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April 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM
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Dow reaches 13,000-point summit again

NEW YORK, April 17 (UPI) -- U.S. stock markets turned higher Tuesday, as yields on Spanish bonds turned lower, easing concerns of a financial meltdown in Europe.

Yields for 10-year benchmark notes dropped to 5.693 percent. The gap between Spanish and German bonds rose, however, with yields on 10-year German notes down to 1.67 percent.

On Wall Street, investors digested a housing report that there were 654,000 housing starts on an annual basis in March, fewer than expected. The Federal Reserve in Washington said industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utility firms, was unchanged from February to March.

In early afternoon trading, the the Dow Jones industrial average added 198.86 or 1.54 percent to 13,120.27. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index gained 57.84 points or 1.94 percent to 3,046.24. The Standard and Poor's 500 index added 21.32 points or 1.56 percent to 1,390.89.

The 10-year treasury note was down 7/32 to yield 2.007 percent.

The euro fell to $1.3132 from Monday's $1.3141. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 80.75 yen from Monday's 80.41 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.06 percent, 5.93, to 9,464.71.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 1.78 percent, 100.67, to 5,766.95.

MGM lobbying for Toronto casino, resort

TORONTO, April 17 (UPI) -- Entertainment giant MGM Resorts International has hired a Toronto firm to lobby for creating a major Las Vegas-style casino and resort, city officials said.

Alan Feldman, MGM's senior vice-president of public affairs, told the Globe and Mail newspaper in a telephone interview the corporation is considering investing as much as $6 billion in a project that could include hotels, a convention center, spas and full casino gaming.

"It's an amazing market, it's an amazing city," Feldman said. "We'd be prepared to invest an awful lot in the development of the concept."

MGM has hired the Sussex Strategy Group to lobby on its behalf at the municipal and provincial levels, the report said.

Rightist Mayor Rob Ford has expressed interest in a major casino development, but has said little about it publicly. At least two motions to examine the pros and cons of the idea are now before city hall committees.

On the provincial level, Ontario's Liberal minority government favors such a project that would create an estimated 4,000 jobs, the Globe said.

Housing starts dropped in March

WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- New home construction starts in the United States fell 5.8 percent February to March, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Housing starts dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000, compared with a revised figure for February of 694,000.

The rate of single-family housing starts in the month was 462,000, which was 0.2 percent below the revised annual rate for February of 463,000.

For multiple-unit housing starts -- projects with five or more living units -- the annual rate in March came to 178,000.

Permits issued for privately owned housing units rose 4.5 percent month to month to an annual rate of 747,000. A year earlier in March, the annual rate for permits issued stood at 574,000. The new rate is a 30.1 percent climb over the rate 12 months prior.

Permits issued are an indicator of what direction construction starts might take one or two months down the road.

Completed housing projects in March were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000, which is 4.2 percent above the revised figure for February of 576,000 units and 0.5 percent above March 2011 when 597,000 housing completions were posted.

Canada manufacturing sales off in February

OTTAWA, April 17 (UPI) -- Canadian manufacturing sales slid downward for a second month in February, off 0.3 percent to $49.1 billion, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday from Ottawa.

The dip came after a 1.3 percent decline in January and affected 11 of 21 industry groups, representing about 64 percent of Canadian manufacturing, the agency said.

"Motor vehicle assembly sales were down 8.7 percent, the first decline since June 2011," the report said. "Similarly, motor vehicle parts sales were down 7.2 percent, the first decrease since August."

The second largest decline was posted by food manufacturers, particularly in grains and seafood processing. Manufacturing sales in food were down 3.1 percent to $6.9 billion from a month earlier.

The aerospace sector posted a wild upward swing of 32.1 percent to $1.2 billion in February after a 32.7 percent drop in January, StatsCan said.

The non-metallic mineral product sector also saw a solid 22.9 percent jump to $1.2 billion as unseasonably warm winter weather helped the construction industry, the report said.

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