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U.S. markets rise

NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) -- U.S. stock markets appeared to defy gravity Thursday, heading higher despite a global downturn.

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With stocks lower in Asia and Europe, the Dow Jones industrial average added 155.53 points, or 1.24 percent, to 12,651.91.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 17.72 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,836.33.

The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 14.22 points, or 1.08 percent, to 1,329.10.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,166 stocks advanced and 920 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday said consumer prices for all items rose 1.7 percent in the past 12 months before seasonal adjustment.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said first-time unemployment benefit claims rose by 6,000 to 386,000 in the week ended Saturday.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 14/32 to yield 1.643 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2628 from Wednesday's $1.2557. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 79.40 yen from Wednesday's 79.48 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.22 percent, 18.95 points, to 8,568.89.

In London, the FTSE 100 index slid 0.31 percent, 16.76, to 5,467.05.


Europe's auto capacity may be too high

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DETROIT, June 14 (UPI) -- An auto industry expert said automakers in Europe need to reduce production capacity in order to stay competitive.

Richard Hanna, global automotive leader for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said: "These factories are very capital-intensive. They need to be sweating to make money.

"We don't see, overall, the European market growing. You have to take some capacity out," he said.

Due to the great recession, U.S. automakers trimmed manufacturing capacity by about 5 million vehicles per year, Hanna said.

Automakers are face a serious economic downturn in Europe and a possible disruption of financial systems if Greece or any other nation leaves the eurozone, the 17-country region that shares the euro as currency, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

"The current business environment in Europe is challenging and will require some tough decisions," said Ford Motor Co. spokesman Mark Truby.

"The industry still has not faced up to the overcapacity issues despite the severe economic issues since 2008," Truby said.

Chrysler and Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said all eyes on are the upcoming weekend election in Greece, which could decide the fate of the currency region.

"I think a lot depends now on what happens on June 17. I don't want to exaggerate the value of that vote, but it is going to be the catalyst for a variety of decisions," Marchionne said.

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Quarterly statements outline the story that has automakers on edge in Europe.

Ford, for example, lost $149 million in Europe in the first three months of 2012, after posting a $293 million profit for the last quarter in 2011.

General Motors came out even January through March in Europe in 2011 and lost $300 million on the continent in the first quarter this year, the newspaper said.


Poll: Small businesses back Obamacare

WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- Half of the respondents in a recent survey of small business owners said they prefer that the U.S. Supreme Court leave the Affordable Care Act mostly intact.

The bill, signed into law in 2010, could be upheld, struck down or modified by the country's high court.

A business advocacy group, Small Business Majority, said a recent poll of 800 business owners in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Texas and Virginia showed strong support for the law.

Fifty-percent of the respondents indicated they would like the Supreme Court to leave the bill, known in some circles as Obamacare, mostly upheld. Concurrently, a third of the respondents indicated they would like the court to cancel the healthcare program that many Republicans deem too costly.

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By an 8-to-1 majority, respondents indicated they would use their state's online insurance exchange program, while a 2-to-1 majority indicated they would like their state to set up an insurance exchange program.

The insurance exchange program is one that allows owners of independent businesses to join a larger risk pool.

Small Business Majority said 49 percent of entrepreneurs indicated their interest in buying insurance through the Affordable Care Act would increase when a tax credit for small businesses offering insurance becomes available to small business participants.

Small Business Majority said the survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The results have a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.


Nokia to phase out 10,000 jobs

ESPOO, Finland, June 14 (UPI) -- Finnish handset giant Nokia said Thursday it would phase out 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013 in a broad restructuring plan meant to save billions of dollars.

The total financial repositioning is not completely known. Nokia said it plans to sell some assets, such as its line of Vertu luxury mobile phones, which it is selling to EQT VI, a private equity firm. It said it was aiming to reduce operating cost by $2 billion by the end of next year.

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The company said it would cut research-and-development units, which would mean closure of Nokia facilities in Ulm, Germany, and Burnaby, Canada.

Its manufacturing plant in Salo, Finland, would close, although Nokia said it would keep its R&D unit in Salo going.

In a statement, Nokia said "this period of transition" includes a shakeup of its executive team.

Among the leadership changes, Nokia said Juha Putkiranta would serve as executive vice president of operations. Timo Toikkanen would take the post of executive vice president of mobile phones.

The company's chief marketing officer, Jerri DeVard, will "step down," Nokia said. Chris Weber would take the post of executive vice president of sales and marketing.

With the changes, Nokia is aiming to "focus on the products and services that our customers value most, while continuing to invest in the innovation that has always defined Nokia," said President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop.

Elop called the job cuts "a difficult consequence of the intended actions we believe we must take to ensure Nokia's long-term competitive strength."

Nokia employs 139,000 people, the company's Web site says.

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