Wall Street slumps, hit by weak earnings, China – Reuters

(Reuters) – Wall Street opened sharply lower on Friday, with the major indexes falling one percent or more, on investor concerns over a clampdown on margin trading in China and a number of disappointing earnings reports from U.S. corporations.

Shares of Honeywell International (HON.N) shares dropped 2 percent to $101.53 after the manufacturer of aircraft climate control systems blamed a strong dollar for a 5 percent fall in revenue.

American Express (AXP.N), the world’s largest credit card issuer, was down 5 percent to $76.85 after it reported quarterly revenue that fell short of analysts’ estimates, hurt by a stronger dollar and the loss of several co-branded tie-ups.

“Eventually people have to say, ‘Ok, forget about the Fed and central bankers nonsense and focus on the fundamentals,’ because if the large-caps are coming in with lower-than-expected earnings, then you know that other smaller companies will be in trouble,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

U.S. futures had already dropped after Chinese authorities lifted restrictions on short-selling while also warning against excessive borrowing on margin, two developments that could pressure that market.

China H-Share index futures HCEIc1 fell 3.3 percent. Global equities lost ground as the weakness in China carried through to European markets and then into the U.S.

“The restrictions on short selling have been lifted in China and when one market sneezes, the rest of them usually react,” said Saluzzi.

Also a concern for market participants was that Greece could leave the euro zone as it tries to reform its economy and deal with heavy debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 247.97 points, or 1.37 percent, to 17,857.8, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 20.25 points, or 0.96 percent, to 2,084.74 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 60.43 points, or 1.21 percent, to 4,947.36.

The U.S. quarterly earnings season has been mixed so far with companies beating lowered expectations.

Shares of General Electric (GE.N) fell 0.9 percent to $27.55 after the company’s revenue fell, hurt by the strong dollar. Results were also weighed by $16 billion in charges tied to its divestment of GE Capital assets.

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.O) were down 12.5 percent at $2.51 after the chipmaker posted a bigger loss and said it expected weak demand for personal computers to continue for some time.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,304 to 448, for a 5.14-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,995 issues fell and 389 advanced for a 5.13-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 1 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 18 new highs and 16 new lows.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Fed watching recent weakness; rates hike timing unclear -Dudley – Reuters

NEWARK, N.J., April 6 (Reuters) – The timing of interest
rate hikes are uncertain and the U.S. Federal Reserve must watch
that the surprising recent weakness in the U.S. economy does not
foreshadow a more substantial slowdown, an influential Fed
official said on Monday.

“The timing of normalization will be data dependent and
remains uncertain because the future evolution of the economy
cannot be fully anticipated,” New York Fed President William
Dudley said in prepared remarks, adding he expects the path of
rate hikes to be “relatively shallow.”

He said the weak March jobs report, as well as softer than
expected manufacturing and retail sales data in recent months
was a surprise. But this likely reflected “temporary factors to
a significant degree,” including the harsh winter in much of the
United States.

“It will be important to monitor developments to determine
whether the softness in the March labor market report evident on
Friday foreshadows a more substantial slowing in the labor
market than I currently anticipate,” said Dudley, a permanent
voter on Fed policy and a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Fed’s Beige Book: Hiring Picks Up Broadly, but Wage Growth Is Muted – Wall Street Journal

U.S. businesses added jobs across the country and sectors in October and November, though wage gains were muted outside a handful of fields facing a shortage of skilled workers, according to a Federal Reserve survey of regional economic conditions.

The Fed’s latest “beige book” for the period through Nov. 24 was broadly upbeat, marked by expanding economic activity across most of the country and optimism about growth prospects. The collection of anecdotal reports from the 12 Fed districts on hiring, spending and other…

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Oil prices jump on Iraq anxiety, stocks fall – Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crude oil prices spiked on Thursday on supply concerns and equities sold off as violence threatened stability in Iraq.

Crude jumped after Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, in the face of a triumphant Sunni Islamist rebel march towards Baghdad that threatens Iraq’s future as a unified state. President Barack Obama did not rule out U.S. action against the militants.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 2.7 percent, the most in ten months, to $113.04 a barrel while U.S. crude CLc1 added 2.1 percent to $106.56, the highest reading for both since September. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB index .TRJCRB rose 1.1 percent, the most in two months.

“If this conflict knocked out Iraq as an exporter, that would have significant impact on prices,” said Christopher Bellew, a trader at Jefferies Bache. Iraq is the second-largest OPEC producer.

