US STOCKS-Market edges up, Wall St awaits Facebook debut - Reuters UK US STOCKS-Market edges up, Wall St awaits Facebook debut - Reuters UK

Friday, May 18, 2012

US STOCKS-Market edges up, Wall St awaits Facebook debut - Reuters UK

US STOCKS-Market edges up, Wall St awaits Facebook debut - Reuters UK

Fri May 18, 2012 3:05pm BST

* Facebook shares to start trading on Nasdaq at 11 am

* Spanish CDS hit record high, bank shares bounce back

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq flat (Updates to morning trading)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, May 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose in early trading on Friday but were gearing up to close their worst week of the year, while Facebook's market debut could help lift battered investor sentiment.

The S&P has fallen 6.7 percent so far in May, and while volatility is expected to continue, some analysts were forecasting a near-term rebound as valuations become more attractive.

Investors are awaiting Facebook's debut after the world's No. 1 online social network raised about $16 billion in one of the biggest initial public offerings in U.S. history. Facebook priced its offering at $38 a share on Thursday, and shares are expected to begin trading under the FB symbol on Nasdaq at around 11 a.m. New York time.(1500 GMT).

The large weekly decline in equities has come amid uncertainty over a political crisis in Greece and whether that could trigger a default and possible exit from the euro zone.

Market participants were skittish even as a poll showed Greek voters are returning to the establishment parties that negotiated its bailout.

"I think this is a technical bounce and probably some values are beginning to emerge," said Jim Russell, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Cincinnati.

"There's a little bit of enthusiasm around the Facebook IPO that makes people feel good, but things haven't changed from yesterday."

Shares of companies in the online social media sphere were trading lower. LinkedIn fell 0.8 percent to $104.07, Zynga dropped 2.2 percent at $8.08 and Groupon fell 1.7 percent to $12.20.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 19.68 points, or 0.16 percent, to 12,462.17. The S&P 500 Index rose 4.47 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,309.33. The Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.66 point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,814.35.

The three indexes were on track to post their largest weekly losses since the last week of November.

The cost to insure Spanish government debt against default hit record highs Friday, a day after Moody's cut its ratings on 16 Spanish banks, heightening fears of contagion from the Greek political crisis.

Spanish government-run Bankia shares, up more than 25 percent on the day but still down 31 percent this month, led a rebound in Spanish banking stocks as traders closed short positions. U.S.-traded shares of Banco Santander and BBVA rose more than 4 percent each.

Shares of Foot Locker jumped 10 percent to $30.82 after the athletic footwear retailer posted higher-than-expected quarterly results. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos. Editing by Bernadette Baum, Dave Zimmerman)

Financial 15 Split Corp.: Regular Monthly Dividend Declaration for Preferred Share -

Financial 15 Split Corp. ("Financial 15") declares its regular monthly distribution of $0.04375 for each Preferred share ($0.525 annually). Distributions are payable June 8, 2012 to shareholders on record as of May 31, 2012. There will not be a distribution paid to Financial 15 Class A Shares for May 31, 2012 as per the Prospectus which states no regular monthly dividends or other distributions will be paid on the Class A Shares in any month as long as the net asset value per unit is equal to or less than $15.00. The net asset value as of May 15, 2012 was $13.60.

Since inception Class A shareholders have received a total of $9.85 per share (including two special distributions totaling $0.50 per share) and Preferred shareholders have received a total of $4.48per share inclusive of this distribution, for a combined total of $14.33.

Financial 15 invests in a high quality portfolio consisting of 15 financial services companies made up of Canadian and U.S. issuers as follows: Bank of Montreal, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, National Bank of Canada, Manulife Financial Corporation, Sun Life Financial, Great-West Lifeco, CI Financial Income Fund, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. Shares held within the portfolio are expected to range between 4-8% in weight but may vary at any time.

  Distribution Details:                                                        Preferred Share (FTN.PR.A)                         $0.04375                  Ex-Dividend Date:                                  May 29, 2012              Record Date:                                       May 31, 2012              Payable Date:                                      June 8, 2012               

© Marketwire 2012

Spanish stocks fall amid turmoil - Belfast Telegraph
Concerns that Europe's debt crisis could drag down parts of the continent's banking system have hit most global markets though social network Facebook's imminent flotation buoyed sentiment on Wall Street.

