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March 15, 2013 at 5:10 PM   |   Comments

Stock rally ends at 10 days

NEW YORK, March 15 (UPI) -- Stocks ended a 10-day run of gains Friday, closing down after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the consumer price index rose 0.7 percent in February.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 25.03 points, or 0.17 percent, to 14,514.11.

The Nasdaq dipped 9.86 points, or 0.30 percent, to 3,249.07.

The Standard and Poor's 500 slipped 2.53 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,560.70.

The CPI increase was slightly higher than economist projected. The annual inflation rate rose to 2 percent after resting at 1.9 percent for three consecutive months.

Before Friday, the Dow closed higher for 10 consecutive days, the longest winning streak in at least 16 years.

On the New York Stock exchange, the total volume was 5.05 billion shares. Decliners outpaced gainers, 2.58 billion shares to 2.42 billion shares.

The 10-year U.S. treasury bonds yielded 1.997 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was $1.3073 from Thursday's $1.3005. Against the yen, the dollar was 95.31 yen from 96.11 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 179.76 points, 1.45 percent, to 12,560.95.

In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 0.61 percent, 39.76 points, to 6,489.65.


SEC gets record insider-trading settlement

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- CR Intrinsic Investors in Stamford, Conn., agreed to pay a record $601 million to settle insider trading charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Last November, the SEC charged CR Intrinsic participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for an Alzheimer's drug jointly developed by two drug companies.

The SEC alleged in 2008 Mathew Martoma, one of CR Intrinsic's portfolio managers, illegally obtained confidential details about the clinical trial from Dr. Sidney Gilman, selected by the drug giants Elan Corp. and Wyeth to present the final drug trial results to the public in July of that year.

The settlement filed Friday in federal court in New York requires CR Intrinsic -- an affiliate of S.A.C. Capital -- to pay $274,972,541 in disgorgement, $51,802,381.22 in prejudgment interest and $274,972,541 as a penalty.

"The historic monetary sanctions against CR Intrinsic and its affiliates are sharp warning that the SEC will hold hedge fund advisory firms and their funds accountable when employees break the law to benefit the firm," said George S. Canellos, acting director of the SEC's enforcement division.

In an amended complaint filed Friday, the SEC added S.A.C. Capital and four hedge funds managed by CR Intrinsic and S.A.C. Capital as relief defendants, saying they made money and avoided losses because of the insider trading.

The settlement is subject to the approval of U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York.

The SEC said the settling parties neither admit nor deny the charges and the settlement doesn't resolve charges against Martoma, whose case is being litigated.


IMF: Growth, credit in Eruope need work

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund said Friday Europe has made progress on financial stabilization but stagnant growth and tight credit are still troublesome.

In its first-ever European Union-wide assessment of the soundness and stability of the financial sector, the IMF said European leaders had made considerable progress in containing the current crisis, but also called for increased efforts to resolve the current crisis and prevent another one from occurring.

"The priority is now to establish single frameworks for crisis management, deposit insurance, supervision and resolution, with a common fiscal backstop for the banking system, especially for the monetary union," said Charles Enoch, Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.

Enoch directed the study released Friday.

The IMF said banks "need to build strong capital buffers" to protect them from future economic downturns.

At the same time, the report said, allowing the region's financial bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to directly recapitalize banks "would help break the adverse link between government finances and banks, which has caused so much trouble in several European countries now undergoing painful adjustment."

In 2012, for example, Spain balked at accepting help from the ESM fund because that would add to its government debt -- the very problem the ESM was trying to avoid as it bailed out troubled banks.

The IMF applauded the move to have the European Central Bank provide consistent regulation of large banks with international influence -- and called for "prompt passage and implementation of capital requirements and resolution directives and regulations," in an effort to coordinate policies across Europe.

Among the unresolved issues was a development of a consistent mechanism for governments to unwind banks that fail and a region-wide deposit insurance program, the IMF said.


Inflation eases in Europe

BRUSSELS, March 15 (UPI) -- The inflation rate dropped to 1.8 percent in the eurozone and to 2 percent in the larger European Union, official data agency Eurostat said Friday.

Eurostat said inflation slowed from 2 percent in January in the 17-member currency zone known as the eurozone and from 2.1 percent in the 27-member EU.

A year ago, inflation stood at 2.7 percent in the Eurozone and 2.9 percent in the EU, Eurostat said.

The lowest annual rate among EU member states in February was in Greece, with an inflation rate of 0.1 percent. Portugal's rate was 0.2 percent. In Latvia, it was 0.3 percent.

The highest rates were in Romania at 4.8 percent, Estonia at 4 percent and the Netherlands at 3.2 percent.

In the eurozone, the annual inflation rate for all items minus seasonal food and energy was 1.5 percent, down from 1.6 percent in January.

By itself, the inflation rate for energy was steady at 3.9 percent from January to February. For food, alcohol and tobacco, the inflation rate shifted from 3.2 percent in January to 2.7 percent in February.

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