Stocks drop early
NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes slid 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.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the Producer Price Index dropped for the third consecutive month in December. Prices on a 12-month unadjusted basis rose 1.3 percent, much less than the Federal Reserve's target of 2 percent inflation.
In afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 4.99 points or 0.04 percent to 13,502.33. The Nasdaq composite index shed 12.29 points or 0.39 percent to 3,105.22. The Standard and Poor's 500 lost 1.88 points or 0.13 percent to 1,468.80.
The 10-year treasury note rose 7/32 to yield 1.827 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.329 from Monday's $1.3382. The dollar was lower at 88.7 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.
Producer price index down in December
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. producer prices for finished goods fell for the third consecutive month in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
On a 12-month unadjusted basis, prices were up 1.3 percent, the fourth lowest figure of 2012 behind May through June, when annual inflation averaged 0.6 percent.
Both food and energy prices received by producers fell in December with food prices off 0.9 percent and energy prices off 0.3 percent, pressured by a 1.7 percent decline in gasoline prices.
The lower index for food indicates that the drought of 2012 has not yet affected pricing.
Core prices, which excludes both energy and food items because of the price volatility of those categories, rose 0.1 percent month-to-month for the second consecutive month.
Core prices are considered a key inflation measure, as they show how much energy prices are seeping into other expenses.
For intermediate goods, prices rose 0.3 percent in December, while prices of crude goods, generally raw materials, rose 2.5 percent.
New York manufacturing remains in a funk
NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Manufacturing activity contracted in the Empire State in January, falling short of expectations, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday.
Manufacturing declined for the sixth consecutive month. Economists had predicted the state's manufacturing firms would pull out of the slump to reach the break-even point in the month.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, taken the first half of each month, indicated manufacturing activity shrank, but at a slightly slower pace than December. The headline index came to minus 7.8 in January after a reading of minus 8.1 in the previous month.
"Labor conditions remain weak," the Fed said, noting both employment indexes -- measuring number of employees and average work hours -- were both slightly negative for the fourth consecutive month.
The new orders index dropped four points to minus 7.2. The shipments index fell 15 points to minus 3.1.
"Significantly," the Fed said, "the capital expenditures fell index fell to 4.3, its lowest reading since 2009."
New Jersey to get offshore wind project
TRENTON, N.J., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The company behind a planned offshore wind farm on the Atlantic Coast said Tuesday the first phase of the project would be built along the New Jersey shoreline.
Atlantic Wind Connection said the NJ Energy Link portion of the overall project would run the length of the state and eventually carry 3,000 megawatts of electricity generated by massive wind turbines off the coast.
"The NJ Energy Link can make the grid more reliable and lower the cost of energy in New Jersey by delivering both offshore wind and conventional electricity to where it is needed and when it is needed along the coast, whether that be southern, central or northern New Jersey," Chief Executive Officer Robert Mitchell said in a written statement.
The project involves running a "backbone" of transmission cables under the sea floor that will connect to the onshore power grid. Construction of the first phase of the NJ Energy Link will begin in 2016 with service beginning in 2019.
The federal government opened the door for the necessary permits last spring when it ruled there were no competing interests to the project. The project is expected to create nearly 20,000 jobs and will bring more wind power into the state's electricity mix.
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