Stocks regain some lost ground
NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes made headway early Friday, following the sharpest two-day drop in a mostly positive year.
The Dow Jones industrial average reclaimed 64.61 points in early afternoon trading, climbing 0.47 percent to 13,945.23. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 7.32 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,509.74 points. The Nasdaq composite added 17.31 points, or 0.55 percent, to 3,148.80 points.
The Dow had closed at a nearly five-year peak on Tuesday at 14,035.67 but at the end of trading Thursday it had fallen to 13,880.62, off 1.1 percent in two days.
The 10-year U.S. treasury rose 5/32 Friday to yield 1.957 percent.
Against the dollar the euro fell to $1.3166 from Thursday's $1.319. Against the yen, the dollar was higher 93.33 yen from 93.11 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed at 11,385.94 points, up 76.81 points or 0.68 percent.
In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.7 percent, 44.16 points, to 6,335.70.
Expectations for eurozone in decline
BRUSSELS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The European Commission, predicting a contraction of 0.3 percent, downgraded its forecast for economic growth for the 17-member eurozone for 2013.
The economy in the currency region is expected to contract 0.3 percent this year. The commission previously said the region's economy would grow 0.1 percent.
The BBC reported Friday that there is concern that Portugal's economy, currently expected to drop 1.9 percent in 2013, could suffer from a "surprise" downturn after contracting 3.2 percent in 2012.
The commission's forecast is one of several that have undergone downward revisions, the BBC said.
The International Monetary Fund lowered its estimate of the eurozone's 2013 economic performance and says the region will go through a "mild recession" this year.
Similarly, the World Bank in January dropped its expectations for the eurozone economy for 2013.
Cuba to buy $650M in planes from Russia
HAVANA, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov said Friday Cuba signed agreements to purchase $650 million worth of aircraft from Russia.
The deal includes purchase of three Antonov An-158 regional aircraft and three Ilyushin Il-96-400s, each with a 350-passenger capacity, RIA Novosti reported.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, heading home from a trip to Brazil, was in Cuba with Raul Castro as the sales agreements were signed by representatives of Ilyushin Finance and the Cuban Aviation Corp., the report said.
"Overall, aircraft deliveries will be worth $650 million," Manturov said.
Inflation at a crawl in Canada
OTTAWA, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The annual inflation rate in Canada rose 0.5 percent in January, down from 0.8 percent in December, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The largest influence in the drop was gasoline prices, which fell 1.8 percent on an annual basis in January, down from a gain of 1 percent in December.
Excluding gasoline prices, the consumer price index rose 0.6 percent in the 12 months to January, down from 0.8 percent in December.
"This slower increase was led by year-over-year price declines for clothing and smaller price gains for food purchased from stores," the data agency reported.
On an annual basis, food costs rose 1.1 percent in January, a drop from 1.5 percent in December, as food prices in stores fell, notably for meat, the report said.
Shelter costs rose 0.6 percent in the 12 months to January, while transportation prices fell 0.5 percent after rising 0.5 percent in December.