Monday, 18 April 2011

Stocks coming off down week:

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a down week for stocks. Wall Street is hoping for better this week as earnings reports pick up.

In Friday trading, the Dow rose 57 points to close at 12,342. The S&P 500 index was up 5 points to 1,320. The NASDAQ composite added 4 points to 2,765.

For the week, the key averages were down between 0.3 and 0.6 percent.


Asia markets higher on US economic news

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Monday, shrugging off yet another anti-inflation move by China after encouraging news about the U.S. economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index eked out a marginal gain of less than 0.1 percent after opening lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi slid 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand were also higher. Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent. Taiwan's TAIEX was down slightly.


Oil near $109 as US gasoline prices jump

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices fell to near $109 a barrel Monday in Asia as gasoline jumped to average $4 a gallon in six U.S. states and the District of Columbia, raising fears higher fuel costs will undermine crude demand.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was down 58 cents at $109.08 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.55 to settle at $109.66 on Friday.

In London, Brent crude for June delivery was down 33 cents to $123.12 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.


Reports on housing among those due

WASHINGTON (AP) — The week is fairly light for economic reports. A reading is due today from the National Association of Home Builders on builder sentiment. Tomorrow, the government weighs in with housing starts for March. Also due this week, existing home sales, new unemployment claims and the index of leading economic indicators.


Poll: US economy improving despite global events

WASHINGTON (AP) — Economists say the U.S. economy is gaining strength despite political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

A survey from the National Association for Business Economics finds that economists are hopeful that the broader economy is substantially improving, with rising employment reported for the fifth quarter in a row.

The outlook for employment rose slightly, reaching a 12-year high. No firms reported significant layoffs, with the only reductions coming from already planned cuts.

Sales increased for the third consecutive quarter, profit margins continued to improve and the number of economists whose firms increased spending over the previous quarter held steady. Nearly all of the 72 economists surveyed, about 94 percent, now expect the economy to grow at least 2 percent in 2011.


6 states and nation's capital now at $4 gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six states and Washington, D.C., now have gasoline prices averaging more than $4 per gallon.

Triple-A says New York State joined the list yesterday, which also includes Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii and Illinois.

The next states could be Michigan, which has gas for $3.95 per gallon on average, and Indiana, where the average price is $3.94. Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin are close behind.

Hawaii has the highest price in the U.S. at $4.48 per gallon. Wyoming has the lowest, at $3.54.

The national average for gas has increased for 26 straight days, and is now at $3.83 per gallon.

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