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Associated Press

Posted on August 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 6:00 PM

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The least loved day is also the market's worst

NEW YORK (AP) — It's not just in your head. Mondays really are the worst.

Monday is the only day the stock market is more likely to fall than to rise. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down 10 of the past 11 Mondays. And the two worst days in market history are both known as Black Monday.

There's no single reason why Mondays are so blue. Then again, there's no single reason the market rises or falls on any given day, driven as it is by the whims of traders placing millions of individual buy and sell orders.

Some anecdotal evidence comes to mind: Companies are prone to release bad news on Friday nights, when fewer people are paying attention. Monday is the first day investors can react.

And when companies collapse, they often do it late Sunday or early Monday, after spending a last weekend trying to stay afloat. See Wachovia, Bear Stearns and, most famously, Lehman Brothers investment bank, on Sept. 15, 2008.

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Kickstarter projects generate millions of dollars

NEW YORK (AP) — A funny thing happens on Kickstarter, the website where people ask for money to finance their projects. Sometimes, they get more money than they ask for.

Sometimes, they get millions more.

In April, three-person startup Pebble Technology sought to raise $100,000 to make 1,000 wristwatches that can be programmed with different clock faces. Donors on Kickstarter showered them with more than 100 times that amount: $10.3 million. It would have gone higher had Pebble not put a cap on contributions and ended the fundraising early.

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Apple stock hits new high after 4-month dip

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple's stock hit a new high Friday after a four-month swoon, as investors looked ahead to the release of a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad.

Already the world's most valuable company, Apple Inc. saw its stock hit $648.19 just before closing, before retreating to $645.11. That was up $11.77, or 1.9 percent, from Thursday's close.

The previous high for the stock was $644, hit on April 10.

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Facebook falls to half of public offering price

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's stock fell to $19 for the first time on Friday, meaning it has lost half its market value since the company's initial public offering in May.

It hit that milestone on Friday, a day after the expiration of a lock-up period. The lock-up's end has provided some early investors and insiders with an opportunity to sell shares.

Investors have been concerned about Facebook's ability to increase revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience. Many analysts, however, hold positive opinions of the company's long-term prospects.

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Moody's: More Calif. cities at risk of bankruptcy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — One of the nation's top credit rating agencies said Friday it will begin a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in California because of what it sees is a growing threat of increased city bankruptcies and bond defaults.

Moody's Investors Service issued a report saying that the growing fiscal distress in many cities in the nation's most populous state was putting bondholders at risk.

It noted that some municipalities were considering bankruptcy as a new strategy to address budget deficits and avoid obligations to bondholders, an emerging dynamic that could have ripple effects throughout the investment community.

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Treasury changes Fannie and Freddie bailout deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is changing the terms of its bailout agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a way that will shrink the holdings of the two mortgage giants more quickly and will require payment to the government of all quarterly profits the companies earn.

The Treasury Department announced the changes Friday in an effort to deal with concerns that the companies could at some point exhaust the federal support they were guaranteed when they were taken over by the government in September 2008 during the financial crisis.

The two firms would have to turn over all profits they earn every quarter. They would also be required to accelerate the reduction of their mortgage holdings to hit a cap of $250 billion by 2018, four years earlier than planned.

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Measure of US economy rose 0.4 percent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of future U.S. economic activity recovered in July following a sharp drop in June, providing further evidence of an economy that is regaining some momentum.

The Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading economic indicators increased 0.4 percent in July after falling 0.4 percent in June.

The July strength came from an improvement in a number of components with the largest contributions coming from a big jump in applications for housing permits and declines in applications for unemployment benefits.

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Unemployment rates rose in 44 US states in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in only two states and were unchanged in four.

Unemployment rates rose in nine states that are considered battlegrounds in the presidential election. That trend, if it continued, could pose a threat to President Barack Obama's re-election bid in less than three months.

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American seeks again to cancel pilots' contract

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is going back to court to throw out its contract with union pilots after making changes to satisfy the bankruptcy judge.

If it wins in court, American could cut annual spending on pilots by more than $300 million and do more revenue-sharing deals with other airlines.

American parent AMR Corp. filed a motion in U.S. bankruptcy court in New York on Friday, two days after a judge denied American's first attempt to cancel the pilots' contract. The judge rejected the company's demand for unlimited power to furlough pilots and make so-called code-sharing deals.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.09 points to close at13,275.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose almost 2.65 points to close at 1,418.16. The Nasdaq rose 14.20 points to close at 3,076.59.

Benchmark oil rose 41 cents in New York to end at $96.01. Brent fell $1.56 to close at $113.71 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Heating oil fell 3 cents to finish at $3.09 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell 5.6 cents to end at $3.03 per gallon. Natural gas fell less than a penny to finish at $2.72 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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