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Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM   |   0 comments

Early market gains fade Friday

NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Tentative gains in U.S. stock indexes faded Friday although recent merger announcements provided some support to markets.

Computer company Dell, American Airlines and US Airways and food giant Heinz have all been involved in major deals this week. Even if these deals to not all survive to completion, mergers are viewed by many as a sign of corporate confidence and financial health.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial was still ahead, up 0.07 points or 0.01 percent to 13,974.09 after an early gain of nearly 25 points.

The Nasdaq composite index shed 0.99 points or 0.03 percent to 3,197.66. The Standard & Poor's 100 lost 0.34 points or 0.02 percent to 1,521.04.

The 10-year treasury note fell 9/32 to yield 2.032 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.3358from Thursday's $1.3362. The dollar rose to 93.54 yen from 92.87 yen.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo lost 1.18 percent, 133.45 points, to 11,173.83.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.01 percent, 0.90 points, to 6,328.26.


Tiffany sues Costco over use of name

NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Luxury brand Tiffany is suing Costco for using the renowned jeweler's name to sell engagement rings last year, court papers filed in New York said.

The New York Times said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York City, was prompted by a complaint from a customer who said she was "disappointed to observe that Costco was offering for sale what were promoted on in-store signs as Tiffany diamond engagement rings," court papers said.

Court papers say Tiffany investigated and found Costco employees promoting the rings as Tiffany products. The store, however, did not use the Tiffany name online, the company's investigation found.

Once Tiffany brought the issue to Costco's attention, the promotions stopped, the lawsuit says.

Tiffany is seeking all of Costco's profits from sales of the rings and for damages that take into account Costco tarnishing Tiffany's name and Tiffany putting a shine on Costco's reputation, the newspaper said Friday.


Vatican bank names new director

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The Vatican on Friday named German lawyer Ernst von Feyberg director of the Vatican Bank and said retiring Pope Benedict XVI had approved of the appointment.

The Vatican Bank has been without a director since Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was fired last May by a panel of five cardinals, Adnkronos International reported.

Gotti Tedeschi was ousted for failing to restore the bank's reputation after a money laundering scandal. He and a bank deputy were also investigated for money laundering.

Ansa reported that Gotti Tedeschi and the bank's board disagreed on issues connected to a move to join a list of financially transparent countries, the so-called "white list."

Von Freyberg, 55, is a member of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta and the co-leader of the Association for Pilgrimages to Lourdes of the Archdiocese of Berlin, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.


New York business index improves

NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Manufacturing activity expanded in New York state in February for the first time in months, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Friday.

The bank's monthly business survey showed improvement "for the first time since the summer of last year," the Fed reported.

The general business conditions index added 18 points to move into positive territory, advancing to 10, the Fed said.

The new orders index added 20 points to reach 13.3 and the shipments index rose to 13.1.

For the third consecutive month, the index measuring the number of employees rose. In February, the index turned positive, climbing above zero to reach 8.1, the first plus reading since September.

The index for hours worked remained negative, slightly, at minus 4.

The survey is taken in the first half of each month.

In February, 29 percent of respondents indicated that business conditions had improved and 19 percent indicated conditions had grown worse.

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