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Cisco Systems led the Dow Jones industrial average slightly higher Thursday after the technology company reported higher sales. Mixed corporate earnings and economic reports kept the major stock indexes flipping between slight gains and losses.
Shortly after noon, the Dow was up 12 points at 15,288. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up less than a point at 1,659.
The news on the economy Thursday wasn’t encouraging. Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, and manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region. The manufacturing report from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve sent bond prices up in morning trading and turned stocks lower, but not for long.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of that this year,” said Scott King, an investment adviser at Unified Trust Co. in Lexington, Ky. “The news isn’t great, yet the market holds tight.”
Cisco jumped 13 percent, or $2.68, to $23.87. Cisco turned in quarterly results late Wednesday that beat analysts’ expectations, with the help of better revenue from the U.S. and emerging markets.
The networking equipment company sells its routers, switches, software and services to corporate customers and government agencies around the world. As a result, Cisco’s performance is often considered a gauge of how the technology industry is doing.
The Nasdaq rose 8 points to 3,479, a gain of 0.2 percent.
Wal-Mart fell 2 percent, the biggest drop among the 30 Dow stocks. The world’s largest retailer turned in weaker sales and a dim forecast for profits. The company blamed bad weather and delayed tax refunds for earnings and sales that fell short of what analysts had expected. Wal-Mart’s stock lost $1.68 to $78 business card.11.
Companies have reported record quarterly profits this earnings season. Seven of every 10 in the S&P 500 have trumped analysts’ earnings estimates, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings have climbed 5 percent over the year before.
But revenue has looked weak: six out of every 10 companies in the S&P 500 have missed forecasts, and revenue has edged up just 1 percent. Without higher sales, companies are getting more of their profits from laying off staff and other cost-cutting moves.
If the market is going to keep climbing this year, King said, sales will have to start rising. Analysts are looking for that to happen as economic growth gains strength later this year.
“It’s hard to see how companies can squeeze more earnings growth out of cost savings,” King said. “At some point, the economic numbers and revenue have to pick up.”
The Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported that manufacturers in the region said business conditions have slumped this month. Orders for manufactured goods and shipments have been weak.
In Washington, the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 360,000. That suggests companies are laying more people off, just one week after applications for benefits hit a five-year low.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 1.88 percent from 1.94 percent late Wednesday. It’s a sign that traders are shifting money into low-risk investments like U.S. government debt.
Under no fax paydayloans, an applicant can apply for any amount between $100 and $1500, considering the importance of the ends.
European stocks fell for the first time in five days and U.S. equity-index futures dropped before a report that may show American retail sales slipped. Oil declined while the yen swung between gains and losses after sliding beyond 102 per dollar for the first time since October 2008.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.5 percent at 6:05 a.m. in New York. Standard & Poor
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William C. Dudley said European economic weakness and U.S. budget woes mean
A man is charged with second-degree murder after a woman was found dead early Saturday morning in a Toronto Community Housing apartment in Regent Park.
The woman, Natasha Perez, 28, was found in the kitchen of a 24th-floor unit having suffered “sharp-force injury,” said homicide Det. Sgt Gary Giroux, noting a household knife was found on the scene.
Police were called to 220 Oak St., near Gerrard St. and the Don Valley Parkway shortly before 6 a.m. after a man called 911 from the apartment, said Giroux. The man was taken into custody at the scene.
Brian Harte, 42, of Toronto, is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Sunday.
Giroux said it is not clear what the relationship was between the accused and the victim.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident arose from a “dispute,” according to Staff Sgt. Kevin Guest.
Abena Oduro, who lives in the highrise, said she did not know the victim personally, but added she would often see a man in the building who other residents said was the victim’s boyfriend. She described him as “white with a goatee and tattoos.”
“He wouldn’t say a word whenever I was in the elevator with him.”
Oduro said dangerous activity is not uncommon in her building.
“Believe me, a lot of things are going on here,” she said. “A lot of the people in this building, 99 per cent of them do drugs or deal them.”
On Feb. 6, another resident of the building was shot in the chest when he opened the door of his second-floor apartment. He survived.
An explosion during a training exercise at a military ammunition storage facility in western Nevada is believed to have killed "several" people, a U.S. military spokeswoman said Tuesday.
