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UPI NewsTrack Business

March 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM   |   Comments

U.S. stock markets make tentative gains

NEW YORK, March 28 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes rose tentatively Thursday as global markets reversed themselves from Wednesday by heading lower in Asia and higher in Europe.

Investors are keeping an eye on developments in Cyprus, where banks opened after 12 days with restrictions on withdrawals to ensure account holders don't overrun the country's troubled banking institutions.

The Kansas City Federal Reserve bank said manufacturing in the district was in contraction, although the pace of contraction had slowed since February.

In late morning trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 42.09 points, or 0.29 percent, to 14,568.25.

The S&P 500 gained 3.65 points, 0.23 percent, to 1,566.50.

The tech-oriented Nasdaq composite index added 3.83 points, 0.12 percent, to 3,260.35.

Ten-year U.S. treasury bonds fell 1/32 to yield 1.853 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro rose to $1.2814 from Wednesday's $1.2779. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 94.18 yen from 94.46 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.26 percent, 157.83 points, to 12,335.96.


Banks reopen cautiously in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus, March 28 (UPI) -- Authorities in Cyprus said they would maintain tight control on money transfers as the banks reopened on Thursday after nearly two weeks.

Banks were shut down for a routine holiday, but officials kept banks closed for 12 days through the ups and downs of securing a $13 billion bailout from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Officials imposed caps on withdrawals from bank accounts at $383 for individuals and at $3,900 for anyone leaving the country, Voice of America reported.

The New York Times said credit account withdrawals are capped at $6,400 per month.

Officials are trying to prevent a run on Cypriot banks, as larger accounts in the country's troubled banks could be taxed 40 percent or more to help pay for the bailout.

Security at banks, which opened at noon, was tight and bank employees appeared grim as they prepared to deal with irate account holders, who lined up 50-deep outside of some bank entrances, the Times said.


ICBC reports $38B profit for 2012

BEIJING, March 28 (UPI) -- China's Industrial and Commercial Bank of China reported earnings of $38.4 billion in 2012, making it the world's most profitable bank.

The bank on its website said the 2012 earnings were up 14.5 percent from $33.2 billion in 2011. Earnings per share for the year were $10.67, up from $9.40 in 2011.

The bank reported total assets of $2.78 trillion and outstanding loans of $2.37 trillion at the end of 2012.

ICBC President Yang Kaisheng, however, said Chinese lenders would face great challenges and tests on their asset quality this year due to moves by China's central bank to widen the range of interest rates last year, China Daily reported.

"We must be on high alert on the trend and prepare in advance," he told a news conference in Beijing.

Guo Tianyong, director of the Research Center of the Chinese Banking Industry at Central University of Finance and Economics, told China Daily he expects average profit growth this year among major banks to fall to about 10 percent.

"The economic growth still faces great uncertainties and we can't expect a strong recovery this year. In addition, the authorities are gearing up to strengthen interest rate liberalization, with some major breakthroughs in the pipeline, which will substantially narrow banks' interest margin," Guo said.


Honda sets up motorcycle unit in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 28 (UPI) -- Japan's Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced it was setting up a motorcycle plant and sales subsidiary in Kenya.

The company said Honda Motorcycle Kenya Ltd. in Nairobi will begin operations in September and will focus on production and wholesale business. It will have an initial annual production capacity of 25,000 units.

Honda said the facility will initially employ about 60 people and will establish a system and capability for global parts sourcing and deliver high-quality products at affordable prices.

Honda also has subsidiaries in South Africa and Nigeria.

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