UPI NewsTrack Business

April 3, 2013 at 1:00 PM
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U.S. stock indexes down

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes maintained their downward trend at midday Wednesday, reacting to a less-than-expected report on March job creation in the private sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped to 14,594.40, losing 67.61 points, or 0.46 percent, in midday trading.

The Nasdaq lost 21.36 points, or 0.66 percent, to 3,233.41.

The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 11.75 points, or 0.75 percent, to 1,558.51

Payroll processor ADP said private-sector employment rose by 158,000 jobs from February to March, less than the 251,000 jobs analysts had anticipated.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said, "Job growth moderated in March. ... The job market continues to improve, but in fits and starts."

The 10-year U.S. treasury note was yielding 1.824 percent in midday trading.

Against the dollar, the euro was 1.2837 Wednesday from Tuesday's $1.282. Against the yen, the dollar was 92.94 yen from 93.42 yen Tuesday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index closed at 12,362.20, adding 358.77 points, or 2.99 percent.

In London, the FTSE 100 lost 70.38 points, or 1.08 percent, to close at 6,420.28.

ADP: 158K new private-sector jobs in March

ROSELAND, N.J., April 3 (UPI) -- Private-sector employment in the United States rose by 158,000 jobs from February to March, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday.

Goods-producing employment rose by 7,000 jobs in March, the slowest in six months, ADP said. The construction sector added no net jobs while manufacturing added 6,000 jobs.

Service-providing jobs increased by 151,000, with professional/business services reporting the largest gain with 39,000 jobs added. Trade/transportation/utilities added 22,000 jobs and financial activities added 9,000 jobs.

Economists polled by MarketWatch.com said they expected the ADP report to indicate 251,000 jobs were created in the private sector for March.

"The U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in the month of March 2013, with the majority of the new jobs created by service providers," said Carlos A. Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP in Roseland, N.J. "Over the first quarter of 2013, the ADP National Employment Report has reported an average gain of 191,000 new private sector jobs per month."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said: "Job growth moderated in March. Construction employment gains paused as the rebuilding surge in the wake of Superstorm Sandy ended. Anticipation of healthcare reform may also be weighing on employment at companies with close to 50 employees. The job market continues to improve, but in fits and starts."

ADP said it revised job gains for the first two months of 2013 -- February's gain of 198,000 jobs was revised up by 39,000 to 237,000 while and January's 215,000 gain reported was revised down by 38,000 to 177,000.

Indian PM says 8 percent growth possible

NEW DELHI, April 3 (UPI) -- India's economy, currently posting 5 percent growth, can achieve 8 percent growth rate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told business leaders Wednesday.

"Growth has slowed to 5 percent, which is clearly disappointing ... We are seeing temporary downturn, partly due to global factors. We can get back to 8 percent growth rate," Singh told the annual meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Singh, whose government is battling rising fiscal deficits and inflation among other economic problems, assured business leaders the government would take speedy and decisive action to push growth. Those steps would include relaxing policies for foreign direct investments and to ease inflation.

He said corruption, bureaucratic inertia and difficulties of coalition politics are problems but such problems were present even earlier when the economy was growing at 8 percent, PTI reported.

His government has plans to lower the fiscal deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2017. Additionally, India's current account deficit, which reached a high of 5 percent of the GDP last fiscal year ended March due to higher imports and slower exports, is expected to moderate in the current fiscal year.

Samoa Air charges by weight, not seat

APIA, Samoa, April 3 (UPI) -- Samoa Air has begun charging passengers based on their weight to fly on its planes, charging about 42 cents per pound for each flight, officials said.

Airline officials said they are concerned about passenger weight because its fleet consists of small propeller planes that seat between three and 10 passengers, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

World Health Organization data indicate 55 percent of Samoans over age 20 are obese, meaning a severely overweight passenger could reduce a plane's capacity and threaten revenue.

"It's a pay-by-weight system and it's here to stay," Samoa Air Chief Executive Chris Langton told the Journal.

Langton said while a heavier passenger flying on Samoa Air would pay more, the airline would ensure the bigger passenger has more room.

"We are like a shopkeeper; we are selling weight," he said. "But with the weight goes the responsibility of being able to seat the passenger comfortably."

Even though Samoa Air charges by the pound, many of the world's airlines have been reluctant to charge based on a passenger's weight because of discrimination concerns, the Journal said.

Some carriers in the U.S., including Southwest Airlines, require passengers unable to fit into a regular coach seat to buy an extra ticket on full flights.

Samoa Air, which started up in June, flies regularly between Samoa and American Samoa, along with several domestic flights.

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