An official at the facility in western Nevada said the explosion occurred late Monday during a U.S. Marine training exercise.
Marines spokeswoman Kendra Motz said "several" people had been killed by the explosion, but declined to comment further no faxing payday loan.
Hawthorne Army Depot is a 147,000 acre site used for storing ammunition and other military equipment.
Reuters is reporting seven marines were killed.
ROME—When popes start paying their own hotel bills, there’s no telling what will happen next.
The now-famous papal checkout Thursday was an early sign that times at the Roman Catholic Church may be changing. Pope Francis followed it with his first sermon, imploring the church to move forward.
“Life is a journey. When we stop, things don’t go right,” he warned the assembled cardinals at a mass in the Sistine Chapel.
How far he’ll move the church is the talk of even some cardinals.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal, said he sees “a little of John XXIII” in Francis. That’s the pope who modernized the church with the historic reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. A battle on how to interpret those changes has deeply divided the church between progressives and traditionalists.
Francis devoted his whole sermon to movement, making clear he wants a church that renews itself even as it remains anchored to the Gospel. He also made clear that simply proclaiming Christianity isn’t enough. Words must be accompanied by deeds.
So far, Francis’s deeds have been simple but highly symbolic gestures, such as paying his hotel bill.
“He was not obliged to do so,” said a surprised Turcotte, who has known Francis well for 20 years. “He was there at 9, all dressed in white. And the kitchen personnel and those who did the washing and so forth went crazy like hell.”
In an interview, Turcotte called it one of the “little signs that he will be a pope close to poor people.” Vatican spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica said Pope Francis “was concerned about giving a good example about what priests and bishops should do.”
It’s a gesture, in other words, likely to send shivers down the spines of pampered prelates who run the Vatican’s bureaucracy, known as the Curia. It’s full of senior clerics who relish the trappings of power. When not working to further centralize power in Rome, they have made fine dining and infighting an embarrassing art form.
Grabbing control of the Curia — including making heads roll — was widely discussed by cardinals in pre-conclave talks. Aides close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires elected pope on the fifth ballot, have told Italian media that reforming the Curia is a top priority.
He made his sentiments clear in an interview with Turin’s La Stampa newspaper in 2012, when he was still a cardinal.
“Being a cardinal is a service, not an honour. Vanity, boasting about yourself — those are attitudes of spiritual worldly pleasure, which is the worst sin of the church,” he said.
“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church,” he added, insisting on a church that reaches out to meet people wherever they are.
Turcotte said he hopes Latin America’s first pope decentralizes power to dioceses and parishes around the world — a key demand of a growing number of rebel priests in Europe and North America.
Reformers insist that a more democratic, grassroots and transparent church was at the heart the Second Vatican Council, also known as Vatican II. Those reforms were hijacked, they say, by popes and Curia prelates focusing power in Rome for the past three decades.
Francis, a Jesuit priest, is the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years. The historic selection mirrors a Roman Catholic Church dwindling in the northern part of the world while growing in the south. It comes on the heels of another historic move, when Benedict XVI stunned Catholics by becoming the first pope to retire in 600 years.
Turcotte flatly said the fact that Francis is from South America was a factor in his vote. On the other hand, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, said geography never crossed his mind.
“He’s from Argentina and this is great,” Collins told reporters after a joint news conference with Turcotte. It’s a statement on “the importance of the church beyond Europe,” he added.
Francis, 76, was a surprise winner, despite coming in second to Benedict in the 2005 election. He was seen by some as too old and too moderate.
When he won, “he got a standing ovation” from the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, Turcotte said. After winning over thousands of rain-soaked supporters in St. Peter’s Square, Francis and the cardinals had a festive supper of pasta, veal, ice cream and plenty of wine, Turcotte added.
Francis then said a few words: “May God forgive you for what you have done,” he told the cardinals, who burst out laughing.
Quebec’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was among the front-runners for pope, did not attend the news conference with the two other Canadian cardinals.
Turcotte told reporters he would be “surprised” if Ouellet was disappointed he did not become pope.
“To accept a job like that requires heroism — it’s not easy. And I imagine that Msgr. Ouellet must feel a great relief,” Turcotte said. “He was a serious candidate who was considered by many people as a brilliant man.
“I saw him yesterday and he didn’t seem like a miserable man,” he added.
