By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stock markets inched higher while U.S. debt prices fell on Thursday following unexpectedly low U.S. weekly jobless claims and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings. The benchmark S&P 500 index hit a record high for a third straight day, buoyed by data showing initial jobless claims in the world's largest economy dropped to their lowest in more than eight years. "The lower-than-expected U.S. initial jobless claims has made people focus on the improving labor market situation," said Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist, at CRT Capital in Stamford, Connecticut. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.81 points or 0.03 percent, to 17,092.44, the S&P 500 gained 2.67 points or 0.13 percent, to 1,989.68 and the Nasdaq Composite added 3.26 points or 0.07 percent, to 4,476.95.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:10:42 -0400
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:58:39 -0400
European stock markets rose on Thursday and the euro recovered from an eight-month low as figures pointed to an uptick in growth in Europe and China. Robust manufacturing data in China, the world's second-largest economy, and a strong eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) helped dampen concerns about EU sanctions against Russia. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.34 percent to 6,821.46 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 finished the day up 0.78 percent at 4,410.65. "Eurozone growth rebounded in July," the private Markit research group, which published the eurozone PMI data, said while warning that the crisis in Ukraine could cloud the bloc's outlook.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:49:39 -0400
By Justyna Pawlak and Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union would target state-owned Russian banks vital to financing Moscow's faltering economy in the most serious sanctions so far over the Ukraine crisis under proposals considered by EU governments on Thursday. Ambassadors of the 28-nation bloc discussed options to curb Russian access to capital markets, arms and energy technology in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists on July 17. Talks on the options for stepped-up action drafted by the European Commission will continue on Friday morning, an EU official said, and diplomats said decisions on wider sanctions were likely at the earliest next week. Ambassadors also agreed to further expand the scope of sanctions to include companies and people who support Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region or for destabilising eastern Ukraine.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:47:55 -0400
European Union governments agreed on Thursday to add 15 people and 18 companies or other organizations to the bloc's sanctions list for undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, diplomats said. After lengthy talks, EU ambassadors failed to reach agreement on sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy and will resume discussions on Friday morning, diplomats said. The ambassadors also agreed to expand the criteria for the EU's sanctions to include companies and people who support Russian decision-makers responsible for destabilizing Ukraine.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:38:40 -0400
The International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that geopolitical risks in Ukraine and the Middle East are looming over a global economy already hit by slowdowns in the US and China. After "negative surprises" from the United States and China, the global economy is now expected to grow only 3.4 percent this year, the IMF said, lowering its April estimate of 3.7 percent. In 2013, the world economy grew 3.2 percent. The downgraded 2014 growth outlook reflects a "weak first quarter, particularly in the United States, and a less optimistic outlook for several emerging markets," the IMF said in an update of its semiannual World Economic Outlook (WEO).
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:52:08 -0400
By Megan Davies MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's state-controlled banks would have to turn to the state, domestic borrowers or new regions such as Asia if EU sanctions shut off investment, hurting their ability to lend to local businesses and further damaging the country's fragile economy. Under measures being considered by European Union governments in response to the Ukraine crisis, European investors would be banned from buying new debt or shares of banks owned 50 percent or more by the state. While the Russian government would step in to meet banks' funding needs, longer-term financing could be hit, hurting the banks' ability to finance business projects and crimping the country's growth potential. It could also cause nervous investors to avoid Russia altogether, encouraging more capital outflows and putting pressure on the rouble.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:14:24 -0400
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund foresees the global economy expanding less than it had previously forecast, slowed by weaker growth in the United States, Russia and developing economies.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:03:25 -0400
By Scott Malone SPENCER, Mass. (Reuters) - Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. "We're trying to reinvent our economy," said Father Isaac Keeley on a recent tour of the abbey's low-slung stone buildings and starkly modern 30,000-square-foot brewery, nestled in a wooded property some 60 miles (97 km) west of Boston. "The health costs are huge," said Father Dominic Whedbee, the abbey's 65-year-old prior, the group's second-ranking member.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:57:53 -0400
The International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that recent economic sanctions imposed against Russia could have a severe impact that would ripple through the region. "On a regional level, there's bound to be some impact," especially through trade channels, IMF spokesman William Murray said at a news conference. Murray said the impact was expected to be felt in economies "that have very active and direct trade links with Russia, particularly in eastern and central Europe and central Asia." The IMF spokesman highlighted that recent sanctions against Russia, "especially those that have imposed by the United States," signalled a step-up of geopolitical tensions and "could have a significant adverse impact on the Russia economy."
