Euro, stocks slide before eurozone meeting - YAHOO! Euro, stocks slide before eurozone meeting - YAHOO!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Euro, stocks slide before eurozone meeting - YAHOO!

Euro, stocks slide before eurozone meeting - YAHOO!

European shares dived and the euro hit a 22-month low on Wednesday before an informal EU summit and after the former Greek prime minister warned that Greece might leave the eurozone.

Sentiment was also tense after Germany reasserted its stance against eurobonds -- whereby strong and weak eurozone countries would pool their ability to borrow -- despite calls from other members and the IMF to consider this option.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies plunged 2.53 percent to 5,566.41 points, while in Frankfurt, the DAX 30 fell 2.33 percent to 6,285.75 points and in Paris the CAC 40 tumbled 2.62 percent to 3,003.27 points.

In Italy, the benchmark FTSE Mib index in Milan dove 3.68 percent and Madrid sank 3.31 percent to close at its lowest level since May 2003.

Meanwhile the European single currency dove to $1.2564 in afternoon trading, touching a low last seen on July 13, 2010. It later stood at $1.2576, down sharply from $1.2684 late in New York on Tuesday.

The dollar fell to 79.37 Japanese yen from 79.98 yen on Tuesday.

"Stock markets fell back sharply again on Wednesday and the euro came under further pressure as doubts grew that the evening's informal meeting of EU leaders in Brussels would do much to prevent an imminent exit of Greece from the eurozone," said John Higgins of Capital Economics.

"The ongoing decline in euro/dollar is mirroring the decline in the willingness of investors to carry any unnecessary risk," ETX Capital trader Markus Huber told AFP.

European Union leaders were to meet late on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss how to handle the Greek crisis, with eurozone countries admitting they are examining likely costs and possible complications arising from a potential exit for Greece.

"Investors are continuing to become even more risk averse than they have already been before, factoring in the notion that the EU summit won't be yielding much in a way of bringing calm into the financial markets at least in the short term, with turmoil continuing at least until mid June when elections in Greece are taking place," added Huber.

French President Francois Hollande stressed the importance of immediate action before the meeting.

"I say that we have to act straightaway for growth ... otherwise there will still be doubt on the markets," said Hollande.

With investors seeking refuge in the safe-haven assets, Germany's ten-year bond yield hit a new record low of 1.390 percent from 1.4 percent at Tuesday's close of trade.

Huber said markets were also reacting comments by an European Central Bank member "that no further stimulus measure or rate cuts are being planned at the moment, more or less saying that in the near term the markets are being left to their own devices and should not count on help from the ECB even if markets are continuing to go down."

David Morrison, an analyst at GFT trading group, said investors also "took fright" after the comments by former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, even if he later distanced himself from them.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires, Papademos said "it can not be excluded that preparations are being made to contain the potential consequences of a Greek euro exit."

He added that "the risk of Greece leaving the euro is real and it depends effectively on whether the Greek people will support the continued implementation of the economic programme."

Markets were also rocked by Germany repeating its opposition to eurobonds.

"Neither of these disclosures should have been a major surprise, but the market response demonstrates just how jittery investors have become," Morrison said.

Analysts fear a likely victory for anti-austerity parties in next months' elections will see Athens renege on its bailout terms and eventually leave the euro, which could have a knock-on effect for other troubled economies such as Spain and Italy.

"Greece leaving the eurozone may not have the impact many are anticipating but in the face of complete unknowns investors generally run for the hills," said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.

US stocks also tumbled in midday trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 1.35 percent to 12,333.89 points, the S&P 500-stock index falling 1.23 percent to 1,300.46 points, and the tech-rich Nasdaq losing 1.26 percent to 2,803.33 points.

Asian markets also fell heavily on Wednesday, reversing the previous day's gains. Hong Kong dived 1.33 percent, Tokyo tumbled 1.98 percent, Seoul fell 1.10 percent and Sydney slumped 1.31 percent.

Stocks Post Late-Session Recovery: Daily Markets Wrap - International Business Times

Traders said the late recovery reflected the hope that prospects of global carnage because of a Greek exit from the euro zone would simply force central bankers to intervene.