Collins described being in a taxi and getting this assessment of the new pope from the driver: “He’s a very simpatico man, Papa Francesco.”
“You can’t top that for a short summary of a holy father,” Collins said.
Collins described standing in the conclave with the ballot in his hands and uttering an oath to God before dropping his vote in the box. “That’s sublime,” he said.
“There was a tremendous sense of serenity as we gathered together” in the conclave, he added. “It was just an awesome experience.”
He was still buzzing about the moment the newly elected pope, followed by his cardinals, greeted the waiting thousands in Saint Peter’s Square on Wednesday night.
“Looking into that square — oh my gosh, as far as the eye can see, packed with people cheering,” Collins said.
Turcotte stopped short of saying the church needed a Vatican III, noting it had yet to properly “digest” its second one. It’s been slow to implement change because the church fears creating disunity, he added. The result is a church that hasn’t been close enough to the poor, he said, something Francis will surely change.
“It’s impossible to live in a world where the rich are a few people and the poor are the majority,” the cardinal said.
The name Francis refers to St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century saint who was close to the poor and humbly defied the power of Pope Innocence III. Vatican spokespeople insisted Thursday that the pope would simply be known as Francis and not Francis I.
The buoyant mood in financial markets showed few signs of abating Friday as investors appeared confident ahead of U.S. monthly jobs figures, a key measure of strength in the world’s largest economy.
On Thursday, positive weekly jobs claims figures helped push the Dow to another record. Better-than-expected Chinese export figures gave markets another jolt higher in the run-up to the payrolls figures, which often set the market tone for a week or two after their release. The consensus in markets is that the U.S. economy generated around 170,000 jobs in February.
“It may be payrolls Friday, but if markets have even the slightest concern that we’ll see a print that falls short of expectations, then they’re doing a brilliant job of keeping these fears hidden,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market strategist at GFT Markets.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.3 percent at 6,460 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent to 7,982. The CAC-40 in France was 0.7 percent higher at 3,821.
Wall Street was poised for solid gains with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent.
How U.S. stocks end what’s been a historic week will likely hinge on the payrolls data, which are released an hour before the bell.
This week has seen the Dow hit a series of all-time highs, and that’s contributed to the general feel-good factor across all financial markets.
The stock markets’ gains come despite a fairly fragile global economic backdrop. The U.S. economy may be growing but its progress is patchy, while the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro remains in recession cheap payday advance.
The dollar, which has been shored up by hopes over the U.S. economy, will also likely be impacted by the payrolls figures.
“Anticipation that this afternoon’s report could bring an encouraging number is offering the dollar decent support,” said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank International.
Ahead of the figures, the dollar was fairly flat against the euro, which was trading 0.1 percent lower at $1.3095.
However, it was motoring ahead against the Japanese yen, which has been on the retreat over the past few months amid expectations of a change in the country’s economic policy that will likely involve the Bank of Japan printing more money. The dollar was 0.7 percent higher at 95.51 yen, the first time the rate has gone above 95 yen since August 2009.
A lower yen has the potential to make Japanese exports cheaper and that’s been at the heart of the Nikkei’s recent surge. The index jumped 2.6 percent to 12,283.62, its highest close since September 2008.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent to 23,091.95 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,123.40. Those in mainland China and Singapore fell.
Oil prices were flat with the benchmark New York rate unchanged at $91.56 a barrel.
Oil prices rose further Monday as violence between Israelis and Palestinians ignited fears that that the conflict could spread throughout the region.
In New York, oil prices rose roughly $2 to $89 a barrel a day after an Israeli airstrike killed 10 people in one home in the Gaza Strip. Crude prices are up roughly 4% since the fighting erupted early last week.
Analysts, who see the oil market as oversupplied, said the general tension in the region was the only thing pushing prices higher.
“It’s largely the Middle East violence upholding prices,” said Reagan Blackmon, an oil analyst at the investment bank Canaccord Genuity in Houston.
Neither Israel nor the Gaza Strip is a big producer of oil. But traders fear the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could spread to the broader Middle East, which accounts for nearly a third of the world’s total oil production and 40% of its oil exports.
The violence has reversed the overall direction of crude prices in the last month, which had been falling on the back of lackluster economic news online payday loan lenders.
