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Nov. 9, 2012 at 6:39 PM
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U.S. markets back on positive track

NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes ended a two-day, post-election skid Friday, closing slightly up on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 4.07 points, 0.03 percent, and closed at 12, 815.38.

The Nasdaq picked up 9.29 points, 0.32 percent, to 2,904.87.

The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 2.34 points, 0.17 percent, to finish at 1,379.85.

In Washington, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said import prices rose 0.5 percent in October after economists had predicted they would remain unchanged.

The benchmark 10-year treasury yielded 1.618 percent.

The euro was $1.2715 Friday from $1.2746 Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar was 79.50 Friday from 79.46 yen Thursday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.9 percent, 79.55 points, to 8,757.60.

In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.11 percent, 6.37, to 5,769.68.

Fed begins stress tests

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The 2013 capital planning and stress test program for U.S. financial institutions is under way, the Federal Reserve Board said Friday.

The program includes the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review of 19 firms and the Capital Plan Review of an additional 11 bank-holding companies with at least $50 billion of total consolidated assets, the Fed said in a release.

The purpose of the reviews is to ensure larger, complex banking institutions have robust, forward-looking capital planning processes that, among other things, help ensure the institutions have sufficient capital to operate in times of economic and financial stress, the Fed said.

The financial institutions in the programs will be expected to have credible plans demonstrating they have sufficient capital to lend to households and businesses even under severely adverse conditions, among other things, the Fed said.

"The Federal Reserve has been focused -- and will remain focused -- on ensuring the nation's largest financial institutions have enough capital to weather severe, unexpected conditions and still continue lending to households and businesses," Fed Gov. Daniel Tarullo said.

Import prices up 0.5 percent in October

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. import prices rose 0.5 percent September to October, exceeding economists expectations, the Labor Department said Friday.

After rising 1.1 percent in September, economists expected prices to hold steady. Export prices, on the other hand, were unchanged month to month after rising 0.8 percent in September.

Import inflation in October was largely due to rising fuel prices, which rose 1.2 percent. Prices for non-fuel imports rose 0.3 percent in the month.

Export prices were flat with agricultural exports down 1.9 percent, the steepest drop since December 2011.

Non-agricultural export prices were up 0.2 percent.

The annual import inflation index tell a different story. Fuel import prices are up 1 percent October 2011 to October 2012, a dramatic decline from the 34.3 percent gain from October 2010 to October 2011.

Non-fuel import prices are up 0.1 percent on an annual basis.

Agricultural exports over 12 months rose 11.6 percent, nearly identical to the 11.5 percent gain from October 2010 to October 2011.

Non-agricultural export prices over 12 months are up 5.8 percent, the department said.

In the category of imported finished consumer goods, prices for medical, dental and pharmaceutical goods rose 0.7 percent, while prices for vehicles rose 0.3 percent, pushed by a 0.6 point rise in the price of passenger cars.

European air fares rose 3.7 percent in the month, which pushed overall import air passenger fares to a 2 percent rise.

Freight prices also rose, climbing 1.3 percent month to month, although import air freight prices are down 2.7 percent over the past year.

MoneyGram admits to fraud, fund laundering

DALLAS, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- MoneyGram International, a Dallas global money services business, admitted to money-laundering and wire fraud violations, the U.S. Justice Department said.

MoneyGram agreed to forfeit $100 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department, admitting to criminally aiding and abetting wire fraud and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, the Justice Department said Friday in a release.

"MoneyGram's broken corporate culture led the company to privilege profits over everything else," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. "MoneyGram knowingly turned a blind eye to scam artists and money launderers who used the company to perpetrate fraudulent schemes targeting the elderly and other vulnerable victims."

MoneyGram must retain a corporate monitor who will report regularly to the Justice Department for the next five years, Breuer said.

Court documents indicated MoneyGram, from 2004 until 2009, processing thousands of transactions for its agents who were known to be involved in an international scheme to defraud the public. MoneyGram profited by collecting fees and other money on the fraudulent transactions.

The scams generally targeted the elderly and other vulnerable groups and required the victims to send funds through Money Gram's money transfer system, the Justice Department said. The scams included posing as victims' relatives needing money fast, promising large cash prizes, offering expensive items for sale on the Internet at steeply discounted prices or employment opportunities as "secret shoppers."

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