The price of gold, which concludes its open outcry trading session more than two hours before the stock markets settles, spent most of the day falling as much as 2 percent before closing down 1.8 percent. But in after-hours electronic trading, gold rose 0.75 percent. Copper fell 2.6 percent in regular trading but then began climbing in electronic trading.

The S&P 500 climbed 2.23, or 0.17 percent, to settle at 1,31886, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 11.04, or 0.39 percent, to close at 2,850.12. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.66, or 0.05 percent, to end the day at 12,496.15.

Business News: Denys Shortt leaves strong legacy at Coventry and Warwickshire LEP - Coventry

Tech stocks rebound with Facebook but Dell dives - My Fox Boston

Source: MarketWatch

NEW YORK -- Tech stocks bounced back to gains by Wednesday's closing bell as social network giant Facebook managed its first notable gains since its IPO, offsetting a sell-off in the PC sector led by Dell Inc.

Dell shares sank more than 17 percent to close at $12.49 after the computer giant gave a disappointing quarterly report and forecast the previous afternoon. The company says it has been struggling with its consumer business.

Along with Dell, other losses came from Hewlett-Packard Co., which fell more than three percent to close at $21.08 ahead of the company's quarterly results, due after the market close.

Other stocks in the PC sector had a rough session. Microsoft Corp. and Intel both fell more than two percent by the closing bell, with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices down another 1.3 percent.

NetApp Inc. was down 1.3 percent at $32.86 ahead of its own report.

Still, the tech sector bounced back from earlier losses. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 0.4 percent at 2,850. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index also rose by 0.4 percent, while the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index closed down 0.3 percent.

One of the day's notable gainers was Facebook, which managed to turn around from two days of losses, as the company's shares rose more than three percent to close at $32 -- though still about 16 percent below the company's IPO price.

Read More: Tech stocks rebound with Facebook but Dell dives

Business chief urges Wycombe firms to seize 'golden opportunity' (From Bucks Free Press) - Bucks Free Press

Business chief urges Wycombe firms to seize 'golden opportunity'

BUSINESSES are being urged to seize a golden opportunity and back innovative plans to transform High Wycombe into a thriving economic hub.

654 firms in the town centre will be balloted next month over proposals to create an initial five-year Business Improvement District.

If approved, all businesses in the town centre will pay a levy based on the size of their company into a pot totalling £1.6m.

About 30 percent of independents will chip in less than £100 a year, with the retail giants paying thousands into the fund.

This ring-fenced money would be spent on the day-to-day running of the town centre, improvements, organising events and attracting new business into High Wycombe.

And what the cash is specifically used for will be decided by a board of directors.

The board would be made up of - and elected by - business owners, who would represent and be accountable to every company.

Oliver O’Dell, Town Centre Manager, said: "The town is at a tipping point. It has huge potential but it is not just going to magically happen on its own.

"Wycombe needs to be more competitive. The council is willing to invest, Bucks New University is keen to integrate its students and invest in the town.

"It is time the business community comes on board and contributes to a central pot, that everyone controls, and everyone delivers a comprehensive plan that can really take this town forward."

A collection of local business leaders appear in an information pack and video (bottom of the story) supporting the plan, which has been backed by Wycombe District Council, Eden and the Chilterns Shopping Centre.

Ballot papers will be sent to every business which would make up the BID on June 11. Firms have until July 9 to vote.

Mr O’Dell is urging every company boss to have their say so a definitive decision is reached, even if they vote against the proposals.

But he warned that if the plan is shot down, the council-subsidised Town Centre Partnership could fold, meaning businesses would lose their voice.

And annual events - such as last week’s traditional May Fayre and the annual Christmas lights switch - could also face the axe.

Mr O’Dell said: "Recession is not the deciding factor here, we’ve got to do something. For £69 a year, for some smaller businesses, you’ll have a team which will invest £1.6m into the town, you elect the board and you have a say.

"It would cost more to buy a cup of coffee a day then to pay into the BID. You wouldn’t get an advert in the Bucks Free Press for £69.

"The other side, if it gets voted out, is you could end up with no town centre management, no security partnership, no events - so no Christmas – no representation for businesses, and none of the other support the Partnership currently offers without any funding.

"We could do masses here – This is the best economic opportunity Wycombe is going to have to improve itself."

Click on the link (above right) to visit the HW Bid Co website.