Spain's main stock index recovered 1.34% from heavy losses on Thursday, thanks mainly to a bounce back in the shares of state-controlled lender Bankia, which had plummeted on reports of an increase in deposit withdrawals. They rose 22%, making up for a similar drop the previous day.

Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria were up more than three points in mid-morning trading.

The level of bad loans on the books of Spain's banks has risen to an 18-year high, the country's central banker reported, increasing concern for the stability of Spain's financial sector and the country's place in the fragile eurozone economy.

The Bank of Spain reported that lenders' and savings banks' bad loan ratio had risen in March to 8.36% from 8.15% the previous month.

News of the increase followed a downgrading by credit ratings agency Moody's of the country's banking industry.

Spain is in the eye of the storm of the eurozone debt crisis amid worries that its banks are overexposed to an imploded property bubble and the government, fighting recession and a nearly 25 % jobless rate, could not afford to bail them out if it needed to.

By midday in Europe, stock exchanges managed to slightly reverse their earlier losing streaks with Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.5% to 5,311, Germany's DAX was up 0.4% to 6,333 and France's CAC-40 rose 0.6% to 3,030.

Worries over Spain were reignited by the prospect that Greece might leave the euro currency. Anti-bailout political parties made huge gains in general elections on May 6, though that ballot proved inconclusive. Another election will be held on June 17, and the radical left party Syriza, which rejects the international bailout, is forecast to make gains, possibly becoming the biggest party.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 3% to close at 8,611.31, its lowest finish in four months as signs of weakness in the US, a critical export market for Japanese companies, battered some of the country's behemoth manufacturers. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.3% to 18,951.85 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slid 2.7% to 4,046.50. South Korea's Kospi tumbled 3.4 % to 1,782.46. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand also fell.

Stocks: Europe fears vs. Facebook - Channel 3000

U.S. investors continue to worry about Europe's sovereign debt issues, with stocks opening little changed ahead of Facebook's debut on the Nasdaq.

"The excitement of Facebook's IPO this morning overshadowed the market's ongoing concerns about Europe," wrote Kathy Lien, director of currency research for GFT, in a market research note.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 5 points, or 0.5%, the S&P 500 added 2 points, or 0.2%, and Nasdaq rose 3 points, or 0.1%.

Facebook, which priced its initial public offering at $38 a share after the closing bell Thursday, will start trading later Friday morning. The offering raised $16 billion, making it the most valuable tech IPO in history.

But the European debt crisis is still looming over world markets. Asian stocks sold off sharply and European markets remained under pressure. At the same time, borrowing costs for Spanish and Greek debt also remain high.

Concerns are mounting about a potential Greek exit from the euro, and the implications that could have for other fiscally troubled nations such as Spain and Italy. Rating agency Moody's downgraded 16 Spanish banks Thursday, including giants Banco Santander and BBVA, the latest sign of distress in Europe.

Greece, currently operating with a caretaker government, could leave the eurozone if anti-austerity parties triumph in elections next month.

A growing number of depositors are withdrawing their money from Greek banks amid worries that their savings could be converted to a devalued currency if Greece drops the euro. The rapid withdrawals are putting further strain on the country's struggling financial sector.

U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday. Investors fled stocks and made a rush toward the safety of U.S. Treasuries, sending the 10-year yield to a record low close.

Bonds: Worries about European sovereign debt continued to weigh on U.S. Treasuries. The yield rose to 1.74% from a record low close of 1.706% late Thursday. The 10-year hit an intraday record low of 1.671% on Sept. 23, 2011.

World markets: European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading, rallying from being down across the board earlier in the day. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.8%, while the DAX in Germany and France's CAC 40 edged down.

But Asian markets ended sharply lower on worries about Europe, a major market for Asian exports. The Shanghai Composite lost 1.4% on the day, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei plunged nearly 3%.

Companies: Shares of Yahoo rose early Friday following a report that the Internet portal may have reached a deal with Alibaba that would put an end to a contentious relationship.

Apparel retailer Foot Locker reported better-than-expected earnings.

Shares of rose sharply after company reported better-than-expected earnings late Thursday.