On Wall Street, stocks fell on caution over Iraq after drifting lower on weaker-than-forecast retail sales and an increase in first-time applications for unemployment benefits.

Energy shares, however, were higher on the heels of the jump in oil prices.

“It’s a bit of a crisis mode here,” said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management LLC in New York. “Geopolitical concerns have definitely taken over. It’s a very fluid situation and things are happening very fast, it seems.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 109.67 points or 0.65 percent, to 16,734.21, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 13.76 points or 0.71 percent, to 1,930.13 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 36.11 points or 0.83 percent, to 4,295.82.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares closed flat, just off the 6-1/2 year high of 1,398.65 hit earlier this week. MSCI’s global stocks gauge .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.3 percent.

The New Zealand dollar jumped the most in four months to hit its highest since mid-May after the central bank raised interest rates and kept a hawkish bias. The kiwi surged 1.5 percent to $0.8681.

The soft U.S. data, alongside growing geopolitical risk, dampened speculation of a more hawkish stance from the Federal Reserve, scheduled to meet next week. Fed Chair Janet Yellen was expected to be pressured on the timeline for rate hikes in a press conference on Wednesday.

The euro is, however, set to post its fifth week of losses versus the dollar in the last six.

The shared currency was recently up 0.3 percent at $1.3567. It earlier hit a low of $1.3510, near the low of $1.3503 hit last Thursday after the European Central Bank cut rates.

In fixed income, the violence in Iraq drove investors into U.S. Treasuries that had inched up in price after the soft data.

U.S. 10-year notes were up 15/32 in price to yield 2.5879 percent, from 2.641 percent late on Wednesday. The 30-year bond rose 1-2/32 to yield 3.41 percent.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Angela Moon, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Lorenzo Ligato; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)

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Apple unveils iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite – CNNMoney

wwdc ios8
Apple rolled out iOS 8, OS X Yosemite and other new features at its developers conference.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday to announce the latest features for iPhones, iPads and Macs.

You can follow our live blog of the event here.

Apple (AAPL) unveiled iOS 8, an update to the operating system that powers iPhones and iPads.

One of the biggest additions to iOS 8 is a new HealthKit application. The app will monitor users’ heart rates, sleep, activity and breathing among other health-related information.

But other changes are far more subtle than in years past. After last year’s complete makeover, iOS 8 includes oft-requested fixes, such as interactive notifications, suggested words when typing and quicker access to contacts.

With interactive notifications, iOS 8 will allow users to respond to texts or like something on Facebook (FB) directly from the notification — even on the lock screen. A double tap on the home button reveals several frequent contacts, allowing you to call, message or email those people with two quick taps. And a new predictive text feature allows you to type, and iOS 8 will suggest the next word based on your typing history.

The new iOS 8 also will include improved group messaging. Users can send audio and video messages and leave a group text with a new do not disturb feature. There also is a self-destruct feature similar to social media startup Snapchat.

Apple is also expected to unveil an improved Maps app with transit directions, simplified notifications and a separate iTunes Radio app.

Yosemite is the new OS X

Apple also unveiled the new operating system for the Mac, dubbed Mac OS X Yosemite. It got a big design update, making the interface for Macs look much more iPhone- and iPad-like.

Mac OS X Yosemite features a revamped “spotlight” search feature that searches across the Mac and Microsoft Bing (not Google (GOOGL), interestingly). The new iCloud Drive feature syncs all Mac folders across every Mac, iPhone or Windows PC that a user owns. That feature is like cloud storage service Dropbox.

And a new “handoff” feature allows Mac users to place and receive calls and texts via their Mac, even to non-iPhone users.

Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi showed off the feature by calling Dr. Dre — one of Apple’s newest employees after the company purchased Beats Electronics for $3 billion last week.

The new Mac OS has a Windows-like translucent look as well as a “dark mode.” Speaking of Windows, Cook noted that 51% of Mac users are already using the latest version of Mac OS X, called Mavericks — a free update for Mac OS X customers. Just 14% of Microsoft (MSFT) Windows customers are on Windows 8, though users of previous Windows iterations have to pay to upgrade to the latest version.

Related: What we wish Apple would unveil at WWDC

Other expected announcements include a new platform that would enable people to control all the items in their homes with the iPad or iPhone.

Apple could also release new iMacs and update the MacBook Air, which does not yet support Apple’s ultra-sharp Retina Display. Apple is not expected to unveil its newest iPhone, however. That is more likely to take place in August.

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