DannyDiv says...
3:18pm Wed 23 May 12

What a load of rubbish, once the funds have been paid in, firms will have no control over how it is spent. What is there to stop these guys buying themselves a giant bag of cocaine every weekend and partying? Let the current Town Centre Partnership fold. This is just another stealth tax, steer well clear. DannyDiv

hm1 says...
5:56pm Wed 23 May 12

Disagree. These folks are already showing how they will improve the town centre all the time. Building gardens, working with young people and ex-offenders getting them improving the facilities and ambience of the town and lots more. If the bid had come out of nowhere I'd be sceptical, but the group have been working hard for a long time. Recommend looking at their Facebook page too. hm1

geoffW says...
6:52pm Wed 23 May 12

I can see the smaller businesses contributing, but will the head offices of the large chains - many of whom are struggling - sanction paying out thousands in one area? I can see other stores in the chain complaining. geoffW

DannyDiv says...
10:03pm Wed 23 May 12

All of the services offered by this mob should already be provided by the council in return for business rates. Stealth tax. DannyDiv

ImpeturbableLawrence says...
10:53pm Wed 23 May 12

'Oliver O’Dell, Town Centre Manager, said ... ' What is a town centre manager and who employs him? ImpeturbableLawrence

ImpeturbableLawrence says...
11:28pm Wed 23 May 12

What does Steve Hayes have to say about its benefits for the town? ImpeturbableLawrence

US stocks recover to mostly erase losses - MyFox Atlanta

Source: The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK -- Investors reversed steep US stock losses to finish Wednesday roughly flat, though European stocks and the euro tumbled to 2012 lows amid growing chatter about a potential Greek exit from the eurozone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended a volatile session off just 6.66 points, or 0.05 percent, at 12,496.15. The single-digit point decline came on a day that saw the blue-chip index fall as many as 191 points before briefly turning positive in late trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index erased its declines to rise 2.23 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,318.86 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 11.04 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,850.12.

Leading the declines were utilities and health care stocks, though some technology companies were hard hit by weak earnings from computer maker Dell.

Many of the day's worst performers, including materials and industrial stocks, turned positive in the afternoon, buoying the broader markets.

Traders and investors said the late rally in the US was fueled by hopes that policymakers were making headway in their attempts to backstop the eurozone in the event of a deeper crisis.

In Europe, stock indexes finished near their day's lows. France's CAC-40 declined 2.6 percent to a 2012 low and Germany's DAX index lost 2.3 percent, while in London, the FTSE 100 declined 2.5 percent to a late November low.

The European losses came after former Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos said the risk of Greece leaving the euro is real, and that an exit would have "catastrophic" economic consequences for Greece and far-reaching implications for the rest of the eurozone.

Read More: US stocks recover to mostly erase losses

Global stocks, euro sag on Greece exit worries -

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"Most are expecting no concrete solution out of the meeting, just a few ideas discussed on how to boost growth with no real commitment to carry them out, while Angela Merkel is almost certain to reject any proposal by Francois Hollande in relation to euro bonds," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari.

Perception of a stalemate between the head of the euro zone's most powerful member and leaders of other bloc countries unleashed selling of their common currency and shares worldwide.

The MSCI world equity index tumbled 2.2 percent to 296.10, its lowest level in about five months. It is on track for its biggest single-day decline in six months.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 146.33 points, or 1.17 percent, at 12,356.48. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 14.73 points, or 1.12 percent, at 1,301.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 30.34 points, or 1.07 percent, at 2,808.74.

The tech sector was a drag on U.S. shares, led by personal computer maker Dell Inc. which reported disappointing second-quarter earnings late on Tuesday. Dell dropped 17 percent to $12.51.

Social networking company Facebook Inc remains a market focus since its stock started trading last Friday. Regulatory inquiries into its initial public offering have hammered its market value. Facebook rose 3 percent to $32.02, still well below its $38 IPO price.

The FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares closed 2.1 percent lower at 973.12 after touching a fresh year low at 970.98.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei index closed down 2 percent to 8,556.60.

The euro fell 0.9 percent to 1.2572 after touching $1.2563, its lowest level since August 2010.

The dollar index rose 0.7 percent to 82.090 after touching 82.148, its highest since September 2010.

