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Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:55 PM   |   Comments

Stocks close mixed Tuesday

NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Monday after a survey of New York manufacturing showed further contraction in January.

The New York Federal Reserve said its monthly business index came in at minus 7.8, below the consensus forecast that called for a rise to the break-even point of zero.

By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 27.57 points or 0.2 percent to 13,534.89. The Nasdaq composite index shed 6.72 points or 0.22 percent to 3,110.78. The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 1.68 points or 0.11 percent to 1,472.34.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,740 stocks advanced and 1,291 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note rose 3/32 to yield 1.84 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.33 from Monday's $1.3382. The dollar was lower at 88.77 yen from 89.48 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.72 percent, 77.51 points, to 10,879.08.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.15 percent, 9.45 points, to 6,117.31.


JPMorgan Chase to release report on losses

NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The board of JPMorgan Chase plans to release an in-house report on how it lost $6.2 billion on trades in 2012, sources told The New York Times.

The report, which is slightly more than 50 pages long, was compiled by the bank's former Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh.

Some of the repercussions of the stunning loss are already known. Eight senior executives have left the bank in wake of the debacle. On Tuesday, while electing to release the report, the bank's board had on its agenda how to handle Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon's bonus pay for 2012, which could be trimmed by as much as 20 percent, the Times said.

In 2011, Dimon made $23.1 million in a compensation package that included $4.5 million in a cash bonus.

He was the highest paid bank chief executive officer among the top six largest U.S. banks that year.

The in-house report concerns bets made by a derivatives trading office that has a branch in New York and one in London. It is expected to lay some of the blame on former Chief Financial Officer Douglas Braunstein for not keeping close enough tabs on the London office, which incurred the losses.

Sources close to the discussion told the Times that some on the board argued the report could be used by plaintiffs in legal cases against the bank. Dimon, however, encouraged the board to release the report, the Times said.


Retirement funds rules turn on workers

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Nearly a quarter of funds U.S. workers stash in retirement accounts each year are withdrawn to pay current bills and meet other needs, a study indicates.

Data from the U.S. Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances and the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation, indicates 30 percent of households with incomes of less than $50,000 per year had cashed out a retirement plan before retirement, a report by consulting firm HelloWallet found.

More than 25 percent of U.S. workers had tapped into retirement funds to pay everyday bills, including credit card bills, the study found.

In a separate study, 401(k) management firm Vanguard found the number of workers who had borrowed against their private retirement plans or had withdrawn money directly from them had risen 12 percent since 2008.

Increased 401(k) withdrawals mean an increase in hefty early withdrawal fees and taxes that need to be paid on funds withdrawn before a worker reaches retirement age, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Workers are also losing out on interest they could be earning if they kept the funds in the retirement accounts.

"We're going from bad to worse. Already, fewer private-sector workers have access to stable pension plans. And the savings in individual retirement savings accounts like 401(k) plans -- which already are severely underfunded -- continue to leak out at a high rate," said Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security.

"What you have is 401(k) participants voting with their wallets saying they would much rather use this money for other purposes," HelloWallet Chief Executive Officer Matt Fellowes said.

Essentially, Fellowes said, if workers need the funds now to pay bills then putting it in an account with high penalties for withdrawal does the worker a disservice.

"In many cases, the only one benefiting is the vendor," Fellowes said.


Retail group says shoppers have the blues

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. retail sales dropped week-to-week for the second consecutive time in the week ending Saturday, a Washington retail trade group said Tuesday.

Sales receipts dropped 0.6 percent after falling 4.2 percent in the previous week, the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly consumer tracking survey indicated.

The council called the slump "the post-holiday spending blues."

Weather, the group said, was a mild deterrent with the average temperature 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than last year and 7 degrees warmer than the long-term average for the week.

From the same week a year earlier, sales were up 3.3 percent, a gain partly realized by higher prices.

Last week, the trade group said sales "tumbled." The second decline showed broad weakness with the exception of discount stores.

Sales declined at drug, department, dollar, specialty, electronics, office and furniture stores, the council said.

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