Shares of Chinese solar energy producers Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar and Suntech Power declined early Friday, a day after the U.S. government announced new tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Shares of U.S. panel makers First Solar and SunPower also fell on Friday.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was lower against the euro and the British pound and higher versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for June delivery edged up 65 cents to $91.91 a barrel.

Gold futures for June delivery rose $18.10 to $1,593 an ounce.

Financial Website Software extends look/feel to mobile devices. - ThomasNet Industrial News Room

- Mobile banking websites help financial institutions increase visibility and relevance in an expanding mobile market -

MONETT, Mo. -- Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ:JKHY) is a leading provider of technology solutions and payment processing services primarily for the financial services industry. Its ProfitStars division announced today the availability of the Mobile Website(TM) platform, which enables financial institutions to complement existing online and mobile banking solutions with websites designed distinctively for the mobile channel.

Mobile Website supports a rapidly expanding banking channel with websites developed specifically for smaller screens and on-the-go functionality while also maintaining the consistent look and ease of navigation that customers demand. It can improve customer service and increase revenue with mobile sites that are compatible with all traditional website designs and Internet banking providers. Each site is fully customizable, can be live in weeks, and is securely hosted by ProfitStars. Financial institutions can make ongoing updates easily using the platform's dynamic Content Management System (CMS).

Approximately 30 million Americans, or one out of every 10, accessed financial information via a mobile device in the fourth quarter of 2010, which represents an increase of more than 50 percent over the same quarter of 2009. As mobile adoption and demand continue to increase exponentially, financial institutions without a mobile presence are limiting their customer reach.

David Foss, president of ProfitStars, said, "Mobile has evolved to be an integral banking channel that more and more consumers expect their financial institutions to provide. Mobile Website is designed to help banks and credit unions of all sizes expand the conveniences of online banking into the mobile market in a way that is affordable and user-friendly. We believe that every financial institution needs a comprehensive mobile strategy to serve existing convenience-driven customers, to attract new ones, and to effectively compete."

ProfitStars has designed and currently manages and hosts more than 1,000 financial institution websites. It also offers optional comprehensive website reviews to help financial institutions prepare for FFIEC examinations. ProfitStars' website design, hosting, and security solutions are also preferred services of The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). Additional information and sample mobile website pages are available at

About ProfitStars

As a diverse, global division of Jack Henry & Associates, ProfitStars combines JHA's solid technology background with the latest breakthroughs in four performance-boosting solution groups - Financial Performance, Imaging and Payments Processing, Information Security and Risk Management, and Retail Delivery. Explore the power of ProfitStars-enhanced performance at

About Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: JKHY) is a leading provider of computer systems and electronic payment solutions primarily for financial services organizations. Its technology solutions serve more than 11,200 customers nationwide, and are marketed and supported through four primary brands. Jack Henry Banking(TM) supports banks ranging from de novo to mid-tier institutions with information processing solutions. Symitar(TM) is the leading provider of information processing solutions for credit unions of all sizes. ProfitStars provides highly specialized products and services that enable financial institutions of every asset size and charter, and diverse corporate entities to mitigate and control risks, optimize revenue and growth opportunities, and contain costs. iPay Technologies(TM) operates as a leading electronic bill pay provider supporting banks and credit unions with turnkey, highly configurable retail and small business electronic payment platforms. Additional information is available at

Financial storm gathers pace - The Independent

European markets suffered further losses after Moody's Investor Service downgraded 16 Spanish lenders, blaming the move on the country's waning ability to shore up its banks.

However, a spokesman for Santander UK reassured customers that it was "completely autonomous" from its parent firm, adding that "money raised in the UK stays in the UK".

As Spain's woes deepened, investors continued to be troubled by political turmoil in Greece, where a caretaker government has stepped in to steer the debt-ridden country into repeat elections next month.

Jordan Lambert, trader at Spreadex, said the "environment is getting increasingly bleak" with Moody's downgrade of the Spanish banks adding to the "sour taste".

The FTSE 100 Index lost nearly 1%, while France's Cac-40 fell 1% and the Dax in Germany lost 0.5%. Spain's Ibex-35, however, rose 0.5%.

