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May 11, 2012 at 5:59 PM
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Stock indexes mixed at close of trading

NEW YORK, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Friday, responding to a global downturn and jolted by a $2 billion loss announced by investment bank JPMorgan & Chase.

The blunder shook up financial stocks and JPMorgan shares fell 9.28 percent to close at $36.96.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 34.44 points or 0.27 percent, to 12,820.60.

The Nasdaq composite index picked up 0.18 point or 0.01 percent to 2,933.82.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.60 points or 0.34 to 1,353.39.

The listed volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 2.03 billion shares with 1,209 shares advancing and 1,828 declining.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note gained 1/32 to yield 1.845 percent.

The euro fell to $1.2916 from Thursday's $1.2936. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 79.94 yen from 79.93 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.63 percent, 56.34, to 8,953.31.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.57 percent, 31.57, to 5,575.52.

Spending for Mother's Day up this year

WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- Mother's Day spending is expected to increase by 8 percent from last year, a U.S. survey found.

The National Retail Federation survey of 8,700 consumers indicated that spending for Mother's Day -- Sunday --will total about $18.6 billion.

On average, $152 per mom is expected to be spent and that category includes grandmothers aunts and daughters, USA Today reported Friday.

"Mother's Day has become a more wide-reaching event," said Robert Passikoff, president of customer loyalty consulting firm Brand Keys.

That makes the day a "real opportunity for retail," he said.

Food prices boost CPI in China

BEIJING, May 11 (UPI) -- Sharp rises in food prices have slowed but food costs continued to push inflation in China last month, officials said.

The National Bureau of Statistics said inflation on an annual basis settled down to 3.4 percent in April, the decline largely due to the impact of warmer weather on food prices.

Although showing improvements from March, food prices were still the main driver of inflation in April, Xinhua reported. In April the annual inflation figure for food in China was 7 percent. In March, that figure stood at 7.5 percent.

"We expect that the consumer price index will continue falling in May and June, possibly to below 3 percent. But it will rebound in the third and fourth quarter with a recovery of economic growth," Xinhua quoted Wang Jun, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, as saying.

JPMorgan $2B losses had an audience

NEW YORK, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. and British regulators said they have been discussing market-jolting losses at JPMorgan & Chase for almost a month.

The New York Times reported Friday that inquiries, although none of them are formal yet, have centered on a derivatives trader based in London, who has been tagged with the nicknames "The London Whale" and "Voldemort."

The trader, Bruno Michel Iksil, had built up derivative positions valued at $100 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The bank said Thursday it had lost $2 billion in trades at its Chief Investment Office, a risk assessment branch where Iksil works.

Iksil did not return calls requesting a comment. He still works at the bank, the Journal said.

The fallout from the jarring loss included swift reactions from politicians as well as stock losses Friday.

Share prices recovered at several major firms, but JPMorgan prices were hit hard, its shares falling 7.9 percent in morning trading.

Chief Executive Officer James Dimon said Thursday the losses were "self-inflicted and this is not how we want to run a business."

By Friday pundits and politicians were calling the losses validation of the so-called "Volcker Rule," named after former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The rule is meant to limit or ban proprietary lending by commercial banks -- and prohibit them from owning hedge funds, which are storefronts for investment risks.

That rule, part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill, is set to go into effect July 21 but regulators are still working on details that could delay its implementation, the Journal reported.

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