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:44:59 -0400
Israel and Gaza are already facing economic costs from the fighting between them that has raged for the past two weeks, a spokesman from the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. The fiscal cost to Israel is estimated at 0.2 percent of its gross domestic product, though that number could increase if the fighting continues for long, IMF deputy spokesman William Murray said, citing figures from "various sources." He said the Israeli economy, especially the tourism industry and small and medium-sized firms, has also been hit, and GDP growth could slow further if the conflict continues. "However, we need to make clear that once the conflict ends, we expect growth in Israel to rebound relatively quickly," Murray said. "Heavy damage to buildings, water and electricity infrastructure is already apparent, aggravating an already critical humanitarian situation (in Gaza)," Murray said.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:40:08 -0400
Western sanctions against Russia over its role in the crisis in Ukraine are illegal, counter-productive and could hurt the global economy, Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, said on Thursday. The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Ukraine. "We believe they are illegal, unreasonable and counter productive," Yakovenko told a news conference in London. Some Western states are now mulling broader sanctions that would affect whole sectors of the Russian economy after a Malaysian airliner was downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine last Thursday, killing all 298 on board.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:36:03 -0400
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:16:13 -0400
(Reuters) - China's factory activity expanded at its fastest in 18 months in July, while the euro zone's private sector also perked up, but the pace of U.S. manufacturing expansion slowed. While China is relying on increased government stimulus to steer its economy away from reliance on exports and towards consumer spending, Europe has taken the opposite approach, combining fiscal austerity with near-zero interest rates, and the U.S. is beginning to wind down its monetary expansion. "The strength of this morning's data from China and the euro zone offers some encouragement that there is some momentum building for the global economy at the start of the third quarter," said Mark Wall, European economist at Deutsche Bank. "The (U.S.) data suggest the sector is growing at an annualized rate of roughly 8.0 percent as we moved into the second half of the year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:03:10 -0400
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday chopped its 2014 forecast for global economic growth to take into account weakness early in the year in the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies. The IMF warned that only some of the factors leading to the reduction were temporary, and said richer nations in particular faced the risk of economic stagnation unless they do more to boost growth through deeper reforms, such as investing in infrastructure or changing tax laws. In an update to its World Economic Outlook report, the IMF said the global economy should expand 3.4 percent this year, 0.3 percentage points below what it predicted in April. "Robust demand momentum has not yet emerged despite continued very low interest rates and easing of brakes to the recovery, including from fiscal consolidation or tight financial conditions," the IMF said, adding that all major advanced economies would do well to keep policy rates low for now.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:27:11 -0400
Ukraine's largest steelmaker Metinvest said its Avdiivka coke plant had resumed working at full capacity after being hit by artillery fire and warned of the economic risks posed by the conflict in the country's east. "I can say without exaggeration that the combat operations have threatened not only the Avdiivka coke plant but also the entire Ukrainian economy," Avdiivka Chief Executive Musa Magomedov said in an online statement. Avdiivka, which produces 40 percent of Ukraine's coke - a key ingredient in steelmaking - was hit by shelling late on Monday, forcing it to halve output, as Ukrainian forces pressed their military campaign against the separatists. Metinvest said coke production had returned to a normal level of around 7,200 tonnes per day, although the facility was still experiencing problems with water and electricity supply.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:00:07 -0400
More than 2,000 Ghanaians took to the streets of the capital Accra on Thursday as part of planned nationwide protests against what they say is the government's mishandling of the economy. The demonstration was organised by the biggest labour union – the Trades Union Congress (TUC) – and was the first nationwide protest since President John Dramani Mahama took office in January last year. The president is under pressure to turn around the economy of the oil, cocoa and gold-producing nation, once regarded as one of Africa's hottest frontier markets but now saddled with high inflation and a stubbornly wide government deficit. "Fatal error, (President John) Mahama's government must reboot now", read one placard held up by a demonstrator.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:40:35 -0400
LONDON (AP) — The escalating tensions in Ukraine, which have led to a sharp deterioration in relations between the West and Russia, could weigh on a modestly improving economic recovery in the 18-country eurozone.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:28:16 -0400
