected and showed some resilience in the manufacturing sector, which has recently posted some negative numbers in regional reports.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 92.34 points, 0.74 percent, to 12,627.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 11.86 points, 0.9 percent, to 1,331.85. The Nasdaq composite index added 21.26 points, 0.74 percent, to 2,875.32.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,403 stocks advanced and 666 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares traded.
The 10-year benchmark treasury note rose 3/32 to yield 1.622 percent.
The euro fell to $1.247 from Tuesday's $1.2496. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 79.74 yen from Tuesday's 79.51 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.77 percent, 66.50, to 8,730.49.
In London, the FTSE 100 index added 1.41 percent, 76.96, to 5,523.92.
Treasury Dept. puts out a call for apps
WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department sent out a call for fresh ideas Wednesday with cash prizes awaiting the most popular entries.
The department said it was looking for ideas that would help the public become "smarter financial consumers."
The contest, dubbed the "MyMoneyAppUp Challenge" has two categories for entries.
The first category is for ideas laid out in 140 characters or less for "app-based solutions from the general public."
This category is open to one and all and calls for quick, concise, ideas for new, financial apps, which is short for digital applications.
"Mobile technology has become an increasingly important part of many Americans' lives, creating new opportunities to help consumers make smart financial decisions in user-friendly ways," Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin said in a statement.
Prizes for fresh ideas range from $250 to $1,000. The public will be able to vote on the ideas with a panel of judges taking it from there, awarding prizes to the 10 most popular ideas.
The second challenge includes awards of $2,500 to $10,000.
That category is for application design outlined in detail.
"Contestants must complete an online submission form detailing their design and how it will improve financial capability and/or access," the department said.
As an added twist, the Treasury said it was encouraging app designers to use ideas submitted to the IdeaBank for their projects.
Ideas and apps designs can be submitted online at MyMoneyAppUp.challenge.gov., the department said.
Details for the contests, sponsored with help from the D2D Fund and the Center for Financial Services, are available online.
Poll: Confidence in banks hits record low
PRINCETON, N.J., June 27 (UPI) -- Confidence in U.S. banks has dropped to a record low in an annual survey, research firm Gallup said Wednesday.
While confidence in banks fell from 23 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2012, banks actually tied for third from the bottom on a list of 16 U.S. institutions, Gallup said.
At the bottom of the list is Congress with a confidence factor of 13 percent, Gallup said, using data based on a survey of 1,004 adults taken June 7-12.
Close to the bottom, Health Maintenance Organizations posted a confidence level of 19 percent.
Banks tied with big business, television news and organized labor, Gallup said. Confidence in each of those four institutions is at 21 percent.
Confidence was measured by asking respondents if they had "quite a lot," or "a great deal" of confidence in each institution.
Gallup said it was not hard to understand why confidence in banks is low, given the recent recession, the massive losses at JPMorgan Chase that have been in the news lately and the credit crunch -- not to mention the financial crisis in Europe.
Moody's Investors Service Friday downgraded the credit rating of 15 global banks, also a contributing factor, Gallup said.
Gallup said the results of the survey have a margin of error of plus and minus four percentage points, a statement that can be said with 95 percent confidence.
Barclays to pay $450M in Libor case
WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- British bank Barclays has agreed to pay $450 million to settle charges that it manipulated interest rates used in $350 trillion in loans.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Justice Department and bank regulators in Britain charged Barclays with manipulating reports that help set the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The Libor is used to set other lending rates, such as student loans, credit cards, mortgages and other lending.
It is in the interests of big banks, however, to report that their borrowing costs are low, as that makes them appear healthier.
The Libor is an average rate big banks charge each other for loans. But if Barclays, for example, has high rates to pay other banks, its financial position appears weaker, the Times reported.
Regulators are investigating other banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and HSBC on similar complaints. Essentially, the investigation follows in the footsteps of brokerage firm Charles Schwab, which sued 11 big banks in 2011 on charges of conspiring to manipulate Libor.
Regulators said the scheming at Barclays included top tier management. In a statement, the bank's Chief Executive Officer Bob Diamond said, "The events which gave rise to today's resolutions relate to past actions which fell well short of the standards to which Barclays aspires in the conduct of its business."
He also said the bank was cooperating with authorities and that four top executives at the bank, himself included, had forfeited their bonuses for the year.
The bank is setting its case with the CFTC for $200 million, while the Financial Services Authority in London accepted a $92.8 million settlement.
Regulators are also looking into the possibility of banks manipulating the Euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor, and the Tokyo interbank rate or Tibor, the Times said.
|Additional Business News Stories|
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