While Spain saw its implied borrowing costs pull back slightly, the yield on 10-year bonds still remained above 6%, in a sign that investors lack confidence in the country's finances.

Moody's debt downgrade came after the Spanish government was forced to deny there had been a run on the country's fourth biggest lender, Bankia, amid reports that 1 billion euros (£800 million) had been withdrawn since it was nationalised last week.

Bankia, which was bailed out last week when the government converted loans into a 45% stake, saw shares recover 30% today, following a 30% plunge yesterday.

Greece, which some fear will have to exit the euro if an anti-austerity party is elected in June, was also hit with a downgrade from ratings agency Fitch.

The "heightened risk" that the political and economic crisis could drag the country out of the single currency prompted the move, Fitch said.

In the US, a disappointing manufacturing report sparked fears over the country's economic recovery in overnight trading but all eyes were on Facebook's pending flotation on the New York Stock Exchange.

The social-networking site will offer shares for 38 US dollars (£24) a piece, valuing it more than 100 billion dollars (£66 billion), in a move that some analysts hope might distract from the crisis in Europe.

Chris Weston, institutional trader at IG Markets, said: "Tonight is all about Facebook, and we thoroughly expect a good day's showing on its first day of trade.

"One hopes a positive tape will lift spirits, if for no other reason than to give traders something other than Greece to think about."

The developments came after David Cameron issued a call for action from eurozone states and institutions to support weaker economies such as Greece or see the single European currency break up.

The Prime Minister said he would do "whatever it takes to keep Britain safe from the storm", but made clear that the UK could not be immune from the consequences of a collapse of the euro.


US Stocks Hold Near Flatline Ahead Of Facebook Debut - NASDAQ

--U.S. stocks hug flatline as Facebook optimism offset by Europe worries

--Moody's downgrades Spanish banks, Fitch cuts Greece rating

--Facebook shares expected to debut for trading around 11 a.m. EDT

By Tomi Kilgore


NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- U.S. stocks idled near unchanged levels as optimism ahead of the much-anticipated trading debut of Facebook shares helped distract investors from increasing concerns over contagion risk from Greece.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17 points, or 0.1%, to 12459 in midmorning trade.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained one point, or 0.1%, to 1306. The Nasdaq Composite rose points, or 0.1%, to 2815.

Facebook's initial public offering priced at $38 a share, the high end of its recently increased expected range. That gives the social media company a market value of $104 billion, making it the biggest-ever valuation by an American company at the time of its IPO.

The stock, under the ticker "FB," is expected to start trading around 11 a.m. EDT.

"Facebook is a nice, one-day diversion," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners. He said that once the positive tone from Facebook's debut passes, investor focus will turn back to Europe, and the growing concerns about contagion from Greece.

"It feels as though we're further away from a resolution today than we were two months ago," Nolte said.

European stocks pared earlier losses but remained mostly lower, after Moody's Investors Service downgraded a number of Spanish banks and Fitch Ratings cut Greece's credit rating further into junk status. The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.8%, but had been down as much as 1.4% earlier in the session.

Asian markets closed sharply lower on the back of U.S. losses and the early selloff in Europe. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average slid 3%, and China's Shanghai Composite shed 1.4%.

Crude-oil futures gave up 0.7% to $91.88 a barrel, while gold futures rose 1.2% to $1,593.80 an ounce. The U.S. dollar lost ground against both the euro and the yen.

There are no major economic releases due out on Friday.

In other corporate news, shares of Kraft Foods advanced 0.7% after the blue chip food company said the Internal Revenue Service provided a favorable tax ruling, confirming the tax-free status of its planned North American grocery spinoff.

Autodesk slumped 17% after the design software maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that matched estimates but provided a somewhat downbeat second-quarter outlook.

Foot Locker jumped 10% after the athletic footwear seller reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that were well above expectations, backed by increasing margins and same-stores sales. climbed 9.7% after the business-software maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations, and provided an upbeat outlook for the year.

Marvell Technology added 2.3% after the semiconductor company reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue, initiated a quarterly dividend of six cents a share and increased its share repurchase program by $500 million.

-By Tomi Kilgore, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2470;

    (END) Dow Jones Newswires   05-18-121043ET   Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 

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