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July 6, 2010 at 7:18 PM
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U.S. markets hold on to gains

NEW YORK, July 6 (UPI) -- U.S. markets clung to early gains Tuesday as the Agricultural Bank of China raised more than $19 billion in its initial public offering.

After an early burst of buying, gains melted away, as the Dow Jones industrial average rose to 9,841.63 early, up 152 points, before losing ground.

Most Dow components were still ahead at the close, but shares of Home Depot Inc. fell 1.51 percent, while Verizon Communications shares dropped 0.75 percent.

Twenty-two of the Dow's components rose, snapping a seven-session losing streak for the index. At the top of the list was Microsoft Corp., up 2.36 percent, and Alcoa Inc., up 2.1 percent.

Investors were buoyed by positive numbers in stocks in Asia and Europe. Known as AgBank, the last large bank in China to go public, meanwhile, raised at least $19.2 billion in one of the largest IPOs on record.

By close in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 57.14 points, 0.59 percent, to 9,743.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 5.48 or 0.54 percent to 1,028.06. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.1 percent, 2.09 points, to 2,093.88.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,488 stocks advanced and 1,532 declined on a volume of 4.6 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note gained 12/32 to yield 2.936 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2624 from Friday's $1.254. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 87.55 yen from Friday's 87.74 yen.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 0.77 percent, 71.26, to 9,338.04.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 index added 2.93 percent, 141.47, to 4,965.00.

SEC rule squeezes campaign funding

BOSTON, July 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's rule change on pension funds could affect the run for the top job in Massachusetts and elsewhere, experts said.

Last week the SEC said investment firms that manage pension funds would be barred from managing any fund for two years if they contributed to a politician in charge of the same fund.

The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who is chairman of the state's pension plans, received $2,350 in June from executives at Fidelity Investments, which manages $640 million of the state's pension fund.

Spokespersons for Fidelity and Cahill, an independent gubernatorial candidate, both said they would abide by new rules when they take effect.

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said, "It really is simply applying fundamental conflict and appearance-of-conflict laws to where money and power intersect."

"This ban eliminates a practice that was very prevalent," he said.

Gov. Deval Patrick also faces a change in his campaign finances. Patrick's re-election campaign raised $1,500 from investment industry executives in June. Two hundred dollars came from a Fidelity employee, the newspaper said.

"We'll certainly take a look at it (the new rule) and review the impact," said Alex Goldstein, a spokesman for the governor.

Human error caused data leak in Bay State

BOSTON, July 6 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts secretary of state's office said human error was the reason personal information on 139,000 investment advisers was leaked.

Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, said a new employee inadvertently sent the names and Social Security numbers of the investment advisers to the publication AI Week, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

The information, which included locations of birth and personal descriptors such as eye color, was mailed to the trade publication in response to a request from the Securities Division for a list of registered investment companies.

"It was a pretty big mistake. It's pretty shocking, because it's such a large number of people," said IA Week publisher Carl Ayers.

IA returned the information in June, then published information on the mistake last week. The firm said it did not copy the information, leading the state to ponder whether to inform the advisers personally of the breach, which they would have to do by law if information was leaked.

Such leaks are becoming a common part of modern life. State authorities in Massachusetts have fielded 800 reports of improper data leaks involving more than 1 million Bay State residents, the newspaper said.

Big banks push for California customers

LOS ANGELES, July 6 (UPI) -- Some of the country's biggest banks say they are looking to expand in California, land of 37 million customers, sunshine -- and high unemployment.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., which purchased Washington Mutual, said it is planning to add hundreds of new branches to the 700 locations it already has in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

U.S. Bancorp, buyer of Downey Savings, Pomona First Federal Bank and California National Bank, has expanded its presence in California to 660 branches since the financial meltdown opened opportunities to do so.

Although its headquarters is in New York, Citibank is also expanding in California, the newspaper said.

The biggest in the state, Wells Fargo & Co., with $1.1 trillion in assets, and Bank of America, with $1.7 trillion, are not taking the assault lying down.

"I'd like to see it become one in every two households over the next five years," said Lisa Stevens, president of Wells Fargo's retail operations, referring to the current status of the bank, which serves one in every three households currently.

The competition appears to play in customers' favor. California has among the lowest average overdraft fees in the country, some of them less than $20 compared with averages near $25 in other parts of the country, Bankrate.com said.

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