By Andy Bruce and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales rose between April and June at the fastest pace for a calendar quarter in 10 years despite stagnating last month, bolstering expectations that the economy has sustained its swift pace of recovery. Retail sales volumes rose 1.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, a latest sign of strength in Britain's economy which has put a first interest rate hike on the agenda of the Bank of England. Still, retail sales growth for June alone disappointed, rising just 0.1 percent from May and by 3.6 percent compared with a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said a fall in clothing sales during the month was probably the result of delayed price-cutting on summer clothes by retailers who normally hold sales in June but may have held off this year due to good weather.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:38:10 -0400
Proposed European Union sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy will not be adopted before next week, the European Commission said on Thursday. EU ambassadors were discussing Commission proposals to restrict Russian access to EU finance and defense and energy technology on Thursday. As and when the member states have decided ... how they want to proceed and exactly what they want to do, then at that stage the Commission ... will present legislative proposals," Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd told reporters. "Those legislative proposals would then have to be adopted by the appropriate procedures, by the member states, normally next week," he added.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:30:57 -0400
By Jennifer Chaussee BERKELEY Calif. (Reuters) - An overwhelming majority of California residents support the state's mandate for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, so long as they do not bear the higher costs of cleaner energy themselves, a new public opinion poll shows. Eighty percent of adults surveyed believe climate change poses a serious threat to California's economy and lifestyle, and 68 percent back a 2006 law for lowering statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. For example, 76 percent of adults agreed with California's requirement that at least a third of all electricity it generates should come from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, by 2020. The same level of support was found for requiring oil refineries to produce gasoline and other fuels that yield lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:26:52 -0400
LONDON (AP) — A closely watched survey suggests economic growth in the 18-country eurozone picked up during July despite ongoing concerns over France, the currency bloc's second-largest economy.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:04:25 -0400
By Jeff Mason LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will call on Thursday for an end to a corporate loophole that allows companies to avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas in deals known as "inversions," White House officials said. Obama will make the comments during remarks about the economy at Los Angeles Technical College. Nine inversion deals have been agreed to this year by companies ranging from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International Inc to drugmaker AbbVie Inc and more are under consideration. The proposed changes, already put forward in Obama's annual budget, would be retroactive to May of this year and implemented independently of moves to achieve broader tax reform.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:37:03 -0400
By Wendell Roelf CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa should adjust labour laws so union members have to vote before striking, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, suggesting the government may push ahead with reforms to curb damaging industrial action. The longest and costliest strike in South Africa's history in the platinum sector earlier this year dragged the continent's most advanced economy into contraction and prompted Standard & Poor's to downgrade its sovereign credit rating. The country's biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), stopped work on July 2 demanding higher wages, halting output at several car factories. "I would take a strike ballot as a normal type of process in the governance of strikes ... I am hugely in support of that," said Ramaphosa, a trade unionist-turned-billionaire seen as the most likely successor to President Jacob Zuma.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:34:47 -0400
A key measure of Chinese manufacturing activity hit an 18-month high in July, HSBC said Thursday, in a further sign the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum on the back of Beijing's mini-stimulus. The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, leapt to 52.0 this month, its highest since January 2013, according to the British banking giant. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement accompanying the data. The figures are compiled by financial information services provider Markit and released by HSBC.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:26:18 -0400
The unemployment rate in Spain fell sharply in the second quarter slipping beneath 25.0-percent, official data showed on Thursday in a further sign that the country is pulling away from deep economic crisis. Since then Spain, which was also caught by the eurozone debt crisis, has introduced deep reforms in its economy and has restructured its banking system at great cost, including exceptionally high unemployment. Unemployment has hit young people in particular, as has been the case in some other crisis-hit eurozone countries, leading European Union leaders to speak of a "lost" generation. The Bank of Spain said growth between the first and second quarters of the year was the strongest since just before the global financial crisis began.