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Feb. 12, 2013 at 6:33 PM
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Markets close mixed

NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed with the Dow edging back above 14,000 Tuesday after the Group of Seven nations took a stand against currency manipulation.

Ahead of a Group of 20 meeting in Moscow, the G7 nations of the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Britain and Italy sought to allay fears of a currency war.

Twenty-three of 30 Dow Jones industrial average components rose, led by Bank of America with shares up 3.29 percent. Alcoa shares rose 1.8 percent, while Hewlett-Packard shares rose 1.6 percent.

By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 47.46 points or 0.34 percent to 14,018.70. The Nasdaq composite index shed 5.51 points or 0.017 percent to 3,186.49. The Standard & Poor's 100 gained 2.42 points or 0.16 percent to 1,519.43.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,963 stocks advanced and 1,080 declined on a volume of 3.9 billion shared traded.

The 10-year treasury note fell 4/32 to yield 1.98 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro rose to $1.3456 from Monday's $1.3405. The dollar fell to 93.28 yen from 94.32 yen.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo climbed 1.94 percent, 215.96 points, to 11,369.12.

The FTSE 100 index in London gained 0.98 percent, 61.32 points, to 6,338.38.

Group of Seven makes currency pledge

LONDON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Group of Seven nations, all economic powerhouses, pledged Tuesday to coordinate policies to avoid government interference in currency rates.

A statement posted on the website of the Bank of England said the group "reaffirm[s] that our fiscal and monetary policies have been and will remain oriented towards meeting our respective domestic objectives using domestic instruments, and that we will not target exchange rates."

Part of the problem in the international community is that domestic policy can affect -- inadvertent or intentionally -- exchange rates, giving exporters a quick advantage if their currency's value goes down.

Venezuela recently announced it would devalue its currency 32 percent in an attempt to close a budget deficit. While that makes its exports cheaper to foreign countries, it also makes imports more expensive, which undercuts exports businesses that send goods to Venezuela.

The U.S. Federal Reserve in recent years has initiated several rounds of quantitative easing, meant to stimulate the economy. But the strategy drew quick criticism from other countries, including China and Brazil.

Japan has also been in a spotlight recently, as the yen has lost value sharply since the first of the year, when the new government stepped in which pledges of quantitative easing, a step also called "printing money," as the process -- the government purchasing assets -- puts more currency in circulation, which brings down its value.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Japan, a member of the Group of Seven, was vindicated by the statement.

The group "properly recognizes that the steps we are taking to beat deflation are not aimed at influencing currency markets," Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

Besides Japan, the Group of Seven nations includes the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

More than half living paycheck to paycheck

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- More than half of U.S. adults indicate they are living paycheck to paycheck with 8 percent indicating they are not earning enough for that, a survey found.

In the second survey sponsored by Allstate Financial, called the "Life Tracks" poll, researchers found 41 percent of those polled indicated they have no savings at the end of each month. An additional 8 percent indicated they do not earn enough to pay for essentials, the company said in a news release.

"Too many Americans are faced with financial challenges today that lead to an unstable future," Allstate Financial President and Chief Financial Officer Don Civgin said.

In the survey conducted in late December, only 46 percent of those earning $50,000 per year or less indicated they have a retirement plan. Conversely, 89 percent of those with $75,000 or more in earnings per year indicated they were working towards building up a retirement nest egg.

Education also made a difference. Among college graduates, 32 percent indicated they were living from paycheck to paycheck while 48 percent of those without a college degree indicated they were broke before the next paycheck arrived.

The survey was conducted Dec. 15-19 and polled 1,000 adults. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Crude oil tops $97 a barrel

NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices climbed above $97 per barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the Group of Seven addressed currency concerns.

Ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20 nations this week in Moscow, the G7 nations issued a statement opposing currency manipulation.

Emerging nations are considered the most likely to try currency manipulating to boost exports. The statement from the G7 is expected to calm fears of other countries following Venezuela's move last week to devalue the bolivar by 32 percent.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for March delivery added 57 cents and hit $97.51 per barrel.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline gained 2.25 cents to $3.045 per gallon. Heating oil added 052 cents to $3.2362 per gallon.

Natural gas was lost 3.7 cents to $3.253 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline, up for eight consecutive weeks, rose to $3.604 per gallon from Monday's $3.587 per gallon, AAA said.

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