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April 3, 2013 at 5:12 PM
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U.S. stock indexes open down, close down

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes maintained a downward trend throughout the trading session Wednesday, reacting to a lackluster report on March private-sector job creation.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped to 14,550.35, losing 111.66 points, or 0.76 percent, in late afternoon trading.

The Nasdaq composite lost 36.26 points, or 1.11 percent, to 3,218.60.

The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 16.56 points, or 1.05 percent, to 1,553.69.

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 1.813 percent in midday trading.

On the New York Stock Exchange, the total share volume was 4.04 billion shares. Decliners outpaced gainers 3.4 billion shares to 583 million shares.

Against the dollar, the euro was $1.2848 from $1.2822 Tuesday. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 93 from 93.36 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, closing at 6,420.28.

Census Bureau: Child-care costs rise

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Child-care costs nearly doubled in the last 25 years, but the percentage of families who pay for child care dropped, a U.S. Census Bureau report said Wednesday.

The amount of family income spent on child care has hovered around 7 percent between 1986, when data were first collected, and 2011, for families who paid for child care even despite child-care costs rising for the same period, the Census Bureau report said in a release.

Families with an employed mother and children younger than the age of 15 paid an average of $143 per week for child care in 2011, up from $84 in 1985, the report indicated.

The percentage of families who said they made a payment for child care for at least one of their children fell from 42 percent in 1997 to 32 percent in 2011, the Census Bureau document said.

Since 1997, use of organized day care centers and father-provided care for preschoolers rose, while the proportion of children cared for by non-relatives in the provider's home declined, the report said.

"Perhaps the most critical decision parents make in balancing their work and home life is choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work," said report author Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer in the Census Bureau's Fertility and Family Statistics unit. "This report is unique in that it is not only the sole study from the Census Bureau on this topic, but also provides a consistent time-series on trends going back to the mid-1980s."

The information was collected in the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Minister: Italy to repay debt sans taxes

ROME, April 3 (UPI) -- The Italian government won't use regional income tax hikes to help repay its debt to companies, the Economy Ministry said Wednesday.

Government officials met Tuesday to establish a time line to repay the nearly $51.4 billion and to establish tax measures to do so, ANSA reported.

Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said last week the government wouldn't borrow money to repay its debt to the private sector over the next two years.

"We hope that eventually the rights of the companies will be recognized," said Giorgio Squinzi, head of Confindustria, Italy's main industrial employers' association. "Businesses are suffering desperately from the lack of credit. There is a sense of despair affecting many entrepreneurs."

Pemex research unit, Exxon sign tech pact

MEXICO CITY, April 3 (UPI) -- Pemex, Mexico's state oil giant, said its exploration and production unit signed a five-year technical agreement with Exxon Mobil Corp. Wednesday.

The company said the agreement's goal was to collaborate in research, science, technology and human-resources training for the exploration, drilling, production, transportation and storage of hydrocarbons, MarketWatch.com reported.

The agreement doesn't involve paid services, Pemex said without elaboration.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had pledged to make oil reform a key issue of his administration in an effort to break a state monopoly. He recently said Pemex wouldn't be sold or privatized, but it would be modernized.

Mexico is a net exporter of crude, MarketWatch.com said, but production has fallen to just below 3 million barrels in 2011 from nearly 4 million barrels in 2003-2004.

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