In October, the International Monetary Fund lowered its projected world growth rate for 2013. More recently, Europe slipped back into a recession, while Japan’s economy contracted at an alarmingly swift pace.
This all comes as worldwide oil production, especially in the United States, has been rising.
Oil prices had fallen from about $92 a barrel to $84 a barrel from the beginning of October until the recent conflict.
Going forward, analysts expect that overall trend to return — when and if a relative peace returns to the Middle East.
“Given the likelihood that this will not result in a wider conflict, I think we struggle to move higher from here,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy, an energy brokerage based in Stamford, Conn. “Were it not for this, we’d be back in the low $80s.”
Hostess Brands — the maker of such iconic baked goods as Twinkies, Drake’s Devil Dogs and Wonder Bread — announced Friday that it is asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to close its operations, blaming a strike by bakers protesting a new contract imposed on them.
Hostess’ nearly 18,500 workers will lose their jobs as the company shuts 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers nationwide, as well as 570 outlet stores. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union represents about 5,000 Hostess employees.
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said CEO Gregory Rayburn in a statement.
Hostess will move to sell its assets to the highest bidder. That could mean new life for some of its most popular products, which could be scooped up at auction and attached to products from other companies.
A letter that Hostess sent to its network of stores that carry its product said it expects “there will be great interest in our brands.” But it said it could not give a time frame for when the sales would take place and when its products would be available again.
But even if those brands are bought and restarted, the Hostess workers will not get their jobs back.
“It’s been a very sad day,” Rayburn told CNN. “I think that this was just a monumental failure on the part of everyone involved, and it was just the wrong outcome.”
Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, its second trip to bankruptcy court since 2004. It previously emerged from restructuring in 2009 after a four-and-a-half year process. The company is now controlled by a group of investment firms, including hedge funds Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital.
Frank Hurt, president of the bakers’ union, called the liquidation “a deep disappointment” but said his members weren’t the ones responsible, blaming the various management teams in place at Hostess over the past eight years for failing to turn the firm around.
“Our members decided they were not going to take any more abuse from a company they have given so much to for so many years,” Hurt said in a statement late Friday. “They decided that they were not going to agree to another round of outrageous wage and benefit cuts and give up their pension only to see yet another management team fail and Wall Street vulture capitalists and ‘restructuring specialists’ walk away with untold millions of dollars.”
While approval of the bankruptcy court is needed before Hostess can start selling its assets in liquidation, the company said production at all of its bakeries stopped effective Friday, and that stores will no longer receive products from Hostess Brands after the final round of deliveries of products that were made Thursday night quick pay day loan.
But products that are already in stores can be sold, and the outlet stores will remain open for about a week to sell the products they already have.
Hostess had annual sales of about $2.5 billion. The company said it had been making 500 million Twinkies and 127 million loaves of Wonder Bread annually before Friday’s shutdown.
Its bread brands, including Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride and Butternut, make the company the No. 2 bread baker in the country, according to Symphony/IRI Group. Bimbo Bakeries, maker of the Arnold and Stroehmann brands, is the No. 1 bread baker.
The company had given a 5 p.m. ET Thursday deadline for the bakers to return to work or face a shutdown of the company.
In September, membership of one of its major unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, voted narrowly to accept a new contract with reduced wages and benefits. The Bakers’ union rejected the deal, however, prompting Hostess management to secure permission from a bankruptcy court to force a new concession contract on workers.
The Teamsters union, which represents 6,700 Hostess workers, issued a statement blaming mismanagement by Hostess executives for the company’s problems. But it also was critical of the decision of Bakers’ union, although it did not identify the union by name.
“Unfortunately, the company’s operating and financial problems were so severe that it required steep concessions from a variety of stakeholders but not all stakeholders were willing to be constructive,” said Ken Hall, the Teamsters’ Secretary-Treasurer. “Teamster Hostess members, based on the facts and advice from respected restructuring advisors, understood what was at stake and voted to protect all jobs at Hostess.”
The new contract cut salaries across the company by 8% in the first year of the five-year agreement. Salaries were then scheduled to bump up 3% in the next three years and 1% in the final year.
Hostess also reduced its pension obligations and its contribution to the employees’ health care plan. In exchange, the company offered concessions, including a 25% equity stake for workers and the inclusion of two union representatives on an eight-member board of directors.
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