UPI NewsTrack Business

April 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Markets shoot higher

NEW YORK, April 2 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes shot up higher in early trading Tuesday as the Commerce Department said factory orders rose in February by 3 percent.

In Europe, statistical agency Eurostat said unemployment in February rose from 10.8 percent to 12 percent. Markit Economics said Britain's manufacturing sector remained in a slump, but U.S. investors shrugged off those reports.

In late morning trading, the DJIA added 95.59 points, or 0.66 percent, to 14,668.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10.02 points, or 0.64 percent, to 1,572.19. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.73 percent, adding 23.57 points, to 3,262.74.

Ten-year U.S. treasury bonds fell 9/32 to yield 1.866 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro fell to $1.2837 from Monday's $1.2849. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 93.43 yen from 93.24 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.08 percent, 131.59 points, to 12,003.43.

Apple apologizes to Chinese customers

BEIJING, April 2 (UPI) -- The head of Apple Inc., Tim Cook, has apologized to Chinese customers after the company was hit with a deluge of complaints that appeared partly contrived.

"We realize that a lack of communication in this process has led the outside to believe that Apple is arrogant and doesn't care or value consumers' feedback. We sincerely apologize for any concern or misunderstanding this has brought to the customers," the company's chief executive officer wrote in an open letter to the Chinese people.

The complaints began with an annual segment on China's largest state-run television network on International Consumer's Day, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

In the segment that investigates corporate missteps, Apple was singled out because its one-year warranty fell short of a two-year legal requirement and because some customers had to replace back covers on iPhones at a cost of $90.

The criticism then escalated quickly. Other state-run television stations kept up the criticism and the People's Daily, an official government newspaper, kept up the attack with articles, including one that was titled, "Defeat Apple's Incomparable Arrogance," the Times said.

Chinese celebrities also began to criticize Apple on a social service Web site called Weibo.

That is where the criticism looked especially trumped up, as one of the Tweet-like celebrity comment on Weibo ended with "to publish around 8:20 p.m.," even though it is expected that comments on the Web site are spontaneous.

Analysts are considering various motivations behind the assault, including backlash for a Congressional decision to restrict Chinese telecommunications suppliers Huawei and ZTE from doing business in the United States on concerns about spying.

The government could also be attempting to show who is in charge, some said.

Associate professor or law at Santa Clara University Anna Han said Apple's letter was a "very Chinese thing to do."

The apology "sort of takes the wind out of the government's sails," she said. "It says, 'We're accused of something and we're doing something about it.'"

Factory orders rose 3 percent in February

WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- Factory orders for U.S. manufactured goods rose 3 percent in February to the highest level since 1992, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

With orders up by $14.5 billion to $492 billion, the department's U.S. Census Bureau News said fresh business for factories was at the highest level since it adopted new accounting methods, making comparisons to earlier years difficult.

The department also revised its figure for January, reporting that new orders dropped 1 percent, not 2 percent as was previously reported.

Factory orders have risen two of the past three months.

Shipments, up five of the past six months, rose 0.9 percent to $489.3 billion, also the highest level since 1992. Factory inventories, rising for the third consecutive month, also hit a modern record, climbing 0.2 percent to $620 billion.

New orders for durable goods, which dropped 3.7 percent in January, increased 5.6 percent to $232.2 billion. Orders for big-ticket transportation items -- trucks, ship, planes and trains -- provided the biggest push in the increase, rising 21.8 percent or $13.3 billion to $74.5 billion.

New orders for non-durable goods, which are goods expected to last less than three years, also rose, climbing 0.8 percent to $259.8 billion.

Eurozone unemployment hits 12 percent

BRUSSELS, April 2 (UPI) -- Unemployment in the 17-member eurozone jumped to 12 percent in February, the region's statistical office said Tuesday.

The unemployment rate moved up from 11.8 percent reported in January. The unemployment rate in the overall European Union, which has 27 members, also increased, going from 10.7 percent to 10.9 percent.

By comparison, the post-financial crisis unemployment rate in the United States peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and stands at 7.7 percent as of February. The U.S. report for March is expected Friday.

The sovereign debt crisis and a region-wide strategy of austerity budgeting has contributed to Europe's struggles to reduce its unemployment rate.

Not surprisingly, the highest unemployment rates are in countries with an acute financial crisis. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus all have turned to international bailouts over the last four years.

In Greece, the unemployment rate was listed at 26.4 percent using the most current data, which is from December 2012. In Spain, unemployment is at 26.3 percent as of February. Portugal's unemployment rate held at 17.5 percent in February. In Cyprus, unemployment for February reached 14 percent, a sharp jump from January, when the island nation's unemployment rate was 13.7 percent.

Other eyebrow-raising unemployment rates were posted by Slovakia at 14.6 percent, Italy at 11.6 percent, Poland at 10.6 percent, Lithuania at 13.1 percent, France at 10.8 percent, Ireland at 14.2 percent and Bulgaria at 12.5 percent.

The lowest unemployment rates in Europe are in Austria, where unemployment held steady at 4.8 percent in February, Germany with a rate of 5.4 percent, Luxembourg with a rate of 5.5 percent and the Netherlands at 6.2 percent.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories