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UPI NewsTrack Business

April 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM   |   Comments

U.S. jobs report hurts stocks

NEW YORK, April 5 (UPI) -- A report that showed only 88,000 U.S. jobs were added in March reversed the mood on Wall Street Friday, sending stocks downward.

Economists had expected 200,000 new jobs but the total turned out to be the lowest in 10 months. Although the jobless rate was down a notch, to 7.6 percent, it was largely due to people dropping out of the workforce.

By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.28 percent, losing 40.86 points, to 14,565.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.43 percent, 6.70 points, to to 1,553.28. The Nasdaq composite index of tech-dominated stocks gave up 0.65 percent, 21.12 points, to 3,203.86.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,463 stocks advanced and 1,601 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.

The 10-year U.S. treasury note rose 15/32 to yield 1.714 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was higher at $1.2995 from Thursday's $1.2936. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 97.55 yen from Thursday's 96.34 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 1.58 percent, 199.10 points, to 12,833.64.

In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 1.49 percent, 94.34 points, to 6,249.78.


HP chairman gives up top post

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 5 (UPI) -- U.S. technology giant Hewlett-Packard said board Chairman Raymond Lane would resign as chairman, but remain a board member.

At a shareholder meeting in March, Lane was named on 59 percent of the ballots, which secured his re-election. However, a vote tally below 60 percent is considered a very poor showing, The New York Times reported Friday.

Two other board members -- John Hammergren, who received 54 percent of the vote and G. Kennedy Thompson, who received 55 percent -- left the board after receiving such weak support.

"Having under 60 percent is not a vote of confidence. They worked hard to secure support, and in the end they barely got a majority for these three people. It reflected the sins of the past," said Toni Sacconaghi, an industry analyst with Bernstein Research.

"Directors must be willing to ask tough questions, challenge assumptions and have the capacity to walk away from a deal that is unlikely to add value for shareholders," said ISS, a proxy advisory firm.

"That clearly didn't happen at HP, and shareholders hold Mr. Lane accountable for that failure," the firm said.

Lane was chairman when HP replaced Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd with Leo Apotheker, Hurd having left quickly after it surfaced that he had had an affair with a contracted employee.

Apotheker didn't last a year but, while there, he agreed to the acquisition of Autonomy, a British software company, for $11 billion.

That expensive deal has not paid off. In 2012, HP said it had been deceived about the health of the software firm and took an accounting charge of more than $8 billion on the deal.


Automaker Fisker lays off most workers

ANAHEIM, Calif., April 5 (UPI) -- Workers at California car company Fisker Automotive said most of the company's workers were handed possibly their final checks and sent home Friday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the company laid off 160 out of 200 workers, keeping about 40 as it struggles to find an investor to pump new cash into the company.

In March, the maker of the $110,000 plug-in hybrid Karma -- its only model -- retained bank law firm Kirkland & Ellis to help stir up options to keep the company going.

Fisker is courting three Chinese companies with hopes of securing an investment, the Times reported.

"They pulled back another layer as they try to work out a last-minute deal. They need to do a deal quickly and they know it and are working on it," said Mike Sullivan, who owns a Fisker dealership in Southern California.

The company is attempting to raise $500 million, the Times said. It has been struggling since its lithium-ion battery supplier A123 Systems Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Any new financing deal is contingent on regaining access to a U.S. Department of Energy loan that was frozen, which gave the company a severe cash-flow problem, the report said.

Fisker owes the government $192 million. The first payment on that debt is due the end of April, the Times said.


Women-owned businesses on the rise

NEW YORK, April 5 (UPI) -- U.S. businesses owned by women are generating more than $1 trillion in revenue each year, an American Express report said.

The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report used data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey that is done every five years, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Results of the latest survey are projections based on data from 1997, 2002 and 2007. The report says revenue from women-owned businesses will reach $1.3 trillion in 2013.

About 7.8 million people are employed by women-owned businesses.

Only one state has more than a million women-owned businesses, California, which has 1.1 million, the report says.

The report says the number of women-owned businesses has more than doubled since 1997, but their significance, compared with the rest of the business community has not changed much in that time.

Women-owned businesses generate about 4 percent of all business revenue in the country and hire about 6 percent of the workforce. That is little changed since 1997, the report says.

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