"The euro's downtrend is entrenched and we think there are too many risks of potentially nasty outcomes in the euro zone, especially with regard to what will happen to Greece," said Ned Rumpeltin, currency strategist at Standard Chartered in London.

Euro zone finance officials prepared contingency plans for a possible Greek euro exit on Monday afternoon, according to euro zone sources, during an hour-long teleconference of the Eurogroup Working Group. A document seen by Reuters detailed the potential costs to individual member states of a Greek exit and said that if it came about, an "amiable divorce" should be sought.

The strong German Schatz auction lifted June Bund futures to a fresh contract high at 144.28, up 1 point on the day. Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields slipped to 1.72 percent, within striking distance of the lowest level at least 60 years.

The United States, like Germany, could enjoy a further drop in borrowing costs when it sells $35 billion of new five-year notes at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT). These five-year issue is expected to sell at historic low yield at about 0.75 percent.

Signs of a potential deal between Iran and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to unblock investigations of suspected work on nuclear weapons in the oil-producing country sent Brent crude below $107 a barrel.

Brent last traded down $1.87 at $106.54, while U.S. oil futures fell $1.22 cents to $90.63 a barrel.

Spot gold prices fell for a third straight session, down 1.5 percent to $1,542.89 an ounce.

(Reporting by Angela Moon in New York and; Richard Hubbard, David Brett and Simon Falush in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Padraic Cassidy)

Business Matters: Is Vevo Considering An IPO? - Billboard Business News

Is Vevo Considering an IPO?
-- Vevo is seeking new investors to help fund its international expansion, according to reports at Sky News at the Financial Times.

A report by Sky News claims the company has hired investment bank Allen & Co to look at the possibility of an initial public stock offering. However, sources have told the Financial Times an IPO is not under discussion with Allen & Co.

Vevo is a joint venture of Universal Music Group and Sony Music with an investment by the Abu Dhabi Media Company. The video network syndicates its content to a number of partners, including YouTube and, in addition to streaming its content at and its mobile apps.

The company has always had expansion on its mind. It launched in the U.S. and Canada in December 2009, expanded to the U.K. last year and launched in Australia via a partnership with MCM Media. Former Starcom MediaVest executive Nic Jones was hired as Vevo's SVP of International in September.
( Sky News, Financial Times)

Report Says Online Video In State of Disruption
-- Growth in mobile-first social apps could be hurting YouTube, suggests a blog post by mobile analytics company Flurry. The company won't come right out and say that mobile apps are cannibalizing YouTube, instead calling the divergent trends "a signal of disruption."

Google Sites went from 378 monthly minutes per U.S. viewer in September 2011 to 472 in December 2011 and then down to 425 in March. In those months, minutes per viewer on mobile apps tracked by Flurry increased from 110 to 152 to 231.

Here's Flurry's recap: "As online video consumption dropped by 10%, mobile app video consumption increased by another 52% [in the first three months of 2012].  By the end of March, consumers were spending 54% of amount of time in mobile video apps compared to Google Sites [primarily YouTube] online, 231 minutes in apps versus 425 minutes online."

Flurry chalks up the change in viewing to growth in mobile-only video apps such as Viddy and SocialCam. "Trained by the sharing behavior of Facebook, and enabled by a confluence of underlying technology like built-in HD video cameras, hardy on-device processors, increased network bandwidth, cloud storage and user-friendly applications like Viddy and SocialCam, social video apps are taking off."

It's unclear what this means for music videos. Vevo's online traffic has declined in recent months, too, going from 871.6 million streams in November to 674.2 million streams in April, according to comScore. When asked about the decline in viewership, a Vevo spokesperson noted that comScore does not track app-based viewing and claims Vevo's mobile video views "are rising."

But the shift to mobile could spell trouble. Music videos undoubtedly benefit from YouTube's position as the world's most popular video site. Fewer people viewing videos at YouTube mean less music discovery on the platform. And the fact that fewer people viewing videos online - 49.5 million in April versus 53.4 million in November, according to comScore - raises hopes that mobile apps are making up the difference.
( Flurry blog)

Social Startup Shaker Launching Music Initiative
With Live Nation, BandPage 
-- A social-minded digital startup called Shaker will launch a music initiative on June 8 in collaboration with Live Nation and BandPage. Details are expected to be announced soon about how the company, which has raised $15 million from a litany of venture capital funds as well as Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, will work with the concert promotion, ticketing and management giant (Live Nation) and the developer of the most Facebook music app (BandPage).

