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June 9, 2009 at 4:37 PM
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U.S. market mixed Tuesday

NEW YORK, June 9 (UPI) -- The Dow Jones industrial average flirted with its break-even point for the year, coming close to where it started on January 2.

By close, the DJIA lost 1.43 points, or 0.02 percent, to 8,763.06. The DJIA started the year at 8,776.39 points.

The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.35 percent, 3.29 points, to 942.43. The Nasdaq composite index added 17.73 points, 0.96 percent, to 1,860.13.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,812 stocks advanced and 1,191 declined on a volume of 4.8 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 9/32 to yield 3.864 percent.

The euro rose to $1.4066, compared to Monday's $1.3908. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell to 97.41 yen, compared to Monday's 98.43 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei average lost 78.81 points, 0.8 percent, to 9.786.82.

In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 0.43 points, 0.01 percent, to 4,404.79.

New York to charge loan modifier in suit

ALBANY, N.Y., June 9 (UPI) -- New York State's probe into loan modification businesses includes plans to file civil charges against one loan negotiator, a law enforcement official said.

The suit against Long Island's largest loan modification company will charge the company, AmeriMod, with false advertising and illegally charging upfront fees.

Fifteen other companies are expected to receive subpoenas, the official said.

Company owner Salvatore Pane told Newsday Tuesday that AmeriMod is "following compliance per the law, which changes constantly."

"At all times, we've cooperated 100 percent and look forward to continuously working to stay in compliance," he said.

The company, which advertises a success rate of above 90 percent, is one of many that have sprung up promising to negotiate better terms on mortgages for troubled homeowners. Some charge thousands of dollars for their services, including upfront fees, which are illegal, the newspaper said.

"The economic downturn has bred an industry of scam artists and opportunists preying on vulnerable consumers who are fighting to stay in their homes," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

"Our investigation is aimed at cleaning up this industry and protecting homeowners," he said.

Ten banks can return TARP funds

WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said 10 large financial firms were strong enough to return billions of dollars of emergency bailout funds to the government.

The firms, including American Express, Capital One Financial, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, were expected to return $68.3 billion of the federal aid doled out through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Treasury said Morgan Stanley could return its TARP funding, even though it was ordered to raise $1.8 billion to increase its capital cushion when the Treasury released details of its bank stress tests a month ago.

Twenty-two smaller banks have already returned $1.9 billion to the government. Some of assets of 10 bigger banks, however, are still covered by warrants worth about $4.6 billion, which keeps those assets under government control for the time being.

"These repayments are an encouraging sign of financial repair, but we still have work to do," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a department release.

With aid tarnishing the industry's image, restrictions on executive compensation and a total of $1.8 billion in annual interest payments, "there isn't a bank chief executive officer … that didn't want to get out as fast as they can," investment banker Brian Sterling at Sandler O'Neill told the Times.

GM names former AT&T chief as chairman

DETROIT, June 9 (UPI) -- Bankrupt U.S. automaker General Motors Corp. said former AT&T Chief Executive Officer Edward Whitacre Jr. would take over as the company's new chairman.

Interim Chairman Kent Kresa would continue to serve on the board, but six other board members would step aside while the company is in bankruptcy, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Four board members would be retained, as would Chief Executive Officer Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, the company said.

Previous Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner resigned in March under government pressure that the automaker, which filed for bankruptcy June 1, needed new leadership.

"I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention," Whitacre said.

He takes over while the company is in an unprecedented downsizing. GM has said it would close 14 factories this year and lay off 21,000 workers. A government-backed plan in bankruptcy court calls for a federal infusion of $30.1 billion on top of $19.4 billion the government has already loaned to the company.

If the plan holds, the government will own 60 percent of GM when it emerges from bankruptcy.

Czech economy officially in recession

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, June 9 (UPI) -- The Czech economy is in recession after it declined 3.4 percent in the first quarter this year when compared with the same quarter in 2008, officials said.

This was the second quarter in a row with a drop in the gross domestic product, the Czech statistics office said Tuesday. It failed to reveal the figures for the economic decline in the last quarter of 2008.

The drop in the GDP is to be mainly blamed on slowing down production such as Czech car industry.

The Czech national bank forecast the economy would drop 2.4 percent for all of 2009, Prague Radio reported.

Consumer prices inflation in May amounted to an annual rate of 1.3 percent, the lowest since January 2007, the statistics office said.

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