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UPI NewsTrack Business

March 27, 2013 at 7:11 PM   |   Comments

U.S. markets mixed at the close

NEW YORK, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Wednesday following downturns in markets across Europe.

The European Commission said Wednesday economic sentiment indexes for the eurozone and the European Union fell in March, especially in three of the region's largest economies -- France, Germany and Spain.

Markets were higher across Asia but down in France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Belgium and Sweden.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 33.49 points -- 0.23 percent -- to 14,526.16. The S&P 500 gave up 0.92 points, 0.06 percent, to 1,562.85. The tech-oriented Nasdaq composite index added 4.04 points, 0.12 percent, to 3,256.52.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,596 stocks advanced and 1,425 declined on a volume of 2.9 billion shares traded.

Ten-year U.S. treasury bonds rose 18/32 to yield 1.852 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.2779 from Tuesday's $1.286. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 94.44 yen from 94.45 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.18 percent, 22.17 points, to 12,493.79.

In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.18 percent, 11.81 points, to 6,387.56.


Houston tops 2012 Job Creation Index

PRINCETON, N.J., March 27 (UPI) -- Houston topped the country in a list of cities posting a net positive number of employers hiring in 2012, researchers at Gallup said Wednesday.

In Houston, 45 percent of workers in a survey indicated their employer was hiring, while 12 percent indicated their employer was shrinking payrolls, Gallup said.

The difference was a net positive number of 33 for Houston, which had the widest positive gap among the country's 50 largest cities between companies hiring and companies letting workers go.

The cities with the five highest net positive Job Creation Index included Houston; Columbus, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Salt Lake City.

Of those cities, only Orlando was among the top five in 2012.

At the other end of the spectrum, Riverside, Calif., had the lowest Job Creation index among the 50 largest cities, followed by San Diego; New York; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Buffalo, N.Y.

Two of those cities -- Buffalo and New York -- were among the bottom five in 2012.

Across the country, the net score was 18 with 35 percent of employers hiring and 17 percent cutting back on payrolls, Gallup said.

Gallup said the results of the survey are based on between 663 and 8,837 interviews per city as part of the firm's 2012 Daily Tracking survey. The results of the survey include a margin of error of 3-5 percentage points.


JPMorgan Chase under the microscope

NEW YORK, March 27 (UPI) -- A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase acknowledged the U.S. financial giant is currently the subject of numerous regulatory probes.

"Jamie and other executives feel terrible that the bank's self-inflicted mistakes have put regulators in an awkward position," said bank spokesman Joe Evangelisti, referring to the bank's chairman and chief executive officer, James Dimon.

Evangelisti said the bank was cooperating with authorities "to make things right."

JPMorgan Chase is the target of investigations by at least eight agencies, including the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FBI, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Congress has called bank executives to testify in Washington concerning a highly publicized trading loss of $6.2 billion that occurred in a JPMorgan office in London last year.

The investigations include attempts to ferret out criminal behavior and bank carelessness that may have contributed to those losses.

JPMorgan is also under investigation by authorities looking to see when and how much bank officials knew about New York investor Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

At issue is how early bank officials may have known or suspected Madoff's firm was illegitimate, and how long they might have kept quiet about suspicions.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with retrieving as much of the lost funds as possible, has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan claiming at least one official at the bank knew Madoff's operation was fraudulent 18 months before he was arrested.

The investigations are somewhat new for JPMorgan, which was seen as one of the large U.S. banks that survived the 2008 financial crisis in relatively good shape, the Times said.

Sources familiar with another investigation said JPMorgan is suspected of botching a review of mortgage files that were mandated by a multibank settlement over foreclosure abuses.

The bank may have incorrectly reported on more than 5,000 mortgage files out of 880,000 that it had to review.

Other banks have also made mistakes in their reporting, the Times said, and the mistakes appear not to be deliberate. People close to the issue said JPMorgan may have overestimated the problems found in the review.


Atlanta's airport is busiest in 2012

WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- The busiest U.S. airport in 2012 was Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Airports Council International reported.

The trade group said 95.4 million passengers flew in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last year.

The second-busiest U.S. airport last year was Chicago's O'Hare International with 66.3 million passengers, followed by Los Angeles International with 63.7 million passengers.

The busiest travel hubs in the United States included Dallas/Fort Worth International, Denver International, John F. Kennedy International in New York City, San Francisco International, Charlotte Douglas International in North Carolina, McCarran International in Las Vegas and Sky Harbor International in Phoenix, Airport Council International said.

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