Shaker purports to facilitate "fun" online social experiences. "Shaker adds another dimension to the Social Network - a layer of places," the company explains at its website. "By giving your Facebook profile arms and legs, Shaker lets you walk around the different venues and environments, choosing from all kinds of events or simply have a good time. You can chat up your friends and their friends, get introduced to like-minded people, listen to music you love or even host your own meet-up and get your people together."
( TechCrunch)

Stocks slump; Dow posts 11th loss in 12 days - Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average posted its 11th loss in 12 days after a pair of discouraging economic reports unnerved investors already worried about a possible exit from the euro by Greece.

The Dow lost 156.06 points to close at 12,442.49. It's now down 6 percent for the month so far and could be headed for its first losing month since September. The two-week slump represents a sharp turn downward since May 1, when the index closed at a four-year high.

The slide, which is largely due to escalating worries about a breakup of the European currency union, has stripped the Dow of much of this year's gains. As of the beginning of May it was up 8.7 percent for the year; now it's up just 1.8 percent.

"Europe is very much on investors' minds," said Brian Gendreau, market strategist at broker-dealer Cetera Financial Group. "It's been two years with multiple bailouts involving Ireland, Portugal and Greece and things don't seem to be getting better."

The dollar, Treasury prices and gold all rose as traders sought refuge in lower-risk assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to 1.70 percent, the lowest level of the year.

Caterpillar fell 4 percent, the most of the 30 stocks in the Dow, after reporting that global sales growth of construction and mining machinery slowed between February and April. Wal-Mart stock rose over 4 percent, the most in the Dow, after reporting a 10 percent jump in first-quarter income, beating Wall Street expectations.

Indexes opened lower on Wall Street following drops in European markets. The declines accelerated at mid-morning after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region for the first time in eight months. The report was far worse than analysts had been expecting.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19.94 points to 1,304.86, its lowest close since Jan. 17. The Nasdaq composite fell 60.35 points to 2,813.69.

The Conference Board said its measure of future U.S. economic growth fell in April after six months of increases. The drop came from fewer requests for building permits and a spike in applications for unemployment benefits.

These gloomy reports were a surprise and exacerbated investors' fears of turmoil in the global markets from developments in Europe where Greece seemed headed for an exit from the euro bloc.

Greece's caretaker Cabinet was sworn in Thursday and will hold power at least until next month's election. In the recently-held elections Greeks didn't given any party a majority, but they did give strong support to politicians who rejected the tough austerity measures that came with the country's financial bailout.

Without that rescue package, Greece will likely default and be forced to leave the 17-country euro zone, which would destabilize other countries that use the euro. German, French and Spanish stock markets all fell more than 1 percent.

The economic damage is already being felt by other members of the euro bloc.

Spain was forced to pay sharply higher interest rates to raise $3.18 billion in a debt auction Thursday. And shares of Bankia, which Spain nationalized last week, plunged 20 percent on a report from the newspaper El Mundo stating that depositors have withdrawn over $1 billion since last Wednesday.

Oil prices continued to trade lower, falling below $93 a barrel, extending a two-week sell-off, as traders worried about the potential impact on global growth from the European crisis. Crude oil has plummeted about 12 percent from $106 two weeks ago.

Energy companies fell. Chesapeake Energy declined over 3 percent, while WPX Energy fell over 4 percent.

The one bright spot for the markets was the excitement surrounding the initial public offering of Facebook. The uber-popular social media company set the price of its shares at $38 apiece late Thursday. The stock is expected to start trading at 11 am Friday. Facebook is set to raise $18.4 billion, becoming the second largest IPO ever after Visa.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Media General soared 33 percent after billionaire Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy 63 newspapers from the company for $142 million.

— GameStop fell 11 percent after the world's largest video game retailer reported its first-quarter profit fell 9.8 percent, as fewer customers visited its stores and bought new games and systems.

— Sears Holdings rose 3 percent after the beleaguered retailer turned a profit in the first quarter, benefiting from a gain on the sale of some stores.

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